Today I got a Christmas card from Ed Lyness. He is an 80 something year old man who was married to my dad's cousin until her death. They were the best of friends. They really did have a marriage to admire and one that withstood the test of time. I'm not sure what our consanguinity is but I am really honored to count him among my friends. He lives a great life in Philadelphia. This past year he started off meeting a bunch of church friends in Florida for a 20th annual reunion. These are all folks who "snowbird" it to Florida during the winter months. Then in April he went on a mission trip to Haiti. His church paid for a new school and his job was install the main electrical service to the school and prepare a solar power system to light it. This permitted them to disconnect from the unreliable and expensive Haiti Power Grid.
When he got back he had a rotator cuff surgery and then in May he went on a annual canoe trip down the Susquehanna River. He does electrical maintenance and construction at his church. He attends the symphony, band concerts, stage plays and ballgames. He plays street hockey with his 7 year old grandson and performs horn and piano duets with his son Eric (he plays piano). He has three grandchildren and states they make his heart glad.
His own children are pretty impressive as well. One is a country attorney in a small Iowa town. They speak on the phone every night while she walks her dog. His son Eric works for NASA developing software for control and data handling for an unmanned probe in 2011. Katy is a freelance photo enhancer in NYC and takes jazz piano lessons and for fun a soil chemistry class at the NY Botanical gardens. She is also an amazing artist. The baby of the family (Bob) lives in Washington DC and travels the world. This last year he has been to Hawaii 3 times, Japan, England, France and NYC 17 times. His passion is a Japanese dance form called "Butoh" and he goes to workshops all over the world. Ed says Bob doesn't tell him much about his job and until otherwise notified he is convinced he is a spy - but we are to keep that under our hats.
He is really an extraordinary man who has raised his children well and still lives an amazing and fulfilling life. I find him very inspirational. I was exhausted just reading his letter.