Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

Another good day

Posted by joeabbott on December 18, 2013

imageI’d hoped to be more productive yesterday but I have to admit it was a pretty well-rounded day. I ran some errands picking up some needed household items, mailing a few more cards, and getting more lumber for my project, I worked out more details for the project, I got in an evening spinning workout, and did some gaming. Toss in a nap and a bit of time with cats and chickens … well, who wouldn’t be happy with a day like that!

Today I’ll start another post that chronicles the “project” but here I thought I’d touch on a couple items that I failed to give proper credit to: some of my favorite birthday gifts. About a month ago I celebrated #50 and my wife coordinated a race day for my family back in MN on a go-kart track. It was an unmitigated blast and while I earlier said everyone had a good time, I don’t think I surveyed all participants … just took a count of beaming faces and gushing remarks. That was quite a gift. But I received a couple others that I very much enjoyed.

My family gave me a number of books, and while I look forward to enjoying the content, the fact that they gave me a tool to help me learn and grow was deeply appreciated. I have a lot of books in my life; I look forward to having many more. These were no exception.

My sister gave me a lamp which we’d had on the table, using it while we ate. I’m using the past tense here as it’s been moved off to make room for holiday decorations, but she’d visited recently, understood our tastes, and gave me a token from the shores of Lake Superior back home. It shall return after the holidays and it’s very appreciated.

My Uncle Joe gave me an altimeter watch, which I hope to put to good use over the next many seasons. It was unexpected and I like the thought that I’ll look down when I’m out in the mountains and need directions, and he’ll come to mind. I just realized that while I’m out “getting away from it all” in the mountains, I do spend a lot of time thinking about my many loved ones who aren’t with me. Interesting … I get out to enjoy a bit of time alone and use that time to recollect those I’ve left behind … or who have gone before me.

But I have two favorite gifts. The first was from my mother, a simple decal intended for the wall but one I put on a glass-fronted bookcase in my office. It’s a tree with a scatter of birds about it: sparrows, swallows, and perhaps doves. I’m not sure why it has my interest and favor, but I like it very much.

The second gift was a photo book from Suzanne titled: Five Decades of Joe and includes pictures from my last 50 years. I’m not sure where she got many of them, but some were familiar, some were novel, and all were appreciated. It’ll be hard to match that token when her fiftieth comes along!

I’ll share a few pictures that I enjoyed seeing in the book … one from each decade. Thank you, Suzy!


Hard to pick just one but here’s a traditional family Christmas with my siblings. I’m second from the right.

1969 (17)


It was only made easier to choose one picture in that there were fewer pictures to choose from! As the fourth child of six and in those teen years before cameras were on everyone at every time, the photographic evidence of my childhood was less well documented. Here I am on the left with my Uncle Joe and brothers John and Jay.



Again a challenge. This decade included my last time in MN, getting through college, moving to Seattle, and starting work for Boeing as an engineer. Helluva decade! This picture speaks to me of a passion that I found and kept through many many years; one involving a hobby that’s been formative in my life in many ways.



My wedding day remains the single best day of my life.



This was another hard decade to select a photo from; I’ve enjoyed so many experiences over the past 10 years … kinda boggling. This picture was selected as, over the last 20 years, the three guys in this picture with me have managed to get together every year for a long weekend hike. And every year we just fall back into the old friendships and have a great time. I’ve let a lot of friendships come and go over the past many years, so it’s nice to see these guys pop up time and again through the decades.



One Response to “Another good day”

  1. Momma said

    I don’t know why these photos and entries have moved me so much, but they seem, in a way, to tell “The story of man” lived in a wonderful way that is available to us in this country – a happy and safe home, the companionship of siblings, the joy of being out in beautiful natural settings with good friends and challenging ones self, the right choice of a wonderful life mate – and so on. And not pictured in this entry but very much a part of your life, are the varied kitties/cats who have enjoyed living with you and who’ve added amusement and comfort to your lives – as well as the chickens who’ve also added much, as they have rambled around the very lovely garden that Suzy and you have created. You mentioned once how you reached for the simple life, well lived, and this pictorial gives us a glimpse of that. I somehow see the possibility of a book here, in the future…. a wonderful manual, a How To Do It.
    Thank you. Momma

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