December 31, 2019 Annual Year-End Letter

I know you're not fooled. The title says "December 31, 2019" - right - but I'm starting this at 12:05 p.m., January 31, 2020. At least it's still only January. See last year's letter regarding time-inflation.


We indulged in more than the usual visits to and from our beloved friends and family, and bask in the warmth of loving and being loved.

A visitor in February...

...warming in the sun


We attended Diane's 50th High School reunion in September, and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary October 15th.  

Probably the biggest (non) event of the year: a certain trademark dispute was settled on July 15. That date, along with March 1, 2016, are set in history as the period in which The Ahwahnee, Curry Village, Badger Pass, and the Wawona Hotel lived incognito as, respectively, The Majestic Yosemite, Half Dome Village, Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area, and Big Trees Lodge.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosemite_National_Park_trademarks_dispute

August 2, 2019: Tom's photo of the dismantled "Big Trees Lodge" sign that covered the front of the Wawona Hotel for over three years, along with the store sign and the one that hung by the driveway entrance to the hotel complex. The signs were sitting in the manager's office, awaiting transport to the Yosemite Museum and Archives.

A promotional video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f40mH2iAFGs - with Tom was taped in December, 2018, when we were still using the phony-baloney name "Big Trees Lodge" instead of the correct "Wawona Hotel." Tom suggested at the time that they not use the fake name in the video, in case things got settled before Christmas. Also Tom's in a podcast about Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and music in Yosemite: https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/ENP-19-3-Yosemite-John-Muir-and-Theodore-Roosevelt-Camping-Trip and introduced his first (and probably last) cowboy song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF_8us9QNlE

"Tom & Diane" 2019 sculpture by Diane


In June we drove to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

Swallow perched on a barn, Grand Tetons behind 

Diane keeping a safe distance in Yellowstone


2019 brought no activity to us in this category. You may have noticed that we began using these subheadings in last year's letter, and will probably continue to do so. At this writing, we're having a warm, dry-ish winter, so we'll have our emergency evacuation stuff at the ready...

Old Faithful Inn


May 14th we lost our friend, Marylyn Coons, who was always beyond kind to us - we remember her fondly.

May 18th marked 40 years since the passing of Tom's boyhood friend and neighbor Jeff Drinkard, 19, from a climbing accident in Yosemite.




We continued to sculpt  our yard to make best use of rain runoff. This was temporarily curtailed when a large, drought-weakened beetle-infested ponderosa pine died and was cut into large sections that took up the western edge of our property until removed in autumn. Hopefully our efforts to encourage rain and snowmelt to soak into the ground will nourish the remaining trees.

The rest of the garden is doing well, though it remains to be seen (this spring) what all the ground squirrels have consumed.

We wish all a comfortable, happy and safe 2020.




Tom & Diane


Dinner with our niece, Emma 


Diane at Roosevelt Lodge, Yellowstone, admiring Yosemite Falls 

Beartooth Highway. We stayed in the car, mostly