I can almost hear you muttering “well, THAT’S an odd thing to say,” and you’d be correct in that, if it weren’t so damn cold.

To my surprise and maybe yours I am not in the Dominican in this moment. I was home there this winter only long enough to open the house and prime the pumps before moving my friend in as I departed for the frozen upper mid-west that is Wisconsin. I’ve been here in a communal icebox filled with friendly and helpful people–many of whom I’ve known for a decade–for a little more than a couple of weeks now. And I’ll likely remain for a couple more. But I’m certainly not staying for the climate.

And, actually, I’ve only worn long underwear on those days when the HIGH temperature has stopped short of minus ten, Fahrenheit. I’m pretty sure the year-round residents don’t exercise such arbitrary (alright, RIDICULOUS) measures when dressing in the morning, but I’m trying to establish my own tradition here. And I don’t spend much time outdoors; as little as possible, actually.

It is REALLY cold here and it is cold all of the time. It hasn’t been above freezing in two weeks, since the big snow.

I’m in a small town, the county seat of Richland County in south-western Wisconsin giving my mom a hand–administrative and otherwise, as she prepares for what she terms the adventure of the next phase of her life. My mother is inspirational and makes what is a pretty difficult process much easier with her positive and reasonable approach to most of the impending changes.

I hope that I’m like that when I’m 85.

A few of you have been kind enough to pester me about keeping current with stories of Las Galeras (and I haven’t forgotten a promise to a friend for the detailed and excruciating story of a month of political action in Texas.) To those of you anxious for news from this direction, I can offer the prospect of a break in the action, maybe after the first of the year.

Indeed, there are several things that do warrant reporting in some detail. For example, I’m a licensed driver in the Dominican Republic. This is amusing and challenging in more ways than you may imagine. And the Medio Ambiante continues to behave in the most inconsistent and baffling ways regarding the construction projects of my friends and neighbors in Las Galeras. On the infrastructure front, the aqueduct is now marginally functional all of the way to downtown Las Galeras and the final 40 kilometers of road between Samana and our village are SO much improved that I can almost envision eventual asphalt. See what news you have to look forward to?

Anyway, I think of each of you, and wish you and your families the best in this holiday season.

The snow here can be pretty, so I’ll put a snapshot or two on the website.

Best,

Bill

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