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This website is now published on my mobileme account. Any opinions expressed, however, are totally my responsibility.

The original website was published through the courtesy of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Jim Andris, Sept. 17, 2003.

Christmas 79

Dear Friends:

What a year this has been for me! It's been an intensly spiritual year. I started out the year with classes in the School of Metaphysics. In a chain of events too complicated to explain in a letter, I came to see clearly that I should be baptized (which I never have been) in and join the Metropolitan Community Church. And I was baptized at a beautiful Easter Sunday sunrise service in Forest Park. I have since then become more active in the church, and even was honored by being elected to the Board of Directors recently.

But still more spiritual reality rained down upon me. I have been blessed with six new songs of a spiritual nature. Typically, I'll awaken and open the Bible in the night, and the passage my eyes fall on will be transformed into a song. The last time I turned to the 23rd Psalm by chance and set it to music.

I have also been studying the lessons of the Self-Realization Fellowship, a spritual organization founded by an Indian guru whose mission was to united the teachings of East and West. We have meditation group once a week with chanting, reading from the Baghavad-Gita, and meditation. I see no conflict between this and my Christianity; in fact, the founder of SRF, claims there is universal truth in all great religions.

At work, I continue to enjoy my job, and consider myself lucky to have a position in these harder times for higher eductation. I was promoted to Associate Professor (finally) this spring. I enjoy my teaching and occasionally supervise stdent teachers for secondary education. I gave a well-received paper in Chicago this fall and hope to write a couple more next year.

My travels this year were wonderful, although this is probably he end of my wanderings for a while (I will tell you why next year.) I went to LA during spring break to visit my brother and family and also travelled with friend Virginia to visite friend Betty. I met them last summer when John and I toured Europe.

Oh! Saw Mollie and Mary Gubanc, friends from Cleveland days, this summer. Such natural good times! Wish I could share them with you.

My summer travels were fantastic. First I visited old friends John and Michelle Keiter in Oregon. We stayed at their mountain cabin beside the White Salmon River at the foot of Mt. Adams for a while. Fishin', blackberry pickin' (I got sick on 'em), poker playin'. Then I went to San Francisco where I had my suitcase stolen, but enjoyed the city for a week.

A few odds and ends. I have a radio show with a friend on KADI "The Rock of St. Louis" called Gaytalk. The station has received a favorable response and has asked us to continue indefinitely. (STAR!)

Finally, I spent ten days in LA, saw brother Tom and sister-in-law Dee and the twins, Heidi and Adam (who look just like mom and dad, respectively), old friend Myra Hausmann Kendall, with new friend Walter, who has a ranch in Topanga Canyon and showed me the city in style. Wish you could have seen us whirling our way through the elegant and decadent parts of the city. Sagittarius—the decadent sign!

Speaking of Sag's, saw my old friend Tom while in Frisco. Sunset at Land's End, dinner at Sausalito, disco at Oil Can harry's and to the plane on time!

But, friends, all the traveling the last four years has let me see that ol' St. Louis is home. And most of my friends, who don't get mentioned in Christmas letters, are right here. Happiness is the arch, ragtime, the Central West End, Martin's disco, and me.

But the best I can do is to wish you a Merry Christmas (may you find Jesus Christ in your heart). and know that I do think of each and every one of you. And often.

Jim Andris