The Fergusons send you Season’s Greetings from somewhere near Golden… Hey, that’s just like them there Coors commercials! (That’s where Byron works.) This year we decided to try something a bit unusual for us and send out these swell photo cards. Like the rest of the year, our Christmas card plans weren’t without a few glitches. We can assure you that we had TWO (yes, TWO) fantastic pictures to turn into a Christmas card. After choosing one that seemed the most picturesque, where Toni and Byron both sported lovely smiles, both dogs were facing the camera, and the snowflakes obscuring the view were at a minimum, we took our request the store. Unfortunately, we somehow asked for the wrong picture from the negatives. Aggh. Instead, we got this shot- a little fuzzy, a few two many snowflakes, and some unruly dogs. Perhaps that’s just a bit more like real life.

January started with our first “unfortunately.” Toni’s nephews (the brats as we like to call them) were staying the weekend. We were setting out on Superbowl Sunday in both of our vehicles to return Morgan and Brandon to their mother whom we were to meet in Boulder. Byron and the two nephews were in the Geo Metro. Toni was leading the way in her pickup truck (we were hoping to pickup a new mattress in the truck later). It had been snowy that weekend, but things had cleared up rather well. Or, so we thought. As Byron pulled out of the driveway he did a quick “fishtail” with the Metro. Just for fun, and the convoy took off. About half-way to Boulder on Highway 93, both cars suddenly entered a white out. Snow whipped viciously across the road. The tiny ship (GEO METRO) was tossed… Several seconds later; when Toni looked back in the rearview mirror; Byron, Morgan and Brandon had all vanished. Almost like the Bermuda triangle. The Metro had gone into a side slide and had headed straight for a guard rail on the passenger’s side. All Byron could think to say was- Oh, %$#@. Fortunately, Byron was able to straighten the Metro out and get it somewhat under control on the shoulder of the road. Unfortunately, the car was still sliding forward through icy slush towards a fence and a ditch. Fortunately, the fence was only made of barbwire and did little damage to the Metro. By now, the Metro had slowed to a seemingly safe 10-15 mph. Unfortunately, the barbwire fence didn’t keep the Metro from plunging over the edge of the ditch and towards the bottom. Also unfortunately, the ditch had water in it. Fortunately, the Metro came to a rest in the ditch, ever one was uninjured, and there appeared to be practically no damage to Byron’s happy little car. Unfortunately, Byron’s car now seemed to be FLOATING downstream…By now Toni had turned around to see what was happening. As the car floated on down the stream along the bank of the ditch, Byron had the nephews craw out of the window, saved their semi-precious baseball card collection, and then bailed out himself. The sopping wet trio stood on the bank with a much relieved Toni. All stood waving and singing “Row, row, row your Metro, gently down the stream.” The bright red Metro floated almost a 1/4 of a mile before it finally sunk completely in the ice cold water. For anyone interested in a practical amphibious car, the Geo Metro should be tops on your list. As for Byron and Toni, we now have a 1996 Lumina with airbags and anti-lock brakes. We also purchased the optional coast-guard approved self- inflating life raft option.

In March, we added to our already yuppiish reputation with the addition of another dog; Molly. As you can probably tell from the photo, she’s a St. Bernard, and… Yes, she’s big. Now 11 months old in this picture, she weighs in at 120 pounds. Her official name is Mtn. Home Midnight Kiss (She and her litter mates were born near New Year’s Day.) We’ve taken her to numerous dog shows since she turned 6 months old, and she has done very well in the puppy class. She also has managed to earn 1 point towards an AKC championship, but we don’t expect her to really come into her own until she’s full grown. Until then we just keep feeding her. And feeding her. And then feeding her some more.

In April, Toni was able to transfer to the Hewlett-Packard Englewood office. She had been commuting one-way 75 miles to Loveland. Englewood is only 40 miles one way, but the drive is almost as long. Toni’s loves the new job, though. And it doesn’t seem like as much of a commute since she doesn’t leave the “city.”

Of course, with the addition of the new dog, Toni needed some new wheels. (Or as she says; Molly needs a new car.) Actually, it would have been difficult to use the pickup, or the new Lumina for taking Molly to shows, and that was, after all, what Toni hoped to do. Toni’s truck had been acting up a bit, too, which was frustrating to Toni. Byron thought a practical Dodge Grand Caravan with a TV., stereo, and wet bar would be just about the right thing to get him to actually go to a dog show. Unfortunately, before Byron knew what had hit him, Toni had latched on to the somewhat less practical, definitely more yuppie, Land Rover. We found a deal on a two-year old fully loaded Land Rover, and now we can go up and down mountains in 4 wheel drive comfort.

In July, we found out that Toni was pregnant. We were extremely elated. We’d been trying for sometime. At 10 weeks, however, Toni miscarried and we suffered from a grief almost as hard as the pregnancy news was grand. We had to think that if it had to happen, it was much better that it happen early. We’d prefer to just move on and forget that it happened. Our preference would be to not even mention it here. We only mention it because in our immediate excitement we told a lot of people about our good news, and probably didn’t tell everyone later during our sadness. We appreciate the best wishes and sympathies everyone gave us during that period. Rest assured, we’ll be trying again, and hopefully we’ll have much improved news to report next year.

Around August, Byron was diagnosed with a nodule on his thyroid (its in the neck.). Believe it or not, there was actually a fair amount of humor involved in what was stressful only because of its unknown nature. There was a needle biopsy. The doc says, “Hey, the anesthetic just hurts worse than the procedure, lets just do without.” They fail to mention that they intend to put more than just a single hole in your neck. They also fail to mention that regardless of the results they are going to recommend surgery. (Then why bother with sticking me! Ow!) They don’t tell you enough at the hospital either. After surgery, Byron manhandled the IV rack, and oxygen tubes over to the bathroom to get a drink of water. About 10 minutes after the hobble back to the hospital bed, a nurse comes in. She says, “You shouldn’t get up for awhile, here’s some water, etc.” Okey, Dokey. Everything went a-ok, though, and I’m back to full speed.

The rest of the year… Well, it was a mix of good and bad… Toni’s grandparents on her father’s side passed away. They will be sorely missed. They were both spirited folk with great stories and a sparkle in their eye. Byron continues to perfect (OK, make mildly better) his magic with an occasional performance here and there.

And Byron actually got a leave of absence from work this year to work on his Christmas light display on the house. (Just kidding.) We plan on doing a lot of superstitious stuff on New Year’s Eve. If 1997 even vaguely starts off like 1996, we may start celebrating our New Year according to the Chinese calendar. Hope your year is a good one. Happy Holidays! Byron & Toni Ferguson