Is it really a decade since we were first brought together? I have so many memories, it seems more than a lifetime ago, even if our total actual time together was too-few months. And yet the memories are so fresh and vibrant, I could believe it was actually yesterday that our different skills and talents were assembled and collectively utilized for the first time.
We more than survived: even the near-disasters prepared us for situations we would not have been able to overcome without the prior experience of those near-disasters. We each learned how even an intense, individual fear could be made to disappear when the rest of the team jumps in to help. We didn't just complement each other; together, we were reinforced, even when we are now apart. Indeed, much more than a small amount of what we accomplished and our subsequent efforts, together or individually, can be directly attributed to the strengths we acquired as a team and from our team.
Over the years, in a way, you've been a curse to some of my co-workers (and even to me) from time-to-time. I hold you in such a high regard that others' (let alone my) abilities are rated using yours as guide and rule. The best, sincerest compliment: when a group has that rare sense of family that we achieved so easily, so enduringly, so long ago.
No wonder I think of you often, all the more so during the Christmas season: this is a time of year with the best opportunities to contemplate the evidence, through you, of God's handiwork; to consider what is truly possible from active understanding, cooperation, and teamwork; and to overcome the plate tectonics that otherwise allow friends and acquaintances to drift away. I consider myself very fortunate to have spent time with you, and I regret that our efforts together are not ongoing so that the effects are a little more tangible than fresh, vibrant memories and an enduring sense of family.
Yours... and Missing You,
Vernon R.J. Schmid
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Last Updated: 2005-01-23.
The above is dedicated (with more than many thanks) to Elaine Winkelaar (Elaine M. Winkelaar, Elaine Marion Winkelaar), Elizabeth Fodor, and Karen Wycott (Karen L. Wycott, Karen Lynn Wycott, now Karen Shellow).