by Eldon & Carlene Chittick
Happy New Year!
Dear Family and Friends,
& Carlene's Clan
Yes, I know. You thought that you had received all the boring
Christmas letters you were going to for the 2001 season. Well,
a big "sorry" from me, but Carlene decided that
wed wait until I got back from my trip, so I could describe
the experience in the letter. Of course, all of you (who are
in the know) realize that she has just found another excuse
to leave the Christmas letter writing to me, as she has done
for the past years.
Well, first we must mention the previous 11 months of 2001.
Our Snowmobiling hobby led us (in Feb) to a 10 day trip with
three other couples to Wyoming to cover about the upper 2/3rds
of the Continental Divide Trail from the south entrance of
Yellowstone to as far south as the snow would allow, but still
about 100 miles short of the end of the trail at Lander. We
put about 600 miles on our sleds in nearly perfect weather.
In March, we flew to Phoenix to visit Denny/Ranasha and see
some baseball. We were able to see the Canadys, Siegfords
and connected with Eldons old high school and college
friends, Dick and Leona Parks from Port Orchard, Wash., who
winter down there. Then in April, we drove to Colorado Springs
to work for a couple weeks at Dennys T-shirt Co., Galapagos
Sportswear. We were able to visit friends, and Carlenes
dads family in Grand Junction, the Corcorans in
Baily, and cousins, Tim and Jim OConnor, in Chugwater,
WY. coming and going.
Somewhere along the way, our "little one" Quilene
announced that she and Egan wanted to get hitched in September.
So, we began to plan for our 4th and final wedding. The summer
was busy with softball (yes, Eldon quit playing finally, but
is now helping our son-in-law, Jimmy, coach a mens-league
team). Eldon continued to use his big green thumb in his garden,
but with mixed results. Great potatoes, radishes and tomatoes,
but out of 40 feet of carrots planted, only 12 carrots appeared.
And no rabbits in sight !!!!
In July, we journeyed to Seattle and then Edmonton for a
long overdo visit to Eldons brothers new condo
and a Mariners game. The drive to Edmonton was a nostalgic
trip for us as we hadnt driven that way since we moved
from Edmonton to Vancouver in 1968. We spent a fun week with
our Canadian friends the OSullivans and the Riars. We
miss our Canuck Connection!
Denny flew us down for a brief visit in August so we could
see Ranasha dance at a Phoenix Mercury game. Then the serious
planning time for the wedding began. Quil wanted no traditional
ceremony or atmosphere. So, with minimal southwestern and
Native-American decorations, and a very informal dress code,
our home became the sight of the "LOVE-IN" or the
"NORTH IDAHO WOODSTOCK 2001". One week before the
wedding on the 8th, friends and relatives began arriving.
By the day of the wedding, we had about 60 people camping
in tents on the property. Egans grandparents from New
Mexico; his dad Terry, wife Kay and his step-brother, Sesh;
his mother, Debbie, from Washington D.C.; and his step-dad
Don, and wife Elizabeth from Idaho City all stayed with us
in the house. It was great to get acquainted, and we all enjoyed
the harmony and joy of having the common purpose of giving
our kids a happy send off.
& Quilene on the wedding day
About 275 people attended. We fed 250, with Quilenes
boss, John, the restaurant owner from Corvallis, catering
the whole shebang as his wedding gift to the kids. Many guests
described the wedding as one of the most unique and touching
they had experienced, and praised the meal as "the best"
they had ever eaten at a wedding reception. It was exceptional.
A friend of ours, Judge Gene Marano conducted the service,
and together at the rehearsal, we put this spontaneous ceremony
together in 30 minutes, and it came off without a hitch. The
weather was perfect and the view from our front lawn set the
stage for Egans step-dad, Don, to create the atmosphere
with a prayer/blessing spoken in Lakota and his own poem written
for the occasion. They stood on a ceremonial blanket, which
was passed down in Carlenes family from her Grandmother,
who traded for this blanket (with food) with some Navajo Indians
around 1910-15 at Cumbres Pass telegraph office on the Colorado-New
Mexico bord! er. Were proud to have such a fine young
man as Egan for our son-in-law. He and Quil make a very compatible
like peanut butter and jelly, they seem to belong
together. It was special to get to know his parents and families.
Obviously, the week that followed the wedding was less than
joyful for us all. Perhaps we felt the need to not let the
tragedy slow us down, or we were in shock, but we were scheduled
to fly to CO to work at the T-shirt Company again. So we loaded
the kids wedding presents in our truck, drove to Corvallis,
unloaded them in the kids house, met Kay for dinner and an
overnight stay with her in her home (Terry was in Canada shooting
pictures of wildlife, that tried to shorten his life
a wildlife/naturalist photographer), then headed for Colorado
Springs the next day. We ended up spending a month working
at the "sweat shop" due to heavier fall orders than
normal. Then we returned home for Halloween, and then the
whole family came for Thanksgiving. By "family"
we include our "not-genetically-but-emotionally-related
" kids, Mike and Helen Williams and their new baby girl,
Reyla. It was our holiday gathering, as we knew we wouldnt
have Egan and Quilene or Denny and Ranasha home for Christmas.
Our brood is growing with grandkids and in-laws, which means
we have to share the holidays with the other families. Thats
worked out very nicely with them all, were happy to
report, as we all struggle with this transition from "selfishness
to sharing" that characterizes this stage in our lives.
& Ranasha at Machu Piichu
.now the TRIP..
On Dec. 5th, I flew from Spokane
to Seattle to LAX to Lima, Peru to meet up with Denny/Ranasha
and my old pal Don Michael (whom we lived next door to in
married housing at NMSU back in 1963-4). We left the next
day for Ica, Peru to see the Nazca Markings. The next day
to Cuzco, Peru as the jumping off point to see Machu Piichu.
Then we flew back to Lima and up to Quito, Ecuador where we
spent a day acclimatizing to the altitude. Our friend "nurse
Nancy" Barr joined us for this next leg
.a 5 day
white water rafting trip through the jungles of Ecuador. We
flew to Macas and bussed to the Upano River. After 5 days
of unbelievable scenery, a few dozen sand flea bites, a visit
with a Shuar village, (a previously head-hunting tribe of
aboriginal Indians who gave up that practice in the 1950s),
and some record setting rapids, we were bussed back to Macas
and flown back to Quito. Nancys husband, Mike joined
us for the last leg of this adventure, The Galapagos Islands,
600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. We floated around 7 of
the islands on a refurbished 108-foot cruiser, built in 1942,
for the next 5 days. An amazing and relaxing experience.
& 2 new friends from Galapagos
I could spend hours relating the many stories and anecdotes
about this unique trip; including the landslide in the mountains
that blocked our return train ride from Machu Piichu for 7
hours; dancing with the natives to a battery powered boom-box
in a thatched roof cottage; the 1000 foot climb through the
jungle at 10:00 at night up from the river to get to their
village; the ceremonial drinking of their "home brew"
and "white lightening" which we couldnt refuse
or wed insult our hosts; then the nightmarish climb/slide
back down mountain cliffs at midnight with only some of the
flashlights working; the home cooked meal in the home of an
Ecuadorian family in Quito whose daughter stayed with our
Riar friends in Canada as an exchange student 2 years ago;
then the unimaginable experience of seeing the wildlife in
the Galapagos that gave Darwin the basis for his theory of
evolution. These and other details, like flying on 16 different
planes in the 18 days we were gone, the security in these
3rd world countries at the airports and in the cities that
make ours look like a momentary inconvenience in comparison,
and the excellent food on the flights of Lan Chili and Tame
Airlines, will provide me with memories for the rest of my
Returning home to snow plowing was a dramatic reality check,
but a welcome return to my wife, my life, and my family that
made this experience all the more meaningful. I spend my free
time now, relating these stories to interested ears and eyes
as they view the pictures and videos of "papas
adventure". Carlene chose to experience this trip via
my pictures and stories, cause she "doesnt do water
things, especially white water rafting things."
2002 brings a new grandson into the family by Brad and Shawna
in April. His name will be Thaden Bradley! Brad is still with
UPS and Ally at 2 ½ is keeping them both very busy.
Sharla is still enjoying her teaching at North Idaho College
as full time faculty member in the History Department. Jimmys
Web Site business is going well and keeps him very busy! Sage
loves being in the lst Grade and found that soccer this fall
was his new passion!
Heres hoping your New Year is off to a good start,
with the shadow of 9-11-2001 producing a positive motivation,
not a negative modulation.
Best Personal Regards for 2002
Eldon and Carlene