Wednesday, December 24, 2008

“Time” For Holidays ’08

My most evocative card of December came from Little Big Town, who even as their Nashville label suspended operations found time and a sense of humor to visually evoke the attitude we all have about financial projections for 2009 (or are they practicing for their annual visits to the dentist?).

What if the talking heads are correct and banks aren’t lending any of that $350 billion in bailout money because they feel like our world economy is now worth less than we all thought it was?

Last August I did a bit of punditry myself when I was interviewed by R&R Publisher Erica Farber: “The American people have not figured out yet that it’s highly likely our standard of living is never going to be as good as it has been in the past. These are very challenging times.”

With the luxury of hindsight, I wish I could say that I really did see precisely what was coming and moved my 401k to all cash right then, but I had no idea how bad it was going to get and how quickly. So, I take solace instead in the fact the American people appear to have chosen very well in November, cause for hope. Who knows if Barack and his team will be able to fix what ails us, but at least he is inspiring to someone with my perspective as his team navigates the many crises we face right now.

In any case, it seems like an excellent moment to invest as much as possible in the cherished things which hold their value, time .. with friends, loved ones and family.

And, so, here is my usual letter (written on my new MacBookPro, purchased thanks an an employee discount courtesy of our family Apple Genius John DiPanfilo in Atlanta). Four decades ago when I was 25, I would have tossed a letter like this in the trash without reading, but now I feel compelled to put one together so I keep getting the newsy ones in return from so many others which connect these annual dots in our busy lives.

As usual, I have some ’08 travel photos to share. Two friends and I drove all over Central and Eastern Europe, from (pictured) the Bierwagons of Cologne to Poland, Romania, even to the historic bridge in Mostar.

It was a transformative 26 days, highlighted by a final two weeks in Croatia, Slovenia, Bavaria, and Amsterdam just weeks after being surprised and honored to be inducted into the Country Radio Hall Of Fame with three generations of my immediate family on hand in Nashville for it, Keir Kornbau, her mom Judy and our Aunt Betty Hanzlick. In May, almost our entire family met in Grand Rapids for a lovely country club wedding of Ryan and Emily. It was the second year for a family reunion of sorts and even more relatives made the trip this year. Then, my sister Judy and I visited Denver in August and were guests in the homes of Keir, Ryan and Emily. At Thanksgiving, we had a houseful here as Adam, Amy, Kevin and Brennan from Pasco spent the week in our woods.

Now, it looks to be a snowy Christmas on Bainbridge Island. The residents and worker bees at 7699 are all hoping you had a good year too. No matter what 2009 holds, I sincerely wish for you and yours lots of ‘time’ .. to invest in the truly enduring and valuable.

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