Monday, 26 Dec 1983

Dear Mom & Dad,

I am having to work at the hospital today, but will try to write. It has been very busy so far in the emergency room, plus I have a patient upstairs that is about to have a baby. This is officially a holiday. The people who worked yesterday don't get credit for working a holiday. I think that is stupid. I don't mind at all, though, since I am getting credit for working a holiday, when really I was off on the holiday as far as I am concerned. The problem is that I am covering the ER while everyone else is off and coming to the ER.

Well, I just delivered the baby. I will never get this finished at this rate.

I didn't write last week because I was very busy. I was up late (midnight or later) every night last week putting toys together or studying for my sermon. We went to a neighbor's for supper one night. We went caroling one night. Friday night was the church's Xmas party.

It's hard to preach & teach Sunday school the same day, not to mention studying for both. I guess my sermon went ok. It lasted about 30 minutes, which is longer than most sermons here. Jeannie said it was too much like a lecture. I'm getting better, though. At least I wasn't nervous this time.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a long nap.

Last night we watched "Camelot." The tape is very good. I hope you are aware that it is a used tape. A new one would have cost you between $90 and $100. We don't mind that it is used as long as you got it at a good price. Thank you for sending it. I know you went to a lot of trouble to find it. It is nice to own my favorite movie. (I had only seen it 2 1/2 times before.) Jeannie likes it, too. We have seen the HBO stage production of it several times, but the movie is a whole lot better.

Angelique - 24 Dec 1983 Steven - 24 Dec 1983

As you know, we opened presents Saturday morning. The kids were so excited and had so much fun. Except for not being in Arkansas, it was the best Christmas we ever had. The kids made it fun for us. Steven really got into opening presents. He kept looking for more. The kids will be thrilled when I come home with more when the grandparents' packages get here.

Angelique - 24 Dec 1983 Steven - 24 Dec 1983

Steven - 24 Dec 1983 The toys that I put together were a big pedal car for Steven and a kitchen set for Angelique - 24 Dec 1983 Angelique. The set has a refrigerator, a stove, and a sink. We also got them a little canvas play house. All these things were left downstairs and the kids didn't see them until all the other presents were opened. They were really excited to see them.

As soon as Angelique got up this morning, she and Steven went downstairs to play. They probably stayed there most of the morning.

I took lots of pictures, including some with all four of us in the picture. The kids were real good for that and seemed fascinated that the camera took a picture without anyone holding it. We will send you copies.

our family - 24 Dec 1983

Jeannie cooked a turkey in the microwave for lunch.

Jeannie's parents called while we were eating supper. It sounded like half the family wasn't going to get there because of the snow and ice. So they may have missed more than just us.

About 9:30 the phone rang that night. We couldn't imagine who it could be. We were surprised that it was Dan, Alisa, & Richie calling from Searcy.

So Christmas Eve was really Christmas at our house & it was a very nice one.

Friday, Jeannie went shopping with Faye and Sheila from church. The kids stayed at Faye's house because John was off that day. She ran into the back end of somebody's car with her front right fender. The road was slick (wet), and with 3 girls in the car, they probably were talking too much. Jeannie says the car in front of her stopped in the middle of the road (between 2 lanes on a 4-laner). That didn't surprise me over here. It is only a little dent. They spent 25 minutes trying to communicate with the Italian. To listen to each of them tell the story is quite amusing.

I couldn't believe, that out of 3 girls, none of them knew what to do after a wreck. They kept trying to get this guy to call the police. In Italy, the police do not check on accidents unless there is an injury. All you have to do is write down the other guy's name and license number. They got his name, but those silly girls forgot to get his license number. I can't figure out what they did for 25 minutes. Jeannie also completely forgot she had an Italian dictionary in her purse until they left.

Anyway, the dent won't be fixed because it's not that bad. Maybe, Jeannie will drive more carefully now.

It seems I am going backward in time writing this letter.

Last Saturday I took Angelique to town with me and told her to think of something to buy her mother. She finally (30 minutes later) decided she wanted to get her a vase. We went shopping for vases and found one that Angelique liked that I was sure Jeannie would like. It is a Greek vase, a reproduction of one from about 500 B.C. We bought some pretty stationary that would serve as a present from Steven to Jeannie. While we were looking, Angelique found a pretty wood carving that I liked, too. It cost almost $100, so I bought it for Jeannie and said it was from all of us.

The woodcarving is by ANRI. They come from northern Italy. They cost a little more than twice as much in the States. The chess set that Ora Bee brought me back from Europe (that you paid for) is an ANRI. I'm not sure if the chess set is hand carved. The piece we gave Jeannie was hand carved. It is about the size of your fist and is a boy playing a piano.

Jeannie also got a blue jogging suit, a pair of crystal candlestick holders, some 18K gold earrings, a cassette tape of John Denver, a framed piano key with a painting of the Bay of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius on it, a small Capodimonte ceramic flower arrangement, and a white vase with blue trim (that I got before taking Angelique shopping).

I got a tie, a Christian Dior bath robe, an electric circular saw, a screwdriver, a shirt, and a musical globe.

You read Angelique her bedtime story last night while she was lying in bed. She really liked that. We could have used that tape 1 weeks ago when we were both sick with the flu.

On Thursday night 1 weeks ago, Jeannie & I both were so sick that we could just barely fix the kids any supper. Actually, we just put some cheese & crackers on the table & told Angelique to help herself & help Steven. Angelique got herself ready for bed, brushed her teeth, & read Steven a bedtime story. That was one night that we were pleased that she was cooperative. I had vomiting & Jeannie had diarrhea. We went to bed as soon as the kids did. We felt better the next day and I went to work.

I don't know how Governor Bill Clinton thinks you can have education without discipline.

I'll bet you are glad Christmas is over for the shirt shop.

You need to wear support hose at work. Also, you should have a thick carpet under your feet at the cash register.

Grandma's music box came from Sorrento which is where our table came from. I am not sure if the music box came from the same factory because we didn't go to Sorrento to get it, but bought it at AFSOUTH.

Tell me more about Debbie (Thomas) Thompson. Is this her first child?

I wonder why the Jr. High Band wasn't in the Harrison Xmas parade.

I am still having a good time working at Pinetamare. It seems that every day is getting busier. As soon as I have 250 families, I will get another doctor out there. I have 210 so far. It won't be long. Maybe then I won't be so busy. Last Monday I saw 35 patients. It is worth it to be so much closer to home.

No, we do not have to buy our phones over here (yet). Now that you have to in the U.S., Europe will probably decide it is a good idea. We have only one phone. We tell the babysitter not to answer the phone if it rings. That way, if someone calls from the States, they will call back later without having to pay to have the babysitter say that.

On Halloween, Angelique & Steven dressed up like clowns, with their faces painted. Before supper, we drove to several friends' houses & they went trick or treating. Steven wanted to open everything as he got it rather than go somewhere else. Then we came back home.

We had several trick or treaters. Most were Italian. Most of the Italians wore no type of costume. The Italian kids were real pushy and demanding. They had learned that Halloween was a neat time to go around to the Americans and get free candy. Candy is expensive in Italy as compared with the States. Even though most of the Italian kids were unpleasant, it was fun & interesting to watch them. They wanted more than they were given & said so. Often a kid at the head of the line would try to go through the line again as if Jeannie were blind & stupid. One kid was unhappy, & said so, that we didn't have gum. It was an experience we will never forget. I am sure I told Becky about it while it was fresh on my mind.

We did finally get our oven fixed. I don't remember if I told you.

I think the last Disney book the kids got was #6. We haven't gotten any 4th class mail in quite awhile.

We now have two dehumidifiers, one upstairs & one down. I think we won't have to worry too much about mildew now.

It has been so warm here that we used the kerosene heaters last night for the first time in a week. It was a pretty day today, probably up to about 60. I keep thinking about the weather in Arkansas. It is easy to remember what it's like. I still vividly remember getting stuck on the hill at Bee Branch at Xmas in 1975. I'm glad the weather was bad this Xmas there and we didn't have to travel in it.

If you find the videotape on "Foxfire Light," get us a copy of it. It will probably be on tape in about one year and I wouldn't expect it to be very expensive.

I know you must be disappointed that the package you sent isn't here yet. Don't worry about it. We have learned to be very patient about such things over here.

Jeannie didn't believe the story about doing surgery on Grandma on the kitchen table. She said, "Wouldn't that have killed her?" I just laughed.

We are glad you called. Sorry the kids didn't talk more.

We look forward to your coming.

Love,

Michael, Jeannie, Angelique, & Steven



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