Dear friends in Santa Fe, Santa Barbara, and oceans beyond,
Like many of you, we celebrate this holiday without family members’ ringing voices and inimitable smiles. It was lonely but still okay. Here are our musings after a turbulent year that challenged almost everyone's assumptions about daily life:
This is the first year in 51 years together that we haven’t traveled somewhere new in the world, leaving a vacuum filled with long walks and swimming, movies, books, and other small pleasures that have become an oasis of comfort. Some grateful highlights that have preserved sanity:
Favorite streaming drama: The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Favorite documentary: The Octopus Teacher
Favorite nature book: Trees of the World (Tomas Micek)
Favorite food: Anything cooked on a Kamado Joe grill
Favorite non-profits: Food Depot & Foodbank, Dollars4Schools, Fair Fight, and all environmental and wildlife non-profits.
Favorite fantasy: When Covid finally subsides, there is less reliance on virtual reality, and we reclaim some humanistic values from previous decades.
Favorite political wish: The end of polarization and, finally, a coordinated global effort to clean up the environment.
Favorite digression: ping pong.
Favorite novelty: feeding feral cats, possums, skunks and raccoons that live in our nearby ravine.
Favorite lesson from the pandemic: No one is more important than anyone else.
Most of all, 2020 has allowed us time to reflect on memories of you, and to recognize how important each of you are in our lives. This year has been hard for so many in the world—especially those without financial savings or resources. And, like many of you, we reflect on losing some of our close friends. As long as memory survives, good friendships never die.
Tidings of Gratitude and Hope
Pat and Michael
Michael's thoughts on writing, politics and everything in between.
Michael R. French graduated from Stanford University where he was an English major, focusing on creative writing, and studied under Wallace Stegner. He received a Master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur, and starting a family.