The Christmas Spirit

These last couple weeks we’ve really been enjoying the Florida weather, longer days, and tropical scenery.  However, all of these same elements make it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit.  Christmas lights on a palm tree just don’t have the same nostalgic feeling as the snow, pine trees, and fires on a cold day that we are so use to experiencing in New York.  Fortunately we have been able to experience this vicariously through photos sent from back home.  A little while back, the town of Pultneyville went Christmas caroling around town; great way to start the Christmas season!  We were very sorry to have missed out but enjoyed looking through the pictures.

The Pultneyville Landing (Grill)

Carolers in front of our house in Pultneyville

We hit the road once again, this time bound for New Orleans.  We had been staying at Aaron’s place for the last few days and it was extremely difficult to say goodbye to Aaron, Elisa, Kayla, and Ashlyn.  We really miss being with you guys and we hope you catch up with us again soon!  We had a great lunch with Aaron before getting back on the road.  Afterward, we road off in style with our newly received “Carolina’s Fight for Life” t-shirt’s.  Everyone needs one of these!  Check out Carolina’s story under my CCS Friends link, or better yet look her up on Facebook at Carolina’s Fight.

Carolina's Fight for Life

We stopped for the night in Pensacola, FL just a few hours from our destination of New Orleans.  We’re looking forward to meeting up with cousin Katie, who has the insider’s perspective of NOLA, tomorrow afternoon.  Tonight Shannon and I wound down on the pullout couch of the hotel with a beer and glass of boxed wine; riding with class!

Hotel Pullout Couch

Day 19


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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10 Responses to The Christmas Spirit

  1. Mike says:

    Pretty soon the family will be enjoying some shrimp gumbo! It’ll be interesting to hear how things look down there. I’ve heard that it’s still a mess from Katrina in certain areas.
    Because there are a couple big pole vault clubs down in Arkansas (apparently quite north of where you’re going as I check a map–I’m not too good at geography), I’ve decided to give you a mission–find something cool athletic-wise. A huge HS football stadium, a pole vault club, home of Bear Bryant in Alabama, the Dome in New Orleans, Brett Farve’s hometown in Mississippi, or the world’s most frequently “flashed” town for Mardi Gras beads. Ok, so public nudity isn’t a sport, but it’s still funny and cool. How about going Griswald and finding the world’s largest ball of yarn? (great plug to watch National Lampoon’s Vacation!!!)
    I’ve just decided that with all the eating on this trip, you need to at least, LOOK at something athletic. You have your assignment…

    • Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

      After watching this I am reminded of the great memories of all of us cousins, Ryan, Aaron, Bret, Jeff, Mike, and I joining at one of our parents houses on Christmas Eve and year after year watching this movie that never seemed to get old. Opening presents from Grandma and Grandpa and lots of holiday cheer! This movie will never get old for me. Bret I wish we were seeing you on Christmas Eve…. Have fun in NOLA!

  2. Mike says:

    I never noticed SANTA in the back of the pic with the carolers at your house in Pultneyville. Very cool. I’ll try to send you some pix of the snow, ice and what you’re missing.
    PS-sorry to flood your blog with comments. This is what happens when Karmen has a track meet and I’m up at 3:30am because I can’t sleep and I get bored. Perhaps a top 10 list of things I do in the wheeee hours of the morning while everyone is sleeping.
    10. Use the bathroom–old man disease–peeing in the middle of the night
    9. Get a huge glass of water
    8. Turn off Matthew’s night light (because at this point in the night, the little “night-stalker” has already found his way into bed with his mom.
    7. Do laundry
    6. Pace quietly around the house thinking about coaching pole vault
    5. Shovel the driveway if needed (and think about coaching pole vault)
    4. Stretch and do some exercises (though 20 push ups and sit ups are barely enough to qualify as working out)
    3. Watch you-tube music videos of When in Rome’s “The Promise”, Corey Hart’s “Never Surrender” and Icehouse’s “Electric Blue” over and over again while I play solitaire and surf the web (I’ll spare anyone reading this by not posting links)
    2. Use the bathroom again because of the large glass of water I just drank–old man, small bladder
    1. Check out the Brett Hoefen blog and think about how much I miss my baby cousin.

  3. Aaron says:

    There’s something very special about Christmas in Florida! We can go all out Griswald with the lights, because we can do it in our t-shirts and shorts! So, bring out the twinkling flamingos and Bermuda Santas and decorate with a tall Mojito! Hold on, I’ll wait a minute for Mike to go pee after mentioning another glass of liquid!

    A NOLA must-do: make sure to to hit Cafe Du Monde for a plate of Beignets piled high with powdered sugar and a cup of cafe au late (Bret, stick to hot coca!). This must be done in the morning though!

    Also, make sure to walk through the French Quarter at night! Wow, Friday night is perfect! It is a much different place when the sun goes down!!! Katie has the perfect local bar. What was it Katie, the “Map Room”? It’s been a while, so the exact name escapes me…

    I look forward to reading about your NOLA experience tomorrow morning! Elisa and I have always listed it as one of our top destinations!


  4. Phil says:

    Have fun in New Orleans. There is so much great food. Beignets are great, but don’t forget to try Bananas Foster, Creole, Jumbalaya, Gumbo, Po Boys, etc. Man, my mouth is watering just thinking about the food…

    Safe travels,

  5. Debbie says:

    Good morning Road Warriors!

    “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez”!!! That’s good ole French down in Nawlins and it means “Let the Good Times Roll!” –the official New Orleans mantra and so appropriate since you’re rolling into town on your bikes. I’ve been to New Orleans four times now –twice before Katrina and twice afterwards. The French Quarter wasn’t too horribly affected by Katrina and yes–eat gumbo, jambalaya and if you get to Brennan’s, try the Bananas Foster.

    If you’re feeling REALLY REALLY up for it–go into one of the Voodoo shops in the quarter and ask for a Medicine Woman to “cleanse you”. Its a bit freaky, a lot spooky and a heck of a lot of fun. And I want pics of Shannon and you walking the Quarter at night (DO walk down Pirate’s alley) with a ton of beads around your neck. If you decide to drink (heh, heh)–drink either a Hurricane or a Hand Grenade. But be prepared because they make those drinks STRONG.

    I’m so amazingly happy that you guys got to New Orleans–I remember when I wanted to take Shannon with me a few years ago and she said “No, I want to experience New Orleans with Bret”.

    The love that you have for one another–is one of those “exception” tales you hear about. Boy meets girl–they fall in love–and it’s the real thing. Through triumph, through heartache, through fights and loving embraces and reconciliations, the love endures. I am so happy that my little sister found a man who is worthy of her love (and if you know me–Shannon is the sunshine of my life)–and nothing is too good for her. But throughout all these years–she speaks of happiness and joy and a deep felt love she feels for her Bretly.

    As you continue on with your journey, hold on to that love and respect you have for one another and may it continue to be a blessing to you both.

    Because my sister loves you soo much Bret–so do I–as do our entire family who is with you in spirit and prayers.

    So–please have a Hurricane on me 🙂 Toast towards North Carolina on Sunday as the Robertson clan gathers for our annual Christmas party and know there are some Tar Heels who love you both sooo much!

    Travel safely! And as always–you carry my heart with you with every mile you cross.


  6. Aunt Bo says:

    Thinking about you in the Big EASY. You gotta love New Orleans. No place like it. can’t wait to hear where Katie takes you..we have so many favorites there. We try to go to new places each time we visit.

  7. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Hi Bret and Shan, Bets and Jim,

    We’re a little bit behind in responding to your last 3 posts so will try to get caught up.
    Just because we haven’t written in a few days doesn’t mean we’re not thinking of you – you are in our thoughts and hearts constantly from the time we wake up in the morning until the lights go out at night.

    We’re so glad you enrolled in the clinical trial at DF and hope it works out to start sooner than Jan.3. We understand there is still so much to learn about CCS and this is experimental but it’s certainly worth trying and -miracles can happen -believe in that. You know we will be right there with you in spirit and sending our love and prayers for that miracle.

    How very special that you were able to meet up with Mike Gratz’s parents and the DeHonds. The bonds of friendship and family that you have formed with them and their kids as well as with Carol Burke, must fortify you with strength. Love you all in your “Carolina’s Fight for Life” t-shirts! Such a good looking bunch!

    So now you’re in New Orleans and we’re sure Katie will be an excellent tour guide! We’ve never been there, but it is definitely in my top 10 places to visit wish list. One of my former co-workers’ sons went to law school there and she shared great stories of their visits – from jazz in the streets, the great people, great cajun food, jambalaya and of course, all the beads! For now, we’ll have to experience the ambiance of the city, the French Quarter, the magnificent architecture and all that great food through your desciptions and pictures – so ENJOY!!!!!! I love Mike’s assignment for you, Bret – and he did offer several options! 🙂

    Watching the trailer of “National Lampoon’s Vacation” reminded me too of all the Christmas Eves. that you kids watched “Christmas Vacation” in entirety – taking breaks to eat dinner because we parents made you and then sometimes even finishing watching after presents. One Christmas Eve. at our house I remember you all being lined up on the stairs watching the movie. As you all got older and could practically recite every line from the movie verbatum, sometimes the excitement wained a bit but you still remained faithful to the tradition. Seems to me a little encouragement from Ryan may also have played into that! 🙂

    You entitled this post “Christmas Spirit” and I reflected on that while reading. The words LOVE, HOPE, PEACE came to mind. All the “love” that surrounds you in this journey. It was so moving to see all your neighbors and the townspeople from Pultneyville standing by your home caroling. And of course, all the love of family, friends and those who have responded to your blog. A constant outpouring of love and support for you and Shannon. Secondly, how honestly and lovingly you have shared your story, touching so many lives along the way and teaching us all so much. “Hope” that we all carry in our hearts for you and now also for your CCS friends. “Peace” that symbolizes your contentment with your life and making everyday your best day. What perfect examples of “Christmas spirit”.

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