Sue-On's 2009 Hillman Family Chronicle
There's a snowfall warning for southwestern Manitoba tonight (November 30), so we rushed and got our snow tires put on. Guess that means it's winter and Christmas is on its way. So, it's time for our "fireside chat" from our family to yours!

This year, we didn't have to borrow China's Honda Civic for our summer road trip. We bought our very own Honda Civic EX-L with heated leather seats. They weren't for the road trip, but they will be very welcome during the winter. Our first destination was Dayton, Ohio for the 2009 Edgar Rice Burroughs Bibliophiles convention.  Enroute to Dayton, we stopped in at Shelbyville, Indiana for another visit to Tarzan and Jane's (James and Joan Burroughs Pierce) burial site and research at the local genealogy office

Wednesday, we arrived in Dayton, Ohio. We were guests at the home of this year's hosts, Dick and Ginnie Spargur. Their abode was the perfect location for such a gathering, with a 'jungle" for their backyard. Bill helped Dick with the convention “stuff” and was a presenter on the Friday panel. I was able to help Ginnie with the feeding of the horde, especially Friday evening's gigantic BBQ for +70 attendees. It was another great gathering of old and new friends culminating with the Saturday night banquet and Sunday farewell breakfast. One of my favourite activities was a day trip organized by Ginnie for the J.A.N.E.S. (just another neglected ERB spouse) to Jungle Jim's International Food Market -- 6.5 acres of glorious food! Bill and I stayed over another day to visit the massive U.S. Air Force museum. 

From Dayton, we drove to visit with George McWhorter at the Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. It was another afternoon of viewing and photographing new and rare ERB collectibles with the ever-cordial curator and friend George. Our next stop was for something completely different -- the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The museum is a detailed display of biblical stories, complete with Noah's Ark and dinosaurs!  The gardens were gorgeous, and the swinging rope bridge gave us an opportunity to play Indiana Jones. The next day, we stopped at Jim and Linda Thompson’s home in Clarksville, Tennessee. After spending several hours checking out his incredible collection of ERB and other rare books, and Linda's "out-of-control" collection of cats, we were introduced to a real southern meal: catfish, deep fried okra and dill pickles! After supper and having made arrangements to meet in Nashville next day, Bill and I headed off to settle in for a couple of days to enjoy the country music capital.

We hadn't been to Nashville for many years and there were so many changes. The most impressive was the new Country Music Hall of Fame. We also had the opportunity to tour RCA Recording Studio. Met up with the Thompson’s to see the newly released Sci-Fi flick District 9, followed by a delicious Italian supper before we said our goodbyes. Saturday evening took us to the Grand Ole Opry. The last time we were there was with 6-month-old Ja-On, who is now +30. Many of the artists performing then and now were ones we had shared a stage with through the years: Little Jimmy Dickens, Jeanie Shepard, the Whites, Jack Greene, George Hamilton IV, etc.

Memphis was another highlight -- a walk down memory lane at Graceland. We had just missed the massive crowds on anniversary of Elvis's death, so touring the complex was more leisurely. Sun Recording Studios is now a developed tourist attraction, and it was exciting to be standing in the actual studios among some of the original equipment and instruments used by world famous recording artists such as Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Elvis. This road trip was not as extensive as 2008, but we revisited many of the places from the days of our youth ;-)

We arrived home in time to celebrate my Mom's 101 birthday! Following Chinese tradition, we had the big celebration on her 99th birthday, so this was a smaller family affair. Since May, Mom's been living at Fairview Personal Care facility. She has some degeneration of discs in her back, so walking is a challenge. She is happy in her private room, especially with daily meals catered to her by her family.

Ja-On's Reactive Therapeutic Massage practice is keeping him very busy. We are meeting his satisfied clients everywhere! Angela is hard at her books -- final year of her Bachelor of Nursing degree. She is very focused and her marks are rewarding that. Soulin is eleven -- no longer the little boy. Both he and Ja have taken an interest in the guitar, so lessons with Bill have allowed them to spend time together. Soulin especially likes the new Gretsch Americana guitars we've added to our collection.

Robin continues to work as a software engineer with Tactica in Winnipeg, but has new offices in a renovated warehouse. He and Jen took a major step this year and bought a +100 year old house. It's a lovely home with room for Jen to open her own daycare facility. Little Oriyen continues to delight us and wind us around her little finger with her smile and wonderful manners. This summer, Robin joined us for some summer gigs (Miami, Neepawa, etc.) on bass and drums along with other musician friends.

China is in her final year at University of Manitoba Medicine program. Last year, she presented her research thesis in Omaha, Nebraska. From her first placement at that conference, she was a presenter at the Galveston, Texas international conference, again, placing first. It's been a busy year with her various rotations, electives.  Just before Christmas, she was in Calgary for a 2-week radiology elective. Ryan, who was “the boy” in last year's newsletter, popped the question on Bill's birthday last January. Guess that happens when you renovate a house together? Ryan continues to work for Peaceworks in Winnipeg as a software engineer. They've surprised us twice this year with additions to the family: a black lab/husky/border collie named Torith, and then later in the summer, an eight-week old Great Pyrenees named Lily. Along with Soulin and Oriyen, it's a circus when everyone is home!

Patriarch Bill is still tied to his "work station" with a never-ending list of writing and music projects and websites to design and maintain. He taught a course with the Faculty of Education during the summer and enjoyed it, but he doesn't miss the "full-time" schedule.

The author of this annual epistle is still teaching with the EAP program at Brandon University. It's been another busy year, but a nice Christmas break is forthcoming. I am still involved with Cyracom Interpreter Service as I am the only Toisanese interpreter they've got. It's always a challenge, especially with middle-of-the-night calls. Come February, life will become hectic once again with the Chinese Pavilion for the annual Lieutenant Governor's Winter Festival. I'll be looking forward to our next summer road trip!

As always, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and All the Best in 2010. Looking forward to hearing news from your house!


Bill, Sue-On and Family 


Christmas Greetings 
from the Hillman Family
Christmas On The Web
Histories ~ Trivia ~ Scripts
Archive of Annual Newsletters
 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09
A Coca Cola Christmas
Over 40 Sundblom Santas | Gallery
Box 1 | Box 2 | Box 3
VICTORIAN XMAS 3-D Stereocards
I | II | III | IV | V | VI
.Norman Rockwell
Christmas Mosaic
A montage of Christmas album covers
Christmas in the Good Old Days
by David Adams
Classic Old Time Radio 
Christmas Shows
A Science Fiction Xmas
Nostalgia Xmas Comics
Magic Lantern Christmas Slides 
from the Victorian Era
Hillman Family Newsletter
Xmas 2010
Xmas Song Book
Favourite Xmas Videos
Inspiration Pages
Xmas Cartoons