Happy Christmas - 2005
“Mark, did you know it is December already?  Where is the Christmas Letter?!  Do I have to do everything?!?”

With Diana off in Chicago, Erik working and paying attention to his girlfriend, and Mark still mixing yet another batch of root beer and/or cream soda, it appears the task of writing the Christmas letter has fallen onto my shoulders.  Ahhh, finally people will learn what life is really like in this mad house.  I have the power!  People will listen to me!  Mother Rules!

Ok, where should I start?  2005 has proved to be a busy one for us.  After what seemed to be an extremely long & cold winter, I took Erik and Mark to Disney World in Florida for Spring Break.  Despite the dire warnings of hoards of people, it was not too bad.  It definitely was not off-season, but we had a great week and I did manage a bit of a sun tan.

Then the end of the school year popped up unexpectedly.  Erik was finishing 11th grade and Diana graduated with a political science degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  The weekend of her graduation was a great celebration with both set of grandparents there to help celebrate.  Then two weeks after the ceremonies we had the aunts, uncles and cousins over for a small celebration.  Now with the conclusion of the festivities, a single thought seemed to come to mind over and over ... "Find a job!"  But more on that later.

June also brought us a celebration of my parents (Dick & Mavis Bryson’s’) 50th wedding anniversary.  We had a big supper with family and friends at the Elks in Albert Lea.  Hey, did I mention the picture taking.  Every time I turned around there were paparazzi with cameras taking pictures.

The summer also brought another busy season of selling Mark and Erik’s Root Beer and Cream Soda.  The guys get up at 6 AM and peddle their wares at the Prior Lake Farmers’ Market from 8 AM till 12 Noon.  They are getting quite a reputation - the kids refer to Mark as "that root beer guy" and Erik seems to have a loyal following of 12 year old girls hanging around the stand.

Then there was a family reunion on Mark’s mother’s side of the family (Bengston).  We discovered a wonderful park north east of St. Paul and basically enjoyed some time catching up with family.  It is amazing how quick time passes and you can lose touch.

In August Mark and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  We postponed the excitement until October when we went out to the Litiz, Pennsylvania for their annual Chocolate Walk.  26 vendors take pounds of Wilbur Chocolate and make every form of creation from chocolate candy to chocolate sandwiches and even chocolate salsa.  Being a true choco-aholic I thought I was doing well, but by the 23rd stand I started to realize I may have indulged a bit too much.  Thereafter, I was not as inclined to find the last few shops, but as proof of our perseverance, I do believe we came home with about 5 lbs of chocolate as souvenirs.

Oh!  Before I forget, I must mention Brittany.  We first met her when we invited Erik and his friends to dinner for his birthday a year ago.  Typical teenagers - love to talk about themselves and what not.  But there was Erik, quietly sitting next to a quiet young lady.  Too quiet.  You know, the kind of "don’t say anything and avoid making a bad impression" sort of quiet.  I looked at Mark and we both suspected something was afoul.  Well, we investigated (being the good parents that we are) and lo-and-behold, our son has been discretely sheltering a budding relationship with Brittany.  She is a nice girl, maybe a bit shy to be hanging out among us, but I am sure they will both look back many years in the future and laugh about this.  (snicker)

It may not seem we have time to have gainful employment, but I am still working at MinnPar and Mark is still at Goodrich.  Erik is manning the take-out window at Fong’s a few days a week.  He is now in twelfth grade and will be graduating this coming spring.  Diana did find a job towards the end of summer in Chicago.  She works for an import/export group.  She sends to Korea bio-degradable diapers, baby clothes and expensive cosmetics, and in return she arranges to sell Korean liqueur.  Diana tells me a trip to Korea is in her near future.
Diana’s new address is:
        1020 West Roscoe Street, Apartment 1E,
        Chicago, IL 60657.
Her e-mail address has changed, but you can still send e-mail to diana@glewwe-castle.com

Back in the month of August I felt the urge to look up some of my old stomping grounds.  I went to Battle Lake where I taught in the early 80’s.  From there I went to Bemidji where I went to college (the statues of Paul & Babe are still there).  Then I traced the old route Grandma Bryson and I used to take to Baudett (saw the Willie the Walleye statue), International Fall (saw the statue of Smokey the Bear and gazed across the river at Canada) and then down to Duluth.  Don’t tell Mark but I stopped at the Black Bear Casino and did some gambling - and I WON - $1.75!

Now as the winter snows are descending onto the frozen tundra, we have started the next chapter in the saga of Glewwe’s Castle Brewery.  Apparently Mark was listening when I insisted on him and Erik having to get the root beer business out of my kitchen.  They are now planning on building a shed.  So right now, we should break ground this Spring and it should be in place for the start of next year’s Farmer’s Market.  Erik wants to add a large flat-panel plasma TV with surround sound.  Oh, and did I mention the series of tap handles coming out of the walk-in refrigerator.  I believe he is thinking "party room" and doesn’t plan on working too hard.

Well, that is about it from our household.  Health is becoming more "relative" as we - no, as Mark gets older, but we are all doing pretty well.  We continue to try and squeeze in a lot of living in around here and I look back over the past year with a big smile on my face.

We hope this letter finds you healthy and happy.  We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.  If you find yourselves nearby, please stop by and enjoy some hospitality.

I will now relinquish my power and we will return to the chaos we call life.

Laurel, Mark, and Erik Glewwe
Prior Lake, Minnesota, USA

P.S.  Diana has to write her own epistle.  Besides, we would also like to know what she is up to.

Edited by Mark & Erik while Laurel wasn’t looking.
Do you hear the sounds of evil giggles?