Happy Holidays
Caledonia, MI, USA
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As 2005 draws to a close, this seems to have been a looong year. And so far it’s a cold one at that!! In February Roger turned “the big 50” – a low key affair really. We went to dinner with Lisa’s parents Bob and Joan, and cousin Kurt and his family and Kurt’s parents George and Bev. A few days later a package arrived from my Dad in New Zealand that contained 3 amazing penguin tapestries he had made. Bob and I made frames for them.

In January Bob started undergoing a series of tests in preparation for what was to be a long (about 14 hours) surgery to remove melanoma from the right side of his face, which would leave him with his right eye, and the right side of the top of his mouth missing, and surgeries on his back and one leg to provide “parts” for the repairs on his face. The surgery itself went well, but within a couple of days the first complications set in with a blood clot appearing in his legs. This led to a serious dosage of a blood thinner to dissolve the life threatening blood clots, which was the last thing the extensive surgery sites needed, so they didn’t heal at all well. With various complications and slow healing Bob was in the hospital, at times in the intensive care ward on and off during the first few months of 2005.

On top of this, Lisa’s mother Joan had suffered a recurrence of liver cancer, and had surgery in April to remove more of her liver (she’d had her first surgery for this in 2003). During the next few months they both seemed to be recovering, although the healing of Bob’s wounds on his back and leg was still very slow, with nurses coming to their home twice a day to change the dressing on his wounds. We lost track of how many times we drove the 130 miles each way to Ann Arbor to see either of them in hospital, or visit at home for the weekend – it was a lot, and sometimes the weather wasn’t very good.

Finally by July things seemed to be looking better, and we were planning our trip to Scotland for the Clan Moffat Society AGM. We were to leave on 7th August, with both Bob and Joan insisting we should go as planned. But late in July Bob took another bad turn, and after being rushed to hospital he fell into a coma from which he never woke up. He died at home on 6th August.

So on 7 August, with the finality of Bob’s passing and Joan’s insistence we go as planned, we drove off to Toronto (it was about $300 each cheaper to leave from Toronto than from anywhere else) to fly to Glasgow for 10 days in Scotland. Traveling in a small rental car, we spent the first few days out on the west coast of Scotland, and on the Isle of Mull with a day on Iona exploring the place where Christianity first came to the British Isles.
Lochan Na
Staffa Island
This included a boat ride out to Staffa Island, famed for its columnar basalt formations.

Then we headed south to Moffat for a few days for the Clan Moffat Society AGM. On this trip we met up with a number of Moffats from the United Kingdom too – none related to me that we know about.

After this we traveled east to Roxburghshire, visiting some parts of Hadrian’s Wall along the way, and spent a nice day and night with a distant relative (my 3rd cousin once removed) – Jean Fleming, who is a descendant of a George Moffat who stayed in Scotland in the 1860s when two of his brothers went to New Zealand, and a sister went to Australia. We had a night in Edinburgh to see the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which was fantastic, and then headed to Dundee to visit another distant relative (my 4th cousin once removed).
Jean Fleming, Roger Moffat
& Nettie Fleming
Roger Moffat & Sandy Bain
Sandy Bain is a descendant of the oldest sister of the Moffats mentioned earlier – she too stayed in Scotland. Sandy and I had “met” only a couple of months previously when he found my genealogy website that included his ancestors and sent me an eMail.
http://lisaandroger.com/DistantCousins/ includes a chart which shows the relationships between us.
Unfortunately, only 3 days after we got to Scotland, while on the Isle of Mull, we learned that Joan was again in the hospital, with problems with her bowel. It was kinked and blocked. After some delays she had an operation to fix this, but a few days after this it was discovered she had a “fistula” – a hole in the intestine somewhere, so she remained in hospital for a couple of weeks, eating nothing. Eventually she was discharged to home, but still not eating so had to be connected to a pump that pumped some 3 litres of “stuff” over a 14 hour period into a vein in her arm. This lasted for nearly a month, before at least partly on her own initiative, Joan decided to start eating again. Luckily the fistula had seemingly healed itself, and she’s been eating normally for the last couple of months.
Other family things this year involved some traveling, but mostly close to home. In January we had a trip to Chicago to spend a couple of days with my cousin Andrew, his wife Pauline, their daughter and a grandson. They chose about the coldest time of the year to go there, and temperatures were below 0° F (-18° C) for much of the time there. June saw us driving “around” Lake Michigan (actually it’s only about half way round, but includes traveling through Chicago) to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the 50th birthday party of one of Lisa’s cousins, and the High School Graduation of his daughter.

September saw the arrival of my sister Ruth with her husband and 2 children for 6 days. I picked them up in Chicago, and after a few hours looking around Navy Pier we drove back to Grand Rapids. We stayed here a couple of days, went for a swim in Lake Michigan (well Ruth and I didn’t), then went to Detroit for a day at Greenfield Village. The next day I drove them to Toronto (then drove myself back to Ann Arbor) where Ruth and Jeff were seeing a U2 concert that night.

In early October we again went to Oshkosh. This time it was to help re-shingle the roof on cousin Carol’s house and for the wedding party for Carol’s daughter Cheyenne who had married earlier in the year in Florida. So Roger and Kurt (Lisa’s cousin) went around a couple of days early so we could work on the roof, while Lisa and Ann with Kyle and Zoe drove around Friday night.

In October, Delphi, the company Lisa works for filed for bankruptcy protection. So far nothing has changed at Lisa’s plant, but it seems certain that things will change as Delphi wants to lower the wages paid to their hourly workers, and reduce the amount of benefits (health care and retirement) that workers get. But as people retire, Lisa may have to work more hours to train new employees. Recently there have been rumours of a strike, and it’s difficult to know just what will happen in the upcoming year. Hopefully things will turn out OK.

We wish you the best for Christmas, the Holidays and for 2006.

Thanks for being Reader  of our Newsletter 2005.
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