Merry Christmas 2001 & Happy New Year 2002
Hello Family & Friends!

Instead of writing a Christmas letter this year, I decided to write a New Year’s letter. I know what you are thinking…… he procrastinated to the point where there was no other way out! Actually, this is not true. It is early December and I want to not only reflect about the Shackles Family in 2001, but I also to anticipate the coming New Year.

This past year seems to be characterized by what happened before and after September 11. Pre-11 began with Tiffany jumping kindergarten and moving to first grade. She came to us and asked to be in first grade. It seems she did not think taking naps was a very good use of her valuable time. She has not only met the challenge, but she is one of the top students in her second grade class this school year. Cyndy and I went on our annual cruise vacation during Spring Break and three weeks later Cyndy went with Marie, Trina, and the girls on another cruise. What can I say…..we love to be pampered! The girls went to dance class 4 days a week and were involved in piano competitions. Besides the usual barrage of recitals at the end of the school year, Angela was awarded the top scholastic award for her grade at Princeton Christian Academy. Trina started her final year at Florida International University and was preparing to go to a field camp in the summer as a requirement of her degree. It seems that all she did was go to school, study, and work (teaching piano). I am pretty sure I saw her once pulling out of the driveway. Not sure, though. This past summer she went to her field camp in Montana. It lasted 6 weeks and she thinks they should rename it boot camp: up at 5 am, in the field by 6:30, and home just before dark in time to study all night to prepare for the next day. Cyndy and I took a two week vacation to Montana so we could stop by and see her. We stayed a couple of nights at the camp. I was glad I could leave. We arrived home in time for me to fly to Minneapolis to play golf with my good friend Rick McArdle. School started and then the tragedy of September 11 happened, forever changing our lives.

Post-11 now has CNN and MSNBC replacing Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. They say that history repeats itself and I think the baby boomer generation can now understand what life in America was like after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. All of a sudden everything has a sense of urgency and everyone reorganizes their priorities. The girls started second and third grade. Trina entered into her last semester of college, and Cyndy and Marie went on a cruise. Life has to be normal. I even got an A on Angela’s science project. My high school bowling team won the State Championship. Nathan and Frances came home for Thanksgiving and we are all going skiing at Beech Mountain, N.C. over Christmas and then traveling home to Glasgow for the New Year.

William Colton said, "There is a difference between happiness and wisdom. He that thinks himself the happiest person really is so; but he that thinks himself the wisest, is generally the greatest fool". On behalf of the John Shackles’ family, I would like to extend the warmest of holiday wishes for a happy and fulfilling new year.