Tag Archives: Christmas Cheer

Who Turned Out the Lights?

Who Turned Out the Lights? from Jim (jaytay)

Who Turned Out the Lights? from Jim (jaytay)

My father could not abide waste. To encourage my sisters and me to consume each and every crumb on our plates, he not only told us about “all the poor starving children”; he went much further, instituting the Clean Plate Club. Each time we finished a meal, we received a badge of honor–that is, a medal that he made by wrapping the cap of the milk bottle with tin foil. Sadly, the scales testified to the success of my father’s endeavor.

My father’s campaign to induce us to turn out the lights had far less impact, however. Exasperated by our failure to respond to his admonitions, he resorted to bribery. Leave it to a banker!

My father as a young man.

My father as a young man.

Leave it to a banker. He offered us a deal.

Here was the deal: If my two sisters and I would only turn out the lights, he would give us the difference between what the electricity bill was, and what it would have been had we simply clicked the switch. A no-brainer to be sure. My father’s efforts, however, were to no avail. Speaking for myself, it wasn’t a disregard for financial rewards, nor for that matter laziness, that fueled my resistance. No, at an age when one’s imagination runs wild, I found it reassuring to be ensconced in light.

Today, I feel the same way. Wherever I look, there are dark clouds overhead–the depressed economy, the BP oil spill, the war on terror, the rise of the Tea Party and the mid-term elections, and, oh yes, the slaughter of the bears in my beloved New Jersey. It’s time to turn on the lights!

Washington Revels (revelsdc.org)

Washington Revels (revelsdc.org)

However, having absorbed my father’s penchant for efficiency, and my husband’s concerns about the environment, I certainly don’t advocate wasting electricity. No, my recommendation is far brighter: a performance of the Washington Revels. A yearly event in Washington, the Washington Revels have used song and dance to reenact, according to one traditional narrative or another, how mankind has, over generations, endured the Winter’s darkness by celebrating one another in a spirit of good cheer and benevolence, as they await the return of the light.

So too, in our own lives today. Accompanied by a glass of good cheer, my husband Brock and I, rejoice in in the song Drive the Cold Winter Away. Verse seven is most enlightening, as well as one of my favorites. We’d be happy to have you join in.

This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
And neighbours together do meet
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love to greet;
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot,
All sorrows aside they lay;
The old and the youth doth carol this song
To drive the cold winter away.

Holiday Greetings!

Written (late) December 2008, by Brock Evans

Dear Family and Friends,

Yep. “Things are a little late this year,” as the song goes. But for good reasons we think. For example, we just returned yesterday from what Brock calls “a Norman Rockwell kind of Christmas”, meaning that so much reminded us of the popular Saturday Evening Post covers, from those more innocent times when we were children in this season. All of it–the lights, the presents under the tree, the warmth and the music everywhere, occurring amidst the happy (and noisy) chaos of delighted scampering grandchildren. ‘These are the kinds of time we dream about’, says Brock. …and how blessed we feel for being actually able to experience them all over again. Now.

Better late than never. . . another unanticipated benefit is that we got to read your own beautiful and interesting cards and newsletter first–another real treat. We now feel so reconnected Thank you. So much fun, in fact, that we may just be ‘late’ again next year!

So back to the rest of this (mostly) happy and eventful year; what’s been going on in the Evans/Garcia household? Basically a bit of this and other bits of that. . ..yet all together, it has seemed to us, woven into one pleasant, challenging, and adventurous tapestry. Some important markers and milestones, and some sadness too.

At Georgetown University, Linda continues on as Director of, and teacher in, the ever more successful (and popular with students) Masters Program: Communication, Culture and Technology. Indeed its great success (plus what Brock calls her ‘spreading renown from pervious writings”) has attracted international recognition. eg. Linda’s appointment to the Technology Assessment Board of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, and an invited lecture at the Central European University (Budapest) on “The Future of the University.”

But best of all for Linda has been her blog. Begun in July, in response to a challenge from Brock, it quickly became what Brock describes as a ‘brilliant and articulate set of essays which tie together ‘unrelated’ things from ‘real life’ (Such as desert canyons, frogs, Thanksgiving, etc.) into the network theories she teaches daily.

Of course Brockie, ever the ‘modest’ one, invites you to read the blog entry featuring him (Living with a Legend), which is about a wonderful Leadership Award he just received.

Brock has not been idle through all this activity, even as he (His words) ‘basks in the reflected glow of Linda’s accomplishments” (to see what the really means, see below, under ‘travels”) Still President of the Endangered Species Coalition, still speaking and lecturing about conservation, the Endangered Species Act, and–most importantly for him–still always reminding the new ones coming on (in such places as Ohio, Boston, and California) that “no matter what the odds, you can do it.”

While delighted about the results of the election (“it seems that once again we have our country back,” we say to each other and friends), Brock, ever the wary political animal, warns that some of the new faces may likely not be much friendlier to environmental values than those just replaced. So this is not a time to relax, or to cease striving; not if we want to pass on a sustainable and beautiful earth into the future, he says.

While most of the travels were business related, one turned out to be among the most memorable ever. That one was a visit to the University of Wyoming for a day-long series of lectures in October, time to coincide with the anticipated birth of new grandson, Kaydon–to son Noah, and Sarah, who live in Fort Collins, just an hour away.

The lectures and visit to the splendid facilities at the University of Wyoming (many of Brock’s papers are deposited there at its renowned American Heritage Center) were thus a high point of the whole year and not only because of the lively sparkling interchanges with students and faculty. But also because of that anticipated ‘afterwards,’ namely, Brock’s first meeting with our third grandchild who Brock termed after a few days of holding and admiring, as “a very very hungry and fast-growing delightful little gnome, who could just about fit into the cup of one hand while I fed him.” Not any more! In his latest pictures, the tyke almost completely fills out a Washington Redskins T-shirt, his first gift from his grandfather.

Family: After a spell of experiencing the downside of this ‘new economy’ son Joshua now is a full tim IT engineer with a firm in Northern VA, while Stephanie continues her job as artist-in-chief for celebrity magician Chris Angel. Stepfather Wayne sadly passed away last January, and now Brock’s 95-year old Mom, Adele, lives with sister Lynne and Mark at their home on Long Island. Part of our “Normal Rockwell Christmas” included a warm and cosy visit there, and, again, more spirited conversations. “We only hope, if and when we reach 95, that we can be as much fun to talk with as Mom is,” we say to each other after each such visit. That other ‘grandchild’ part of our Christmas was spent with Steve, a successful management consultant, and Supermom Haley. . .and with the delightful causes of that happy chaos, 8 year old Ben, and 5-year old Sophie.

TravelThe picture this year is from a beautiful trip to the canyons of Southern Utah in July. The smiles on our faces are because of the happy news just received at Brock’s visit to the Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he was pronounced to be ” still in complete remission” from the bone marrow cancer that struck at him six year ago. And, a spectacular 8-day adventure in Vienna, Prague (met by a friend from Slovakia) and Budapest. The reason was Linda’s invites, referenced above. But Brock said: “I’m not gonna miss this one. . .” so while Linda lectured and did Board things, Brock wandered happily through the old cobbled streets, cathedrals, and ancient monuments of places long dreamed of, plus savoring delightful restaurants when Linda was one.

Another eventful and happy year. Thank you for being such good friends and for letting us share our activities with you. Love, Brock and Linda