Our trip to Florida was wonderful...we left later than planned, but that is typical Pam.  The weather was pretty good.  We always take egg and tuna salad from Carlson's and eat our lunches on the way down which saves a lot of time and money and, Carlson's stuff is always delicious!  We found a cheap, decent motel, which is all we need.  As long as it's clean, I'm happy.  When you have kids and grandkids, you need space and pools and all the bells and whistles...but for a couple old people, clean is good!

We also had a nice visit with Luann and family, brother Kevin and family and Kacie, Jered and Russ.  Being away, however, didn't let us escape the sorrows others were feeling in Port Allegany.  With cell phones and internet, we sometimes knew what was going on in Port before those who were here knew. 

Our trip home was not as pleasant.  We were going along great and had hoped to meet my brother and his family in NC where they were vacationing.  We got 20-30 miles away and our van started acting up.  We found more cheap, but decent, lodging and looked up phone numbers for garages that could possibly help us in the morning.  Mike took the van to a place that put it on the computer and of course, found nothing.  So, we set out, hoping for the best.  We drove the next day - all day - and were within an hour of Luann's house and the van again started acting up.  This time we had it towed to a dealership a few miles away. Luann made the drive to rescue us and took us back the next day to check on the van which again was running perfectly...the dealership could not find anything wrong.  Mike had them change a part that he thought might be causing our troubles, but we didn't start for home as we didn't want to get stuck along side the road in the dark. 

We made it back to Port just in time to have dinner at the home of my parents.  Sure didn't want to miss that!  Dinner was, as it always is, delicious!  I'm not sure how Mom does it..and every year I wonder if she'll be up to it the next year.  She is as amazing just like the wonderful meal and pies!  I have to mention that Dad helps - not exactly sure how...maybe he just stays out of the way...but in any case, they are excellent hosts and we all look forward to holidays at their house. 

My aunt and uncle from Lockport stayed with us Thursday and Friday nights and that doesn't happen very often.  So, that was pretty special, too.  On Saturday, I was torn as to whether I should go to the football game or stay with my family.  Typically, my family doesn't chime in on what I do - this day, however, everyone had an opinion and they all urged me to stay home.  I felt bad about it as I missed all the Gator playoff games.  On the other hand, between Pat Crants and Micky Taylor - there have been action shots in the Reporter Argus...and I thank them very much. 

After e-mailing Pat and Micky, I decided that I could attend the surprise party for my friend, Rene, who had a birthday on the 27th.  Mike and I arrived and I learned that although Rene was at the church and it was, indeed, her birthday, the party was for me!  It was a wonderful Saturday afternoon spent with family and friends. I appreciate everyone who gave up their afternoon to spend with us. 

I spent more time at the party than I had originally planned...when I thought it was Rene's party, I figured I would stay an hour or two...however my time there was quite a bit longer.  That left me with not a lot of time to work on the Adopt-A-Family, Unsung Heroes and December Dates newsletter for Sunday school.  After a few hours working on that stuff, I had to go to bed.  For whatever reason, I was exhausted from my vacation and the holiday.  I got up very early to finish things.  On my way to church, I learned of another tragedy...one that involved a good friend.  It set the pace for the rest of my day. I felt an awkward feeling of not knowing what to do...being upset...and trying to keep up with the tasks at hand without giving any thing my full attention.  I also couldn't fall asleep Sunday night.  Monday  morning, I woke up to learn that we had lost two more young people in a car accident. 

Our thoughts and prayers go to all the families and friends of the people that have passed.