Dear Yuletide Yokels,
And here we are once more, sending holiday greetings from beautiful downtown Bedrock, the place where old Harold Simms and his wife still dominate the local news. (This year it was Mrs. Simms who fell afoul of the law after it was discovered that the lemonade she was selling through the local Girl Scout troops was about 60 proof. Luckily lawyer Stainberry got her off with community service, so now she and Harold are in charge of the pigeon droppings on the WWI memorial.)
In Bedford proper the numerous construction projects reported on last year continue apace, so that we have the illusion of living in a thriving — even growing — metropolis. Among the construction works of note is the new William Jefferson Clinton dormitory at Mama Ritchie’s School for Wayward Girls, expected to be completed in time for the New Year. Mama Ritchie has been very industrious during the past few years attracting some major benefactors and patrons to her school, though she is currently in a quandary about what to rename the recently completed Harvey Weinstein Auditorium for the Performing Arts. Whatever the eventual name of the facility, the performance center is a significant improvement over when the girls had the use of only the small stage and pole at Dave’s Doll House down the road.
And in an effort to appeal to East Coast urbanites, the city has been in a constant state of traffic mayhem all year as the noteworthy rails-to-trails project expands exponentially in every direction. This has lowered the unemployment rate substantially, not only in terms of laborers hired but also for local bookies who take odds each day over which lanes will be blocked on any given day of the week.
Furthermore, the trails (which actually are being used not only by the Bloomington liberals who venture southward to escape their own haven of homelessness but also by many locals as well) are beginning to remind the Eastern transplants of Central Park, where one is as likely to be molested as to get in a good morning’s jog. We’re sure that between the traffic congestion and the thrill of facing the perils of a daily run, our newly arrived urban elites are feeling much more at home.
Among the more tradition-oriented events that transpired this past year was the opening back in August of a time capsule that was sealed 50 years ago. It was quite moving to open the capsule and read about life back in the dark days when there were only two genders and no meth labs in the community. The Historical Society put together another time capsule to be opened 50 years hence, and your loyal patrons contributed to it as well — though we didn’t include our Christmas letters, which we’re sure would lead to much consternation amongst the next generation of local historians. Old John was at first unmoved by the possibility of being involved in another time capsule, but when he learned that he didn’t have to swallow it he arranged for some noteworthy documents to be included. He doesn’t plan to be around for its opening, but we hope whoever sees its contents will appreciate the historic significance of 50-year-old mold that’s surely to form on the box’s contents.
The Cratons themselves, nonetheless, have endured yet another year of Bedford living, mostly by escaping the environs altogether. All three sons live in habitable communities now, far removed from the land of their youth.
Ben and Nyssa remain happily ensconced in Lafayette, Indiana, where this year Ben obtained new employment as Scrum Master with Passageways in Lafayette. He seems to be enjoying his work there immensely, though we’re trying to discourage his carrying about the rawhide whips as he oversees the techs’ endeavors. Nyssa too enjoyed a promotion this year to winemaker at the Wildcat Creek Winery. She too seems to be pleased with her work, though we think she is beginning to tire a bit of the perpetually purple feet.
Jon and Annie are enjoying being homeowners in Snohomish, Washington, where his old parents were able to visit this past June. Jon seems to have found his calling in toys (no surprise there) and delights in being purchasing agent for a chain of stores in the Seattle area. Annie continues her writing and works for an insurance company in Seattle.
Stephen appears to have abandoned his nomadic ways (at least for now) and is content with his life in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He continues working for the same company he’s been with since finishing high school, but which hopefully won’t send him overseas again anytime soon. Despite the (relatively small) physical distance between them, his non-tech-savvy parents still call upon his help from time to time when computer issues present themselves — and his rates are great, at least for them.
Dr. Debbie continues, as always, healing the halt and maim and dearly loves taking care of her patients but is growing more and more disenchanted with the medical bureaucracy — no different than any other bureaucracy, except that it deals with medicine which one would think should be above such petty politics. Because of the headaches and manufactured madness intrinsic to the system, she is very much looking forward to retirement which, by our calculations, should be possible by the time the next time capsule is unearthed.
Old John is still haranguing what few students can continue to put up with him and jots a note or two every now and again, though his compositional work has slacked off a bit this year compared to previous periods of creativity. That’s a fancy way of saying he’s grown lazy. To echo what was once told him by a late friend, John thinks a lot these days about the hereafter — practically any time he walks into a room he has to think to himself, “What am I here after?” But he hopes to continue working with students and making noise as much as he can, and trusts that someday someone actually will want to play the stuff he’s written … and that perhaps someone else would like to hear it.
In the meantime he has become Cat Master at his house, overseeing the magical cat Loki (who was given only weeks to live more than a year ago but continues purring through life, much to our great joy) and his new little brother Freyr (who started out as Freyja until the vet revealed that she was a he, so he acquired the name of mythical Freyja’s mythical brother). Sadly, Isis Cat, who had been with us 18 years (we think she was a year old when she adopted us) went to the great Scratching Post in the sky in September. Whether Freyr is what sent her over the edge, as some suppose, is still debatable, but it is true that she wasn’t very thrilled with the presence of any other animal in the household.
Be all that as it may, we wish one and all a blessed Christmas season and a happy, healthy, and productive New Year.
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