Christmastime 1990

Dear Christmas Spirits,

Yes, Virginia, another year and we’re still in Bedford. The Craton household has endured yet an additional twelve months north of the Mason-Dixon, despite John’s wishes to the contrary. This sojourn has not inclined our hero to become assimilated into Yankeefied culture, however, as he dutifully maintains his sense of Southern values — including the value of the form Christmas letter. Though such epistles are held in great disdain by Ann Landers, one must remember that Ann is, after all, just a Yankee.

The Cratons are happy to report that all offspring are currently doing well and are showing continuing evidence of having inherited their father’s genius, gentility, and good looks, as well as their mother’s temper. Benjamin started first grade this year and is nurturing his affections for the fairer sex by continually chasing and shooting at all such specimens. His current heartthrob appears to be a young lass named Jessica, with whom he enjoys sharing Shelley, Wordsworth, Keats, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, though not necessarily in that order.

Young Jon began his first year of preschool this fall and, like Ben, seems to enjoy the halls of academe. His favorite activity is melting crayons with a hot iron. He has created some wonderful works of art as well as a considerable amount of fear amongst his teachers while wielding the tools of his craft. His current ambition of becoming a professional cheerleader when he grows up has his mother somewhat nonplussed, though John feels a sense of pride in that Jonathan could likely lead cheers in the Hoosierdome without need of amplification if the situation arose.

Little Stephen has also made great strides this year. His parents encouraged him so well to walk and talk they’re now frequently overheard telling him to sit down and be quiet. Stephen’s main interest appears to lie with chemistry and/or bartending, as he is fascinated with mixing together household substances. Efforts to get him to use a beaker for these experiments have proved fruitless, as he insists that a horizonatl plane — such as the floor — is much preferred to a cylinder.

Dr. Debbie continues to enjoy her role as practitioner of the fine art of baby-catching, and has been so engrossed in her work she forgot to take a vacation this year. That worked out fine as it turns out, since John forgot to pack. She was appointed chief of staff at the hospital in January, and we’ve all been very proud of her, except that we wish she would stop insisting on wearing that silly headdress because the feathers always make John sneeze. Her latest contribution to medical malpractice has been the formation of an ethics committe at Dunn, though John is still questioning the need for such a committee since he says Bedford is nearly an all-white community and we hardly ever have any racial issues come before the board.

John pressured Debbie to consider having another child this year because he still held out hopes for a daughter, but Debbie was adamant and insisted that if John wanted another child he would have to have it himself. Since his monumental labor pains resulted in nothing more substantive that a large kidney stone, other means were investigated and the Cratons are pleased to announce that they have successfully borrowed a daughter this year from a very nice family in Spain. Inge Zubiaur has joined the Craton household as a foreign-exchange student and, strangely, reports having enjoyed her stay thus far. We’re all pleased with this report, and also with that of her psychoanalyst who says she’s making great progres and may be recovered enough from subculture shock to rejoin her own family next July. Actually, the only major problem the Cratons have experienced has been from some of the local union people who object to their importing their daughter. Small clusters can occasionally be seen gathering in front of the house muttering something about “buying American.”

John continues sailing down the Auditory Canal on a daily basis and uses his spare time to pursue his favorite avocations: genealogy and the history of World War I. When asked recently why he has such an interest in that long-ago war, he is said to have replied that it makes him feel better knowing that the trenches may have been a mite less congenial than Bedford. He is also heavily involved in trying to prove his theory that the Pillsbury doughboy was actually a French double agent during the conflict, but as yet he has provided little documentation to that effect.

The only person to have demonstrated a modicum of sanity in 1990 was the Craton nanny, Beth, who decided to escape from the household after three and a half years and return to college. She says she wants to be a photographer. We think she’ll do very well because she should be off the Librium before winter semester. In her place a new nanny has arrived and is taking the three sons in stride.

Whatever, the Cratons wish you an ample spreading of Christmas Cheer (of Christmas Tide as the preference may be), and hope for you a recessionless 1991.

Signed (sort of),
John, Debbie, Benjamin, Jonathan, Stephen, Inge,
and Whoever Else May be Inhabiting the Craton House When This Letter Arrives





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