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Faithful readers who are mathematically inclined will have noticed that our stay in North Dakota was for an incredible 10 weeks. We arrived on October 24 and left on January 5. That is a very long time to have a pair of house guests. And yet, such was the level of hospitality offered by sister Zona and brother-in-law Mike that we were never made to feel that we were anything less than 100% welcome. Zona and I both enjoy attacking crossword puzzles, and so very shortly after our arrival we doubled her newspaper subscription so that we could both indulge our weakness. The driveway is very long, and the paper box is of course at the far end out at the road. For most of our stay, the weather was unusually snowy and cold. And yet, every morning when we arose we would find that Zona -- who gets up extra early and, with Mom in tow, drives across town to a women's gym for a workout before picking up her grandkids for a daylong "baby" sit -- had retrieved our copy of the paper and as she left had moved their third vehicle into the heated garage so that it would be toasty for us. She went out of her way to keep the refrigerator filled to the overflowing with fruits, knowing that we like a little bit of cereal with our fruit in the morning. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and bananas. Not serially stocked, mind you, but all at any given time. In so many ways, from the foods she stocked and prepared to the transportation provided to the warmth she showed throughout, we felt welcome. Ditto for Mike, who was outspoken in his expressions of -- and tireless in his gestures of -- hospitality.
We are also so grateful for being able to spend such an extended time with Mom. Ninety-one years young, but still sharp as a tack, still exhibiting a remarkable zest for living, still impressing all who know her with her buoyant personality, and still a vicious winner at progressive rummy.
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