Christmastime 1986

A Holiday Letter to All Our Friends (and also to our acquaintaces):

We bid you warm holiday greetings from the land where mold and other sundry fungus spores prosper and where the Republican Party holds its own.

The Craton householf, with its insatiable desire to entertain, has come through another year in these northern climes with yet many more a tale a woe, wail or toe, and pail of dough, and gladly obliges the eager recipients of this annual news brief by relating said events in scholarly and inimitable fashion. That is to say, we’re still sending out these blame Christmas letters — it seems to be the only way old Doug can get published at all these days.

As with any year, 1986 has seen quite a few changes in our little home. Two days after last Christmas Debbie learned she was with child again, and we are exceptionally proud to announce the arrival of son number two, Jonathan Robert, born September 4. His birth statistics were: 7 pounds, 11½ ounces, 22½ inches long. (What do people really do with all this information? Do most American homes have some kind of filing system for this stuff?) Jon has been well received by the family, in spite of his resemblance to Debbie’s dad, and Big Brother Ben loves him to death.

Ben himself has matured considerably during 1986, having grown out of his passive toddler stage to become a full-fledged two. Actually, he is a tolerable young man, considering his genetic background, and has finally decided that it is permissible for him to talk. He can now discuss nearly anything without resorting to his formal complex system of sign language and primeval grunts. Evidently he had conluded early on that he wasn’t going to talk at all until he had his grammar and syntax down sufficiently well to avoid embarrassment. He practically began talking in paragraphs. Why just the other day he kept babbling on and on about the exegetical necessity for a reconsideration of the traditionalist concept of supererogation in soteriological thought during the twentieth century.

Ben’s only noticeable difficulty with speech was with the affricate ch, which, for a time, he pronounced as f. This posed no real problem, except during the summer when we housed a youth minister by the name of Chuck. Many were the embarrassing moments when Ben would espy Chuck moseying down the aisle at church and let out the most vile profligacy which no doubt caused a great number of our congregants to question Doug’s qualifications as a minister of education or as a father. We are happy (and relieved) to report that Ben has since corrected this nasty habit.

Debbie continues to lend a healing hand to her thousands of patients, many of whom seem to have no compunction about biting the hand that heals them. She still appears to enjoy her work, however, in spite of the fact that she only gets about eight hours’ sleep a year. Her month off for maternity leave this past September only convinced her just how much she delights in her office work.

Doug and his business have both continued floundering in the murky waters of Bedford economic life. Having decided recently that he was not predestined to become the next Alex Keaton of the carpet-cleaning profession, he plans now to divest himself of all forms of manual labor as of December 31 and will be going back to graduate school at Indiana University in January. He’s quite excited about the prospect, if also a little apprehensive — it has only been a ten-year delay. But, he has reasoned that it would be better losing money in an academic pursuit than in a blue-collar endeavor that was a lost cause befor ethe Tax Reform Bill.

We hope that all of you (Indianan for “ya’ll”) have had a good year and that 1987 will be even better. We always enjoy hearing from you (well, most of you, anyway), even though our own correspondence is currently several decades behind schedule. In the meantime, have a very happy Christmas season.

Gingerly yours, John Douglas, Debbie, Ben & Jon Craton

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