Christmas News Navigation:
Three short examples
01 A practical joke
02 My grandparents die
03 English Tour
04 Barn swallows
05 Buying hubcaps
06 Group photos
07 Mr. Science
08 Backpacking, Middle English
10 Comfort Clothes
11 Marmots and Texas
12 Eagle, Turkey and Emu
12 Accident and Hike
From Alert Readers:
01 In the Foothills
03 Things unsaid
04 11 Kids
05 Multiple Choice
06 . . . bit my ear
07 Facts and Stats
08 Neiheisel Review
09 Family and Horses
10 Sing a Song
11 The Professional
Erma Bombeck & Martha Stewart
Around the World
Coping with DUI
The 12 McQ's
Other sections on my web site:
Another year gone by; our two black labs, Boundless Enthusiasm and Wild Abandon, are getting white around the muzzle. So am I, for that matter; the hairs in my winter beard that used to come in red are now grey. I used to show Heather the red ones and tell her they came from my Grandfather Pack, but no longer. It is still fun to tell visitors their children can play with Boundless Enthusiasm.
Last January Heather, Margaret and I went to the auto yard to buy a set of hubcaps for Linda. The kids had never seen one, and I thought the trip would be educational. We went into the "office" - they had never seen a dirt floored shed being used in commerce - and found we were second in line. First up were a group who spoke to Bill, the desk man, in Spanish, holding up a generator. Bill answered in high- school Spanish; the kids saw a second language could be useful.
Bill quoted a price, haggled a bit and called Doug, the yard man. Doug went out through the back door, we heard some whanging and some words, and back he came, a splash of bright red blood from a skinned knuckle on one hand and a replacement generator in the other. While this was going on they watched a fellow drinking whiskey and soda the easy way - a swig from a pint bottle of Jim Beam and a swig from a can of Seven-up. We got our hubcaps for 1/12th the price of new ones from the dealer, and the kids learned that not everybody goes to work in a white shirt.
In May Heather and I went camping with more than a thousand other Brownies and adults. I'd camped out in large numbers before - there were three thousand men on one fire when I worked for the Forest Service in college - but had never seen so many teddy bears at once. Our troop of twelve Brownies and three leaders got through the weekend without anyone needing calamine lotion or stitches, so we judged it a resounding success.
This summer we went to Iowa and Rochester. It was the first time Heather, Margaret and I had been east in the summer. We experienced some of the things we had only read about in story books, things so common to other people they are a cliche, but which we had never seen, felt or heard; the freshness after a midsummer thunderstorm, red barns and silos, miles of corn, groundhogs. We got to say "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" in both places.
Heather learned to ride a two-wheeler in Rochester; it was the high point of her trip. I helped by holding the bike up and running alongside until she got going, remembering the feeling of speed and independence. Reading chapter books and riding a bike are the first real skills anyone consciously masters, I guess; you don't remember learning to talk or walk. One morning when we were in the fifth grade my twin brother and I rode our bikes six miles to school, instead of taking the bus, and felt we were as grown up as we were going to get until we started shaving.
The two girls were fascinated by basements. We did a lot of going to see Linda's old friends and relatives, and at every house the girls asked if there was a basement; there was, and so they asked to see it, and spent many a happy half hour inspecting laundry rooms and ping pong tables, much to the amusement of the OF's and R's, who thought basements to be pretty ordinary. We don't have basements in California, I kept explaining; we're blase about earthquakes and movie stars, instead.
Story City, Iowa, where my brother Bruce lives, is everything you expect from the Midwest; a small green town with large trees, white clapboard houses, grain elevators, front porches, friendly people.
While we were there a front moved in from Canada, the thunderheads rolled up, the sky got so dark the street lights came on and the night hawks came out, the temperature dropped 30 degrees in as many minutes, and then it opened up and poured, complete with thunder and lightning, for an hour.
Linda continues with her horses. She has been taking three-day event lessons for almost a year now. She entered her first show last June and probably would have done well if Kenneth hadn't gotten the flu, which kept her home.
Heather continues with her piano, ballet and reading. Last November she, Margaret, two of their friends and I were determined to have Chinese food after church. We went to four restaurants, looking for one that was open for lunch and would take a check or credit card, with mounting frustration. At the fourth place I left them in the car, dashed in, saw a sign "NO CHECKS ACCEPTED", asked if they would take a credit card; the owner said he'd take a check with my credit card.
Once we were all inside and seated, Heather asked how we were going to pay. I told her by check. She asked how the man got his sign printed so quickly. I asked which sign. "That one" she said, "'No checks except Ted'"
Margaret continues with her pre-ballet, pre-piano and reading; she can read "M"'s, so I usually add a row of them when I send her a postcard.
Kenneth has learned to walk and is as happy and independent as you can be with eight teeth and a nine-inch inseam.
That's about it; hope this finds you in good health and spirits.
This is one page of over four dozen devoted to Christmas news letters. The main Christmas News Letters page has links to more examples, plus some general guidelines and specific suggestions for writing Christmas news letters. If you have an example, either good or bad, that you'd like to share with the rest of the world, send it to me and I'll add it to these pages.