Christmastime 1984


It’s that time of year again — time to drag out the tinsel and latkes and to prepare a personal form letter for all those friends we’ve avoided writing to for another year.

This has been a rather precipitous year in the Craton household, to say the least. To say the most it has been near-traumatic. The year was issued in with Debbied and J.D.* eagerly anticipating the arrival of their firstborn, who came into the world scant moments after Friday the 13th in January, 1984. Benjamin Arthur managed to inherit all the Craton good looks in combination with the Williams temperament.

The first half of the year saw Debbie finish up her residency program in family practice medicine at Baptist Hospital in Gadsden, and J.D. wrap up a successful year of serving as minister of education for the Rainbow Church. With Debbie’s somewhat lengthy education process coming to an end, we spent much of that time trying to decide where to move (and if to move) upon her graduation. J.D. wanted to continue working with the church, so we attempted to find some lovely hamlet which had an opening for a new physician and which has a congregation in need of a minister of education.

Practically no state in the lower forty-eight was entirely ruled out during this arduous search, as the fact that we had a tentative offer from Pitman, New Jersey, should bear out. After much study, however, we came down to considering the job offers J.D. had received from Minneapolis, Sioux Falls, and Billings, Montana; and practice opportunities Dr. Debbie has been proffered from Cleveland and several other smaller towns that barely made the Ohio state map; Anna, Illinois; Tullahoma, Tennessee; and her hometown of Bedford, Indiana. Since none of the openings for the two of us matched up, we were hard pressed to decide between staying in Gadsden or moving to Bedford — in other words, we had to choose between six of one and half dozen of the other. The postmark should bewray our decision.

Debbie opened her new practice here in August and already has well over 600 patients, which just goes to show that this area is full of sick people. The practice is going extremely well, due partly to the fact that several loacl physicians of some long standing have either recently moved, retired, or died, and partly, of course, to Debbie’s fine medical abilities. (We shall not opine as to which of the two factors outweighs the other at this point.)

J.D. helped Debbie get her practice organized, but once the doors opened to the halt and lame he retreated to the newly acquired home front: a real house, for a change — a large, two-story 1902 edition located in the heart (or perhaps the left ventricle) of beautiful downtown Bedrock. Although at first he had intended to continue his writing, having had such wonderful success at collecting large numbers of rejection slips from the first three books, Ben decided against that for the time being. So, J.D.’s been playing the part of Mr. Mom for the better part of half a year now and has yet to get the hang of it to his complete satisfaction — or to Ben&$#146 either, for that matter. He has been getting in a fair amount of reading during that time, and has recently begun teaching again at the local church. In addition he has been reviewing his study of Hebrew, perparing, no doubt, for a move to Israel should the Democrats ever come back into power here in the States. Barring that, he hopes to go to graduate school at Indiana University whenever time and money permit.

We hope all is well with you and would love to hear from you from time to time. If you write faithfully you night even get another form letter form us again next year! Till then, please accept our best wishes for a fantastic holiday season from

*John Douglas, Dr. Debbie, and Baby Ben Craton
(and “Miss Misanthrope“ herself, Dixie Cat)

Return to the archives