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Christmas News Letters Example 11

Marmots; Texans Being Polite at 85 mph.

Christmas News Navigation:

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Best brag

Three short examples

Full-length examples

From me:

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
09 Leukemia
10 Comfort Clothes
11 Marmots and Texas
12 Eagle, Turkey and Emu
12 Accident and Hike

From Alert Readers:
01 In the Foothills
02 Excess
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
2007 Collection
2008 Collection
2009 Collection
2010 Collection
2011 Collection

Erma Bombeck & Martha Stewart
Around the World
Coping with DUI
Defining Pretentious
The 12 McQ's

Other sections on my web site:
Peace Corps
Web Design
Misc. Essays

Happy holidays to you all, a little late this year, as always. Sometimes I think it is futile to try to sum up a year in one and a half pages, (two in the large print version) and sometimes I think I'll run out of things to say before the end of the page. The older I get and the more I ramble the less likely the latter seems.

Kenneth turned [n] at Christmas, his leukemia still in remission. In July he went off chemotherapy He still goes to Lucile Salter Packard children's hospital at Stanford once a month for a blood test and, every fourth time, a spinal tap. Until July it was a blood test and a shot in the thigh once a week. The kid has more holes in him than a second-hand pin cushion. His prognosis is good, but most relapses occur in the year after treatment stops, so Linda is still holding her breath. His immune system is slowly rebuilding, enough so he started going to real school in January; Linda home schooled him for all of Kindergarten and half of the first grade.

[Historical note - these are all old Christmas letters. Kenneth is alive and healthy. He is taller than I am.]

Margaret was [n] in October. She led cheers this year for the Hughson Oilers, a little league football team. Cheer leading has changed since I was a lad. Our high school cheerleaders had a repertoire of ten or twelve standard cheers that the rooting section all knew, and the idea was to win the league's "Sportsmanship" trophy, since the championship usually went to the mill town over the hill. In college the cheerleaders' main purpose was to come up with single entendres, and the rooting section's main joy was shooting water balloons at other band's tuba player during half time. (I was part of a six-man slingshot team once; we used four lengths of surgical tubing and a frisbee.)

Today, at the grade school level at least, cheer leading is a cross between jazz dance and gymnastics. The cheer leading coach has a laminated sheet of paper with "Offense" printed on one side in big letters, and "Defense" on the other so they don't get too far off on the track. There are usually three separate activities at the game. On the field 90-pound halfbacks are bouncing off 85-pound linebackers. In the stands the parents (everyone in the crowd is related, by blood, to a player or cheerleader) talk to each other and keep half an eye on their child. Between the two the cheerleaders do their routines, pretty much independent of, and ignored by, the other two groups.

Heather was [nn] in February. She is [nn] tall. She asked me not to write anything about her since I am a dork and would just embarrass her, AGAIN.

Margaret and I, plus a daughter who will remain anonymous at her request, went backpacking in July. We walked four miles from Burst Rock into Chewing Gum Lake, where I went as a young man. We walked in, swam in the lake, cooked dinner and slept. We spent twenty magic minutes the next morning sitting within 10 yards of a marmot. We walked up to it slowly but openly.

The Indians who used to live here, the Yokuts, called the marmot "small beast with sweet meat". It's a large, chunky squirrel with a small stub of a tail. They have been wary of people and other predators for a long time. This one was either used to people or is going to make a hawk really happy soon; it kept its eyes on us but didn't run. Normally when you see a marmot in the wild you hear a short, sharp whistle and see a brown blur diving into a crack in the rocks 100 to 150 yards away. "In the wild" is relative; at the more popular overlooks in Yosemite they line up for peanuts.

On a tangential note, my mother-in-law asked why anyone would name a lake "Chewing Gum". There are about 12,000 lakes in the Sierra, most of them small. The Indians didn't name them and the early explorers felt naming a lake after a person would give that person airs, so they did the best they could with common nouns and a wry sense of humor. There is a Bear, Duck, and Deer lake in every county.

We spent the week between Christmas and New Year in Houston, visiting relatives and Linda's best friend from Medical school. It is piney woods and oil well country, not sagebrush and longhorns, but a "fur piece" is still a long distance, not a dead fox your grandmother wears around her neck. I enjoyed using "you all", since we Yankees don't have a second person plural.

The thing I noticed most was how polite everyone was on the freeways; most of the drivers signaled to make a lane change, and more often than not if there was a car behind you in the intended lane, he would flash his headlights to say "Go ahead; I'm not fixing to do anything stupid." Since everyone drove fifteen to twenty miles above the speed limit, the politeness wasn't wasted. At the speeds they averaged, being stupid or rude was likely to cause a fireball three or four lanes wide, which would stall the commute. It took me a day or so, then there I was, just another Texan tootling down the interstate at 80, signaling and flashing with the best of them.

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.

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This page updated: June 21, 2014