2013 Holiday Letter (Digital Edition), by Matt Churchill


Luke, Suzanne, Thomas, Matt, and Zac
on a college tour in New England.



December 2013

PO Box 2143
Davidson, NC 28036


Dear friends and family,

‘Tis the season of college applications, and our children are nestled all snug at their laptops, while visions of essay prompts dance in our heads:

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word “Future”?

Suzanne’s Answer: Tense.

But I reject that pessimistic attitude.  When I see the word, “Future,” I think: Digital Age. And in that spirit, I offer this guide to the actual and virtual worlds we’ve explored in the past year.

If you haven’t joined the digital world yet, don’t worry.  I’m just baby-steps ahead of you.  I did manage to join Facebook on December 1, 2012 (thanks to my brother-in law, Scott) but forgot my password within a month and only managed to recover it a few days ago. So I must have missed out on a ton, right?!  Let’s see . . . brother Andy is drinking too much Stag’s Leap ’97 at a restaurant in Amherst; brother Ian has changed his profile picture to a clown face; and brother Bruce is eating lunch at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston but skipping the art.  Hmm – and they say teenagers should clean up their digital footprints!

Fortunately, Suzanne is on the cutting edge of the digital world, writing a blog on high-minded topics like the viral, pop song sensation, “What Does the Fox Say?”  She’s also featured quite prominently (in a hot, polka-dot dress I might add) in Davidson College’s website news release on a digital studies grant.


Kennesia and Zac

But I learn the most useful digital tidbits from the young people in my life – and we’ve had a couple of new additions to our family this year (intriguing, no?).  Kennesia Martin, who became part of our family when she was a student at Davidson, moved in with us this fall as she began her career as a middle school math teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg public school system. Kennesia not only teaches her students algebra and geometry M-F, but also, on holiday occasions, leads them in line dances like the “Stanky Legg.”

One of the highlights of my 2013 was to injure my left knee during an early morning workout.  I went to an orthopedic surgeon for a diagnosis of the dramatic swelling – Did I blow out my ACL or MCL or break my lateral tibia plateau like Kobe Bryant?  No, the surgeon replied, you’ve just been born with a slightly misaligned kneecap.  Yes, folks, it turns out that I was born with a stanky legg.

Flo  Ra

Florence and Rachel practicing
the universal language of laughter.

Our 14-year old Swiss cousin, Florence, who stayed with us for 3 weeks over the summer to improve her English language skills, has no such issue.  A snowboarding whiz, she zipped around on a ripstik and danced along the ropes course at the Charlotte Whitewater Center. Florence was a joy to be around and, along with our 14-year old neighbor, Rachel, proved that uncontrollable giggling is a trait of adolescent girls worldwide.  Suzanne has enjoyed the influx of estrogen into the household, watching classic chick flicks like “Safe Haven” while we were staying in a beach house near where the movie was filmed.

Luke and Thomas, 17, are seniors in high school and have the pleasure of spending their Christmas vacations answering college essay prompts like, “What would you hope to find at the other end of the rainbow?”  Thomas’ response:  “Breakfast.”  While neither has created his own nonprofit nor solved any previously unanswerable mathematical proofs, they did recently collaborate to build a life-sized, gingerbread house, decorated with Christmas lights, fake snow, and math equations, for a school project—an artistic achievement topped only by their performances in the classic film short, “Can We Have Our Ball Back?

Zac, 12, and in 7th grade, is eagerly anticipating his older brothers’ departure for college (he has great plans for converting their bedroom into a rec-room of his own). Always trying to keep up with his brothers’ high standards, he’s written his first screenplay, “Rescuing Ricardo” (running time: 120 seconds). Plot synopsis: mean-spirited Ricardo has a moral awakening when he goes into the twilight forest in pursuit of his neighbor, Bill, the dumpster-diver. Ricardo first encounters the great ninja Ishikushu, whom he vanquishes with his super laser gun, only to face four, highly trained army men with knives, guns, and black belts in karate.  As the army men charge him, he calls for backup on his walkie-talkie, and a helicopter drops two AK-47s, which he uses to mow down his adversaries.  Ricardo rescues Bill and apologizes for his past, rude behavior, pledging, “Now I will be nice to everyone because I do not want this to happen again.”

Now you may be having a similar reaction to this letter, but there are some things in life that are worth repeating, like childhood photographs and visits to Davidson, NC. As much as we love stalking your Facebook pages, we’d rather see you in person.  We’ll have an extra room when Luke & Thomas (hopefully) matriculate in the fall, and the dance floor will always be open.  In fact, if you are lucky, we might even teach you the Stanky Legg.

Happy New Year!

Matt, Suzanne, Thomas, Luke, and Zac

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