Greetings from the Baileys! We hope your 2019 was filled with joy and happy memories. Our own year was largely a continuation of the whirlwind that was 2018, but we are finally settling back to something resembling ‘normal’.
Ann’s year as the Commodore for the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Organization led to amazing experiences for both of us – and we have the bonus of having so many wonderful new friends in our lives. The winter months had several ‘far away’ trips starting with Pasadena CA for the Tournament of Roses parade and football game. Being behind the scenes to see the floats up close, watching the equestrian and band performances and having great seats to the action was once in a lifetime fun. Shortly after, we were all in Aberdeen for the South Dakota Snow Queen festival. Their hospitality was as warm as the unseasonably warm January, including a fantastic insider tour of a wind turbine manufacturing plant.
January ended with a fun celebration in St. Paul for the Winter Carnival. It was wonderful to celebrate with their outgoing team AND to meet the new ambassadors. Two quick weeks later, we all spent time together at the Festival du Voyageur (He Ho!) in Winnipeg, celebrating regional French heritage with great food and music on their beautiful festival grounds. The nighttime candle-lit walking parade along the frozen riverfront while locals cheered from balconies and trains was great.
In March we visited Macon GA for the ‘pinkest party on earth’ – their Cherry Blossom Festival. Mother Nature did an excellent job timing peak blossoms while we were there — though Randy’s highlight was the Allman Brothers “Big House” museum! The final away trip was to Fiesta (Viva!) in San Antonio – where the whole town takes part in the celebration and we had prime seats to parades, band performances, and a great tour along the Old Mission trail.
As spring kicked in, Team Aqua was back to visiting dozens of Minnesota communities. We were all at Rick’s Bike Sale to support the great work Randy and friends do – this year they raised over $64,000 selling nearly 700 bikes! Woot! Then on to many festivals, parades, and coronations. The overwhelming lesson from these visits is how friendly people really are and how they unite behind a common cause to put on kickin’ fun community events and provide leadership opportunities and scholarships for their young people. By July we were all pretty worn, but still excited to celebrate the Minneapolis Aquatennial with all our new friends from across North America. Definitely the most special parade of the year with all those friends waving us home.
As we were winding down from all this excitement, Randy started a new adventure by throwing his name in the hat — one minute before the election! — for President of the Apple Valley Senior Citizens organization. Despite his own dissenting vote, he is now the supreme leader for aging well in our home city. His first few months have been busy running various board meetings and visiting all the clubs: Color and Chat, Line dancing, Mah Jongg, Yoga… the list goes on! In his free time he is still volunteering aplenty: repairing bikes, being a DARTS Snow Angel, and helping (?) the Eastview HS Debate team.
Ann is staying busy with DARTS and looking forward to 2020. She found a little time to put in a garden, though production suffered from all the time away. Last Christmas Eve, her 30th Annual Cookie Bake was the front page story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Variety section! Last week’s Cookie Bake #31 was highly productive – many pounds of butter and flour gave their lives to become very good goodies.
This fall we got back to more normal travel. A fun trip to Jackson Hole and the surrounding Teton mountain range fulfilled our overdue Wyoming random-state pick. We saw lots of wildlife, beautiful fall colors, and a fair amount of snow. Randy rented a Cessna aircraft and flew around the area for stunning views of the back side of the Tetons and up to Yellowstone. For Thanksgiving, we tried something new: a Bailey family vacation at Grandview Lodge – and the “snow” theme continued as we were blasted with 12 inches, slowing the drive home but sure pretty to see.
And that gets you up to speed on some of our 2019 highlights.
We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and many happy times in 2020.
A fun hyperlinked version of this letter is at