I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I have been writing Dad’s annual Christmas letter, the one he always titles “Season’s Greetings from Sunnyside Farm.” My mom used to write the letter, but since she died, he has done it, with my help. Some years I have had more edits than others. But Papa Bob as we call him, is a good student. This year, all I did was type it up for him. This part is worth sharing right now:

Age must sharpen the senses. I find myself constantly remembering the past. Mostly happy memories, but some sadness. The loss of family, friends, and especially Sally.

No doubt all the displaced people and refugees from the Middle East remind me of my first day in America, where my mother, sister, and I came during WW II. My father was in the French army. I was six years old when we arrived at my grandfather’s house in Jersey City. After the long Atlantic crossing, I was whisked outside to get some fresh air. On the sidewalk two kids who asked why I was dressed “so funny” accosted me. (I looked a bit like little Lord Fauntleroy.) I said I was English and came from England.  “Well we’re Irish and we don’t like Limeys”, they said and proceeded to pummel me. Later we became friends. Such was my introduction to America. 

Sunnyside Farm is named for the home in England we never returned to. Here we all seem to come from somewhere else. Different languages, different religions, and different colors, yet it works. We are still the greatest and most influential country in the world. But with responsibility comes many challenges. Let’s pray we are up to the task.