It's March 13, 1996: my mother's birthday.

Eleanor Searls (I hope she will forgive me to say) has now achieved the age of 83 years, and has done so with enormous love, grace, humor and style. We should all be so lucky to have mothers as good as this one.

As always, Mom is in great health and spirits, which are lifted by my sister Janet (the link is to her portrait in Navy uniform, at something less than the full Commander's rank by which she retired last year), who is down from D.C. to visit Mom's home in Graham, N.C. ("It's not Graham that's pronounced 'grim,' it's grim that's pronounced "graham.")

The big news today is that we have both heard from Kerm Halden, a second cousin of Mom's on her father's (Oman) side. This contact has enlarged the scope of the family to include no less than 420 additional souls, all decended from Lars Andersson and Maja Lisa Andersdottor, whose progeny emigrated from the parish of Bralanda, in Dalsland, Sweden, in the 1800s. In the Old Country, this family traces itself back to 1567. Impressive.

Our own little branch of the Oman clan (until now the "lost" Omans, from the perspective of those 420 folks) is trying to put a family reunion together. The modest page we have devoted to this is here. Maybe we'll hook up with that larger crowd.

Anyway, that's today's news. Again, happy birthday, Mom!