CHRISTMAS LETTER - 2006
Greetings from The Farm
As I sit down to compose this holiday greeting, it’s almost 60 degrees outside, the sun is shining, and the crocuses are deciding whether or not it’s time to bloom. Although it feels more like spring vacation than winter break, those of us in the Mid-Ohio Valley know that tomorrow could bring ice and snow, so for now, we’re soaking in the warmth!
2006 has been a good year for The Wilders. Samuel, 21, has just finished the first semester of his junior year at Appalachian State University in Boone and is glad to be home and free of paper deadlines and exams. He is now an officially declared journalism major with a minor in philosophy and religion. Those of you who recall the chubby little guy who used to run around the farm in his Batman cape wouldn’t recognize him now. He’s tall, slender, and in very good shape thanks to the hours he spends on his mountain bike and weightlifting. He spent this past summer as an intern at the Thistle Mountain Winery in Ashe County, NC, and has become quite the expert on wines. I look for him to be a contributing writer to Food & Wine or some similar magazine as he travels the world on his bike, sampling gourmet fare and fine wines along the way.
Eliza, now 15, made the high school band color guard as one of three freshmen, so we spent a good part of the summer and fall involved in band events. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday this year, she promptly replied, “A really nice, tall, ‘hot’ boyfriend.” So, when she came home from school on her birthday, she announced her wish had come true! How’s that for conjuring up some good stuff! So far, her GPA hasn’t suffered from the hours she spends on the phone with Matt and other friends and/or in front of the mirror doing her hair, and I am very proud of the young woman I see transforming before me. As for college interests, as a 9th grader, Eliza has her eyes set on Brown University with the hopes of becoming a psychiatrist. We’ll see how that takes shape over the next three years.
Bobbi (my foster daughter from years ago) and Isabella, 6, have visited the farm twice this year. They still live in Philadelphia where Bobbi has a yoga/pilates studio / massage therapy business. As the photos show, Isabella reflects her mother’s beauty as well as her energy and love of life. One of my favorite images of Isabella’s last visit is of her asleep with the dogs on the floor underneath the dining room table. She was oblivious to the fact that the dogs smelled like cow pasture and mud; she was just into pretending to be one of the Corgis!
I began my 30th (!) year of teaching this fall. I’m still at the local community college, and I teach two classes as an adjunct at Marietta College. My work with the Evergreen Arts & Humanities Series at WSCC keeps me busier than I’d like to be at times, but I get to meet some amazingly creative and fun people in the process. I also am still very active on behalf of Cuban political prisoners. I do a lot of translation work through the Coalition of Cuban-American Women. In October, I had the opportunity to speak at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States in Washington, DC. My topic dealt with human rights abuses of Cuban children; hopefully, my research will become a part of the OAS’s annual report on the overall state of human rights abuses in Cuba. I still dream of owning a small place in Cuba some day where all of you can visit me in the snowy winter months, but that won’t be a reality until there is a change in leadership on the island and things stabilize as a result. It could take a while!
Holding down the farm keeps me really busy! I’m praying that the warm weather continues because I have this sense that the barn might not withstand another windy winter. Keep your fingers crossed please! :0) My garden and flowers flourished during the summer, and I can hardly wait to get my hands back into the Earth in a few more months.
Here at our home, we’re grateful for our many, many blessings…good health, the love of good friends and family, our critters (two Corgis, five cats, and a fish) and the beauty of the natural world that surrounds us. Our prayer for the coming year is that as individuals, as a nation, as a planet, may we all come into a greater understanding of peace and compassion.
We send our holiday love and hope that this finds everyone well and happy. Please plan a visit to see us this coming year!
Wishing joy and peace to all!
Tanya, Samuel, & Eliza & Bobbi and Isabella