Our FamilyEaster Letter For 2002!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Happy Easter Greetings from Texas.

As the pace changes for a week--Spring Break--I linger at dusk in my Suburban (Black Beauty) listening to "A Prairie Home Companion" on NPR (National Public Radio). I'm listening in on life at Lake Woebegone, Minnesota, where the women are 'strong,' the men are 'good looking,' and all the children are 'above average.' :o)

The Lutheran Church basement is full of women doting over the new baby Madeline and strategically avoiding the man with the pitiful barking-dog winter cough. He is there looking for ingredients for his grandma's homemade goose grease, mustard, and ginger juice plaster that cures everything from arthritis to athlete's foot. I am laughing out loud and it feels good!

As the first star appears, the softening sunset hues are etched with tree sculptures, their budding branches stretching to new heights… On a "regular day" I'd have missed luxuriating in the lingering, but why should this be a regular day? Why should any day be "regular" any more?


Today marks the six-month anniversary of September 11 and New York turns on beams of light from the unforgettable site of great darkness… For us, Easter commemorates the Empty Tomb-- our Beam of Light illuminating the world beyond Calvary's Unforgettable site of great darkness…


Jon's "regular" day begins in the dark having coffee and quiet time with his arm around his wife before she leaves about 7:00 am for the 30-minute drive to Northside Elem. in Texas City. Soon the four boys are up hustling to get the 3 youngest breakfast, shoes, backpacks, and 'out the door' for school. Meanwhile editors and the secretary arrive for their studio duties.

The internet web sites www.videotransfer.com and www.avchouston.com generate calls and orders from all over the planet--Alaska, Hawaii, Connecticut, Michigan, Guam, London, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Moscow, South America… We should keep one of those world maps with pushpins for locations served! Little did we know when VideoComm Technologies International, Inc. was founded that it would truly become "international."

After 18 years in corporate life with Amoco, now BP (British Petroleum), Jon loves being an entrepreneur and independent businessman. His three companies dovetail nicely with each other; he has outstanding people to work with, and they thrive on the challenge of providing quality video production services and equipment rentals locally and now internationally.

Aaron works for AVC (Audio Visual Center) as the AV tech and 'tote-boy.' He runs errands, makes deliveries, sets up equipment all over the Houston area, and subsequently retrieves it… His quick wit is still active and he's good with and enjoys cooking--especially breakfasts and steaks. (We are thankful he is 20 and looking for a roommate and an apartment.)

Philip, Tim, and Ben are "all boy" and tons of fun. Mom devoted a bunch of woman hours this spring break to transforming the little boys' room. This was where Keepsake Video began 21 years ago until we 'added on' in 1989 and it became the adorable rocking horse nursery for baby Philip. Now it's the cool blue, re-organized place of serenity (and hoopla) for Tim and Ben.

Tim is 8 and in second grade. Recently, he saw the sign for the Babies-R-Us store and abruptly announced, "Let's go get one! That one is so cuddly and adorable--how 'bout that one?" Imagine his disappointment to find out you can't buy babies there. Currently his new smile sports a space between his incoming permanent teeth--just like his mommy! He's a video game fiend and loves his church activities and the ice cream truck.

Benjamin is 5 and in kindergarten. The last time he went to the barbershop, he informed his dad and the barber to leave that ponytail in the back--he wants to be just like George Washington. We've noticed a slight wiggle to his bottom central incisors and Mommy has a slight twinge-- "last one for the tooth fairy" impending… He loves playing with the neighborhood kids--especially Darrell across the street.

Ben and Tim are taking a U of H sponsored Viking art class after school and are currently constructing long boats in clay. Last fall, we took in the Viking exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Our Viking boys look very authentic with their souvenir 'horned hats' and plastic swords drawn. (View them at: www.jonaldrich.com)

Philip has just finished basketball season, more one of "character development" than victory celebrations. He is 12 and in sixth grade at Creekside Intermediate School, where his A's are in PE and math. He rides the bus for the first time and also joined orchestra playing the cello. (Granny Anna, our violinist, would have loved it!) In the fall, an accident in PE broke off his top two permanent teeth. Thank goodness for improved dental technology! Philip enjoys church, skateboarding and being with friends.

Sharon, in addition to managing the home front and teaching kindergarten in Texas City, provides filing services for the businesses and sings in church choir at Grace Community Church. Easter will bring five services this year, Good Friday evening, Saturday night, and three on Sunday morning. Grace (www.gracecchouston.org) is building a new sanctuary and has services televised in various cities around the country. Sharon enjoys keeping in touch with loved ones via e-mail at sharon@keepsake-video.com

Spending time with the boys, especially cheering their ball games is fun, as is being Grandma to Kayla Marie, who will be a 'big sister' in September. :o) Kayla spent six weeks last summer in Texas while both her home and preschool were being renovated. She enjoyed playing with the girls in our neighborhood and loved to set up her own 'office' in Grandma Sharon's "Outback," (that is what we call the multipurpose room in the back of our house). Uncle Aaron flew with her back to Chicago Labor Day weekend. (Our son-in-law Adam, an avid hunter and bowler, is a pipe fitter currently home recuperating from back surgery for a herniated disc. Rachel is the secretary for a law firm and is so excited about the new baby. Kayla starts kindergarten in the fall.)

You can only imagine the high activity level our business/family life generates. We 'figured out' that in 26+ years, the two of us had never had more than an overnighter away alone without family/kids. So, on Labor Day weekend, we arranged a get-away at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. (Jon was there already for the Wedding and Event Videographers' Convention. Sharon flew out to meet him.) A highlight of that trip was the magnificent helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, landing at the canyon floor, having lunch on a boat on the Colorado River. On the return flight to Houston, I thought what a privileged country we live in to be able to travel so easily and safely to such a wonderful destination…

Since then, we've taken two more trips to Las Vegas--New Year's week and Martin Luther King weekend. Each time we rented a car and took in area sights--Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Valley of Fire State Park, Zion National Park, and Red Rock Canyon. Breathtaking scenery, delicious food including the Ethyl M chocolate factory tour and the Aladdin Spice Market Buffet, astonishing hotel architecture, the Bellagio Fountains, world-class entertainment…and an uninterrupted conversation with eye contact! Who could ask for anything more?

In between the 'regular' days, some highlights of 2001 included:

· Jon and Philip's trip to Washington, DC for spring break 2001

· Surviving Houston's major June disaster--Tropical Storm Allison. Our street had water so high even the Suburbans couldn't get home! The same week, Sharon's car was run into… more uff da!

· Sharon and the kids drove home to Iowa in July. Aunt Sandy took us to the hands-on children's science museum in Des Moines; the cousins got reacquainted in Iowa City with Anne and Dan; visiting Uncle Gary's farm in Spring Grove, Grandma Irene and Uncle Don in Waukon. We then headed to Chicago to see Rachel, Adam, Kayla, Connie, Marilyn, Charles, (back from France for their daughter's wedding) cousin Carlito, and son Renn … Steve and Terri Setliff back from Australia. (Kayla joined us for the ride back to Texas. I was so thankful for McDonald's-- playgrounds, chicken nuggets, and a GOOD cup of coffee! But the 4 really were good travelers.)

· We reconnected with friends Gary and Kathy Hanover from our Iowa State days who now pastor a church near St. Louis.

· Jon went to Maine with his siblings in August for lighthouses, lobster and his niece Astrid's wedding.

· Renewing our friendship with Russell and Belinda Lorfing, who have moved back to the Houston area from Dallas. He and Jon LOVE to talk business and laugh--you need someone to laugh with!

· Thanksgiving weekend, we took the little boys to South Texas where Rosario and Jabi, our friends who sold us AVC and then moved to Brownsville, took us to South Padre Island and across the Rio Grande to Matamoros, Mexico. We even got to pick citrus right from the tree! The grapefruit and oranges are so fine in the Valley.

· Christmas Day we drove to Austin to see where Jon's sister Connie and Don are building a house. They plan to retire and move there from Chicago. It will be fun to have more family members in Texas.

"Rejoice in the Lord always... The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things... and the God of peace shall be with you." Philippians 4:8,9

"Guarded by the peace of Christ!" 
He is risen indeed.
Happy Easter!
Not your "regular" kind of day!