**Old Man Rant**
The other day I called a business to order some of their products. Almost everything I asked about the person had to put me on hold, apparently walk to the warehouse and come back with an answer. After several of these simple questions and holds I realized this is a byproduct of a low unemployment rate. Now, every moron that shouldn’t have a job is on the other end of the line when you call and need information. This has happened with so many business calls that I have learned to hang up, call back, and hope to get a person that actually cares and knows about the products they sell. And don’t get me started about FedEX
**Dave Hamrick is Retiring**
My dear friend David Hamrick is retiring from U T Press. Dave has been at the helm of the book department. His vision is unparalleled. He produced many first rate photography books and brought the Press to be a highly respected and sought out publisher. Always bluntly honest, and blatantly excited when he could see the vision or lack of, an idea. He donned me his photographer of Big Bend, an honor and responsibility I've never taken lightly. He is going to come out to Marathon and help me with a retrospective book of my 31 years in Big Bend. I can't wait to have him here. Good luck my brother. U T Press was very fortunate to have your talents.
**Marci Sold the Grocery Store**
After nearly 15 years Marci has sold the French Company. Meet Sam Stavinoha, a young and bright man from Spring Branch. The store has been Marci’s baby, and though she has wanted to sell it for a while, she held out for the right person. Sam will bring fresh ideas and innovation to the store and Marathon. It is perfect timing too, Marci and I have been building a house for a few years now, and we are almost ready to move in. It is no surprise that the whole Big Bend area has been discovered. Marfa has been in the headlines for over a decade. Terlingua is booming. So it stands to reason that Marathon too, is seeing new growth. All three of us are ready for a new phase of our lives, and so it begins. Please stop by, say hello, and welcome Sam to the neighborhood.
**A Christmas Story**
My Mom was a little Italian woman who grew up in South Philadelphia. She was one of the most hard headed stubborn persons I've ever known. It was her way or the highway always. Her children were everything to her. She didn't spare the rod, but she didn't use it freely either. It was a different time, but my little brother and I both agree that we don't think it damaged us in any way. We still raise our voices in argument, and I still am working on that one. My mother would go to the mat with anyone in defense of her children. We were her meaning of life. She was full of cliches. "When one door closes another one opens" etc. But the best thing she gave me was the confidence that I could be what ever I wanted, that no person was better than me, and I was better than no person. She had a warped sense of humor and I inherited that. One time right before Christmas she gave me and my little brother a Sears catalog, and told us to circle every thing we wanted. I was about 8 years old, my brother 6. We poured over that thick catalog for what seemed like hours. I remember I picked lots of toys, a bicycle, and even a Superman outfit. We handed her back the catalog and she went into another room. She returned about 15 minutes later with all the items cut out of the book, handed it to us and said here "Merry Christmas." My brother and I both started crying our eyes out, and it really upset my Mom. We didn't understand the joke. That Christmas we got a ton of gifts, she was making up for it. I miss my Mom very much. Family is a sweet thing. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you all for all you have done for me.
Happy Full Moon. Get Outside.