Annie and Rob Nichols are our adopted family. They issued Dave informal “adoption papers” for Christmas in about 1993, granting him “full rights” as a member of the Nichols clan. Since that time forward, they’ve treated him as if he were their own flesh and blood.
When I turned up at their home in 1996, Ann and Rob extended full benefits to me as well. When Dave and I married in 2001, Annie, Rob, and Annie’s son Jay, were among the eight members of our bridal party.
For years, Dave and I spent Christmas Day at their home in Allen, Maryland — a place we all lovingly refer to as “the clubhouse.” The place has stayed the same, though the actual house changed. (Home, we say here in the States, is where the heart is. “Americans” are a traveling bunch, and home means something different to us than it does to most Europeans.)
Rob and I designed a new clubhouse together in 2000 (it’s the one pictured here). Our design was based on the original cottage clubhouse, but the new house is much larger and more spacious. That was necessary because the house is nearly always full of friends and relatives. We all spent one Christmas in a rental house, in the period when the old clubhouse had been sold and the new clubhouse was under construction.
Yesterday, Dave and I spent a quite day with Annie and Ron, ushering in the New Year with a feast of delicious, Shannon-friendly foods.
We had also visited Annie and Rob earlier during the break on a day when the house was full of people….
The Christmas tree at Ann and Rob’s is always decorated with items of significance from the past year. This year’s included a camera ornament for Annie’s granddaughter (to commemorate her success in the realm of photography) and photos of new family/friends.