Surgery, visits by friends and family, closing of Charleys restaurant and a wedding punctuated the year 1996.

Surgery: George's routine health checkup, late last year, led to the discovery of bladder tumor. The growth was removed the second week of January. A rapid recovery, without after effect, followed. Precautionary visits to the urologist once a quarter currently reveal no problem.

Family get togethers: A recently established tradition, the January gathering at 1525 Covered Bridge Dr. of George's immediate family, took place the last week of January. Reminiscing, catching up and visiting local attractions (including George & Ellie's favorite, Sea World) filled the agenda for the 1996 event.

In mid February Ellie's brother and mother traveled from Chicago to DeLand to thaw out and to have their tax returns prepared by H&R Blocks best, Eleanor J.

Charley's Restaurant Closed: Christiansburg's shopping complex has, in the last two years, experienced an explosive growth in restaurant seats. RyanÕs Steak House, Outback and Red Lobster were the latest to build new facilities in a market with little or no population and income growth. Charley's, owned by the Menkart family and managed by Trish, mutated from an attractive to a marginal to potentially very unprofitable business. The opportunity to exit resulted from interest in the location by Spanky's, a local chain of sandwich shops. Negotiation between Spanky's and Charley's landlord, Crown American, were encouraged. As a result Charley's was able to terminate it's lease sell the restaurant contents and execute an orderly exit making June 1 the last day of restaurant operation.

Trish weds Mike: On June 16, in Christiansburg Virginia, Trish became Mrs. Michael Richardson. Drenching thunderstorms hit as close as two miles from Trish's home where the sun shone on the outdoor wedding and reception. Alison, Trish's nine year old daughter, participated in the wedding as the flower girl and her son, six year old Daniel, was the ring bearer.The wedding location precluded a very active role on the part of the mother and father of the bride in planning and execution of the event. Trish handled the task and her efforts paid off in a memorable ceremony and reception.

John and Pam juggle busy schedules: In June John's wife, Pam, completed two years of research and returned to the hospital phase of her surgical internship and it's demanding schedule. John continues to sell Netscape products to the US Government. They managed to mesh their schedules for a one week expedition to London and Paris. We hope that they will find a way to do it again for a visit to Florida.

John is the computer and Navigator guru helping his father become acquainted with the wonders of the Internet.

Holidays at Home: This year Ellie and George plan to celebrate Christmas and New Years at their home in Florida. Closing of Charley's restaurant relieves Ellie and George of bookkeeping, payroll preparation and tax reporting and permits Trish to leave Christiansburg in the Holiday Season. Christmas in the sun is the resulting plan.

Having been spared the annual trek to the snowy and icy hills of the New River Valley Ellie and George plan greater participation in local Holiday events. One of these is the December 12 neighborhood progressive dinner, the main course of which is to be served at 1525 Covered Bridge Drive.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Ellie and George

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