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October 27, 2020

By Wesley and Joan Ummel,, Morrilton, Arkansas

Thank you Lauren and whoever else at our Conference Office is responsible for resurrecting our ability to contact friends! Especially in the midst of the COVID and political and United Methodist storms. We have a triple-header going on.

Joan and I are hunkered down in our home near Morrilton, Arkansas. For the first time in our 57 years together, we are living in the country, about a mile from Interstate 40 and the small river town and county seat of Conway County. The city of Conway and Hendrix College are 15 miles or so down Interstate 40 and in Faulkner County. We are both healthy at age 78. Our son Jim lives on the other side of the Arkansas River. Our daughter Heather and Jim graduated from Hendrix, and Jim decided to settle in the area 25 years ago. It is a scenic area, with many hiking and camping areas nearby. 

Since the Coronavirus arrival we have stayed close to home. We had a good-sized vegetable garden that we shared with friends, the deer and the critters. The home has a 3.5 acre yard that keeps us busy. With only three trees in the yard when we arrived in 2017, we planted about 75 trees obtained as seedlings from the Arkansas Forestry Commission in 2018 and 2019. Our intention was to plant them and let them take care of themselves. We were pleasantly surprised with their affinity to our yard!  Bald Cypress, poplars and willows are now 10-20 feet in height, and the oaks and other hardwoods are also thriving.

Hopefully with a vaccine's arrival in the following months we will be able to safely get back on the road and visit Wes' sister in Virginia Beach and our daughter and her husband, Alexander, and our two grandsons in Fargo. And numerous cousins in Indiana, Michigan and Colorado. We miss them all. Our children are encouraging us to use the mysteries of Zoom and Skype. But hugs and face-to-face are the best.   

We would appreciate information on the death of our friend Keith Berry. Wes would like to speak with family members or be directed to information on the Conference website. Be Safe!

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