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Brazilian Dialogue

Al's 2002 State of the Union and Christmas letter.

Dear Friends,
It's been a strange year and I don't mean just the weather, (which has always been very strange!)

Already in January I got cellulitis in my left leg and foot. Almost like flesh-eating disease. I feared for a little bit that I might lose them. And then in the Spring it went to my heart began to fibrillate, atria fibrillation. The medicos said this particular kind could lead to a stroke, so beware! From 3 medications I went to 7.

Through all this time I was flogging the book I had just translated, Joining the Street People. With minimal success! Very minimal. Somewhere along my 79 years I ought to have studied marketing, or even learned a bit of happenstance now and then.

But as a song from childhood says, "There's a silver lining through the dark clouds shining" and 2002's negative features had positive ones, too.

When I came home from my January bout in the hospital, I found my house spic (and also span!). Ruth Berscheid and sister-in-law Julie had done it! A great Pick-me upper.

Esther moved to Saskatoon in May and she loves her place, the myriad activities available, the company. In Lake Lenore she felt "cabin'd cribbed, confin'd". That's from Hamlet, in case you were wondering, (Oops, maybe Macbeth). The summer concerts in Marysburg were artistically very successful giving one the hope that they soon will not need to be subsidized (As Greg Schulte and I have been doing.)

The rains finally came in July and my flower garden quickly turned into an acre of great beauty. Pansies, dwarf asters, poppies, larkspur, petunias, marigolds, decorative sunflowers and portulaca (Grandma Schulte's "Mossroschen" her favorites) grew in profusion. Strangers stopped their cars to gaze, to feast on this beauty.

On August 22, I invited pupils from my first school, Carmel, to come for a meal and an afternoon of stories. Why? Because on August 27 it was 60 years I had begun teaching there. Gabrielle Roy's book named the children of her first class, "Children of My Heart", and that's how I've always felt about Carmel.

In Ma