Karen and John Persico, 2021 Holiday Letter


Dear Friends and Relatives,

I was going to start off by noting that St. Nick died of Covid this past year, but I decided that this was no way to start off a Christmas/Holiday greeting.  Besides, it is fake news.  Actually, I would like to ignore the pandemic since we are all tired of hearing about Covid, but it is the 1000 lb. gorilla in the room.  Karen and I divide most of our lives up pretty well.  She is artistic and musical.  I am scientific and logical.  I tend to be “all things pessimistic” and Karen tends towards “all things optimistic.”  I love to exercise and be outside.  Karen loves crafts, sewing, knitting, and staying as warm as possible.  Over the thirty or so years that we have been married, it has been a good mix.  A perfect storm of Yin/Yang.  I am not sure which is which, but it works.

echodot2_2048xI am only telling you these things so you will realize that my part of our annual holiday message will be dark and gloomy, and Karen’s will be light and cheerful.  Ok, I am kidding.  Let’s hear the Jolly Good News.  The irony is that this past year has been wonderful in more ways than I can count.  Disregarding the good friends that have passed to their just or unjust deserts, Karen and I have been healthy, moderately wealthy (we are still able to pay our bills) and both of us are somewhat wiser than we were last year.  The main reason for our increase in wisdom has been our Alexa app.  No matter what we want to know, Alexa has the answer.  Well most of the time.

My mother always said that “Every cloud has a silver lining.”  The older I get the more I see the truth in this adage.  Sometimes, it takes time to see it, but it is generally there.  Martin Luther King said that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  These two bits of wisdom help me to keep my sanity and “cheery” disposition when the world seems full of crazy random meaningless events.  I hope you find your path to joy and happiness this holiday season and that it stays with you all of your life.   Over to Karen now.

You really should get my part of the letter first.  It’s darn hard to follow the writer of the family.  If you would like to hear more of John’s thoughts on widely divergent topics, check out his blog at agingcapriciously.com.  I am the only child introvert, so I’ve had fun during the pandemic isolation, moving from one project to another.  Knitting, sewing, needlepoint, cooking, gardening, reading.  There’s always another project waiting.  I retired for good before we left to return to Wisconsin last spring and haven’t been bored yet.  The plan is to put the Wisconsin home up for sale this summer which may involve bringing more stuff down to Arizona.

In September, we managed to fit a trip to France and Spain in between Covid variants.  (See the end of this blog for some of our trip photos.)  We celebrated John’s birthday on the day we arrived in Paris with a 5-course gourmet dinner bus tour.  Our other highlight during our time in Paris was attending the first performance of the Paris opera since the start of the pandemic.  It was a wonderful gala event with amazing music and tables of drinks and appetizers during intermission.  The last 2 ½ weeks of the trip were spent in a B&B outside of Barcelona Spain where we had a great host family.  We saw numerous cathedrals, the famed Sagrada Familia, the Gothic Cathedral, the San Pau Hospital, multiple art museums, the Park Guell, Flamenco dancing, the Montserrat Abbey and Rupit-Pruit.  The last was two old mountain villages in Catalonia.  Between the cappuccino and pastries in Paris and the incredible food of Spain, it’s a good thing we averaged walking about 7 miles a day.

Kevin, Megan, and Susan are still working virtually.  They are very happy with their jobs.  Julie’s brain surgery was a success and I have been having many good conversations with her.  Megan is planning to move back to MN next spring with her virtual job.  Kevin is still working from Cornucopia and Susan is in Bloomington.  All grandchildren (Zachary, Sam, Logan, and Garrick) are leading interesting lives and as you would expect with youth, they are still trying to find meaning and purpose in a crazy world.  We are thankful for the good health they have.  Hopefully it will give them enough time to discover what makes them happy and fulfilled.

We give thanks for the many friends and relatives who have survived the pandemic.  We pray for peace      and that we can find solutions for a divided country and troubled world.

Karen and John Persico

The Opera was at the Palais Garnier.  The building was beautiful and the music was superb.



I had to see Napoleon’s tomb.  Not sure why, but we ended up going to many gravestones while in Paris.  Maybe, I am thinking it will be my time soon.


We went to the Père-Lachaise Cemetery.  A popular tourist destination, the cemetery is the final resting place of many famous artists and writers and musicians who lived and worked Paris.  One of the areas in the cemetery had sculptures for each of the Nazis concentration camps that Jewish people were assigned to.  The sculptures were different for each camp and were very moving.


We went by train from Paris to a town called Cervello just north of Barcelona.  We rented an AirBnb and stayed up in the mountains.  We divided the next three weeks between Cervello, Barcelona, mountain villages and some coastal explorations.  We became friends with the people we were renting from and we went on some excursions together.  They were great people.  Alex and Heidi were their names.

An aerial view of Cervello.


Karen, John, Heidi and Alex in Rupit-Pritt, Catalonia


Crossing the bridge between Rupit and Pruitt.


A famous hospital in Barcelona.  Still used but also part museum.  The name was the Hospital de Sant Pau.


9 PM eating at a bistro on La Rambla in Barcelona.  A main street where you could walk, shop, sightsee and eat for the next year.  We are enjoying beer, mussels, Pina Colada and a seafood dish with calamari.


Another night in Barcelona to see some Flamenco dancers and Spanish guitarists.


A train ride took us up the coast to Girona.  A beautiful Spanish seacoast city.


Tossa de Mar 

We visited many churches and monasteries in Spain.  The art in some was unbelievable but the statuary was equally impressive.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane Fritz
    Dec 24, 2021 @ 15:41:22

    Great Christmas letter from the yin and yang of the Periscos. And what a fabulous trip to Europe. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you both.



  2. Wayne Woodman
    Dec 25, 2021 @ 14:06:31

    Great travelogue, thanks for sharing.



    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Dec 26, 2021 @ 13:29:35

      Thanks Wayne for taking the time to read. Happy New Year to you and family. Live long and prosper. John



  3. Bridget Emery
    Jan 16, 2022 @ 07:00:19

    Very impressive trip John and Karen. Hana will look on in delight. Bridget and Dick



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