Welcome to the Brave New World of 2008

by Michael D. SellersI hope all of you had wonderful holidays and had an opportunity to rest, be with family, and recharge your energy. That’s certainly what I was able to do. For the first time in 7 years those of us in the West Coast wing of our family (me, Rena, daughter Michelle, and son Patrick) were able to go back to Florida and spend the entire Christmas-New Year period with our East Coast wing — (mom, sister, daughter Kaitlyn, plus a wild and fun bunch of cousins, aunts, uncles, and childhood friends). We splurged (if loading up the one open credit card can be called splurging) and rented a beautiful condo on the most beautiful beach in the world (Destin, on Florida’s “emerald coast”) and were able to combine the warmth of family with the extraordinary natural beauty of the Gulf right outside our window. For starters I want to show you a picture of the view from the window:BeachNow for me … having a balcony overlooking that, where I could get up in the morning and sit, read, watch the pelicans and gulls and dolphins …. this is as close to heaven as there is for me. I grew up on those beaches down in Destin, and my spirit is really lifted by the beauty and abundance on full display there — and the memories it evokes from a childhood of fishing and snorkling and just hanging out on sand as white as sugar and water that is clear and every shade from the lightest gimlet green to deep, heart-touching blue as it gets deeper. It gave me what I was seeking on one level — a chance to read, think, contemplate, and I was able to do that every day from six AM when I’d get up, to about lunchtime when the rest of the crowd would be fully up and moving.After that — it was another joy – the joy of being around family members, renewing ties that had suffered from some years of not seeing each other, and feeling the sweetness of reconnecting at a point in life where we’re all starting to look like our parents and not like the youngsters we still think ourself to be.On the second night we were there we had all the “youngsters” over for a night of guitar playing (we’re all musicians almost without exception)…and we had to laugh because “youngster” meant we had to exclude all the family members who are over 60. Anyone under that mark was welcome to come. (We also excluded the senior set because there was another party on the 26th for everyone and we didn’t want to steal from that….and because the youngsters play music for the oldsters at that second party so we needed what amounted to some rehearsal time…) Here’s are a couple of pics from that evening.Img_0085Going clockwise, that’s son Patrick (you can just see his arm playing guitar and one of his dreads), nephew Toren (you can just see his arms playing xylophone), niece Tessa on guitar, cousin Curt on the mandolin (dad of Toren and Tessa), yours truly on the guitar, and daughter Kaitlyn — then in the background L-R daughter Michelle, Curt’s wife Jinn, and my ex-wife Lucy (mom of Patrick and Kaitlyn)….What a night…

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