Sue-On's 2009 Hillman Family Chronicle
There's a snowfall warning for southwestern Manitoba tonight (November
30), so we rushed and got our snow tires put on. Guess that means it's
winter and Christmas is on its way. So, it's time for our "fireside chat"
from our family to yours!
This year, we didn't have to borrow China's Honda Civic for our summer
road trip. We bought our very own Honda Civic EX-L with heated leather
seats. They weren't for the road trip, but they will be very welcome during
the winter. Our first destination was Dayton, Ohio for the 2009 Edgar
Rice Burroughs Bibliophiles
convention. Enroute to Dayton, we stopped in at Shelbyville,
Indiana for another visit to Tarzan and Jane's (James and Joan Burroughs
Pierce) burial site and research at the local genealogy office
Wednesday, we arrived in Dayton, Ohio. We were guests at the
home of this year's hosts, Dick and Ginnie Spargur. Their abode
was the perfect location for such a gathering, with a 'jungle" for their
backyard. Bill helped Dick with the convention “stuff” and was a presenter
on the Friday panel. I was able to help Ginnie with the feeding of the
horde, especially Friday evening's gigantic BBQ for +70 attendees. It was
another great gathering of old and new friends culminating with the Saturday
night banquet and Sunday farewell breakfast. One of my favourite activities
was a day trip organized by Ginnie for the J.A.N.E.S. (just another
neglected ERB spouse) to Jungle Jim's International Food Market
-- 6.5 acres of glorious food! Bill and I stayed over another day to visit
the massive U.S. Air Force museum.
From Dayton, we drove to visit with George
McWhorter at the Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville,
Kentucky. It was another afternoon of viewing and photographing new and
rare ERB collectibles with the ever-cordial curator and friend George.
Our next stop was for something completely different -- the Creation
Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The museum is a detailed display
of biblical stories, complete with Noah's Ark and dinosaurs! The
gardens were gorgeous, and the swinging rope bridge gave us an opportunity
to play Indiana Jones. The next day, we stopped at Jim and Linda Thompson’s
home in Clarksville, Tennessee. After spending several hours checking out
his incredible collection of ERB and other rare books, and Linda's "out-of-control"
collection of cats, we were introduced to a real southern meal: catfish,
deep fried okra and dill pickles! After supper and having made arrangements
to meet in Nashville next day, Bill and I headed off to settle in for a
couple of days to enjoy the country music capital.
We hadn't been to Nashville for many years and there were so many changes.
The most impressive was the new Country Music Hall of Fame. We also
had the opportunity to tour RCA Recording Studio. Met up with the
Thompson’s to see the newly released Sci-Fi flick District 9, followed
by a delicious Italian supper before we said our goodbyes. Saturday evening
took us to the Grand Ole Opry. The last time we were there was with
6-month-old Ja-On, who is now +30. Many of the artists performing then
and now were ones we had shared a stage with through the years: Little
Jimmy Dickens, Jeanie Shepard, the Whites, Jack Greene, George Hamilton
Memphis was another highlight -- a walk down memory lane at Graceland.
We had just missed the massive crowds on anniversary of Elvis's
death, so touring the complex was more leisurely. Sun
Recording Studios is now a developed tourist attraction, and it was
exciting to be standing in the actual studios among some of the original
equipment and instruments used by world famous recording artists such as
Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Elvis. This
road trip was not as extensive as 2008, but we revisited many of the places
from the days of our youth ;-)
We arrived home in time to celebrate my Mom's 101 birthday! Following
Chinese tradition, we had the big celebration on her 99th birthday, so
this was a smaller family affair. Since May, Mom's been living at Fairview
Personal Care facility. She has some degeneration of discs in her back,
so walking is a challenge. She is happy in her private room, especially
with daily meals catered to her by her family.
Ja-On's Reactive Therapeutic Massage practice is keeping him
very busy. We are meeting his satisfied clients everywhere! Angela
is hard at her books -- final year of her Bachelor of Nursing degree. She
is very focused and her marks are rewarding that. Soulin is eleven
-- no longer the little boy. Both he and Ja have taken an interest in the
guitar, so lessons with Bill have allowed them to spend time together.
Soulin especially likes the new Gretsch
Americana guitars we've added to our collection.
Robin continues to work as a software engineer with Tactica
in Winnipeg, but has new offices in a renovated warehouse. He and Jen
took a major step this year and bought a +100 year old house. It's a lovely
home with room for Jen to open her own daycare facility. Little Oriyen
continues to delight us and wind us around her little finger with her smile
and wonderful manners. This summer, Robin joined us for some summer
gigs (Miami, Neepawa,
etc.) on bass and drums along with other musician friends.
China is in her final year at University of Manitoba Medicine
program. Last year, she presented her research thesis in Omaha,
Nebraska. From her first placement at that conference, she was a presenter
at the Galveston, Texas international conference, again, placing
first. It's been a busy year with her various rotations, electives.
Just before Christmas, she was in Calgary for a 2-week radiology elective.
who was “the boy” in last year's newsletter, popped the question on Bill's
birthday last January. Guess that happens when you renovate a house together?
Ryan continues to work for Peaceworks in Winnipeg as a software
engineer. They've surprised us twice this year with additions to the family:
a black lab/husky/border collie named Torith, and then later in
the summer, an eight-week old Great Pyrenees named Lily. Along with
Soulin and Oriyen, it's a circus when everyone is home!
Patriarch Bill is still tied to his "work station" with a never-ending
list of writing and music projects
and websites to design and maintain. He taught a course with the
of Education during the summer and enjoyed it, but he doesn't miss
the "full-time" schedule.
The author of this annual epistle is still teaching with the
program at Brandon University. It's been another busy year, but a nice
Christmas break is forthcoming. I am still involved with Cyracom Interpreter
Service as I am the only Toisanese interpreter they've got.
It's always a challenge, especially with middle-of-the-night calls. Come
February, life will become hectic once again with the Chinese
Pavilion for the annual Lieutenant Governor's Winter Festival.
I'll be looking forward to our next summer road trip!
As always, we wish you and yours a Merry
Christmas and All the Best in 2010. Looking forward to hearing
news from your house!
Bill, Sue-On and Family