Christmastime 1988

Dear Co-conspirators,

It hardly seems like it should be time to spew out another of these holiday missives, but spew we must. After all, our last year’s “gift” was so well received that we’ve had people write to us asking to be added to our mailing list. One gentleman with the unusual name of Origami Maters, Inc., even requested that this year we send him 3,000 copies of our annual letter. I suppose he wishes to share it with a few of his Old World friends and relatives. It’s good to know our work is appreciated.

The Craton household has somehow survived another twelve months north of the Mason-Dixon, despite all attempted to the contrary. This marked the year that we almost made it back South to civilization, but, as the postmark betrays, we are still huddled with these Yankeefied masses. Dr. Debbie had an offer from a medical group back in Gadsden that was impossible to turn down, but Debbie — always one to attempt the impossible — somehow managed to do so anyway. One reason was because things have finally begun turning around for her Bedford office, and she has actually had a couple of patients start to pay her in cash. That’s worked out well seeing as the local bank has notified us that they would no longer be accepting livestock as collateral after this summer’s nasty drought.

A number of milestones (as well as a few other projectiles) have been encountered by our humble family in 1988. Elder son Benjamin, for example, started to preschool this year and is actually becoming something of a social being. He has begun writing a bit now, but seemed rather indignant when offered the opportunity of penning this missive. He informed me in no uncertain terms that Ann Landers considers letters such as these in poor taste. Our only reply was, “What of it? So are most of the people who read it.” At that he merely turned back to his calculator and continued working on his schematic for his particle-beam accelerator. (At first we thought Ben was turning into a George Lucas fan until we realized he kept babbling on about some other type of Star Wars.)

Jonathan also has demonstrated the propensity to grow up, as most young children are wont to do. Although he signed before he talked, he has begun to jabber quite a lot now, to the point that we’re trying to encourage him to resume signing again. His churchly behavior has improved somewhat, though he still feels his calling in life is to become a professional sermon critic.

Dr. Debbie remains as mean as ever and still spends most of her days looking in ears, down throats, and up ... well, you get the picture. She enjoys her work, actually likes living in Bedford, and remains committed to wiping out every harmful strain of bacteria known to Indiana. She plans to take a brief break from her work in April, however, and vacation Spain. Strangely, she won’t let J.D. go with her. She says she wouldn’t be able to get him back through customs.

J.D. himself has had a rather interesting year. He’s been rather busy trying to finish up his Master’s degree at Indiana University — no small task considering the number of vehicles it has required over the last two years to get him to school and back. After giving up his plan of starting a national Car-of-the-Month Club, however, he did successfully complete his course of study in audiology and plans to begin probing for profit within the next year. He’ll be staying on at I.U. one more semester as an assistant instructor in American Sign Language, where he finds fulfillment making socially tasteless gestures with his hands and ogling the steady stream of studious coeds.

He also had his first brush with the law this past semester after one of the speech clinicians had her credit card stolen from the facility. It seems the culprit had an unfortunate genetic disposition that caused him to look like J.D., so that law-abiding John was fingered as the prime suspect in this class D felony investigation. Fortunately, the guilty party was at last apprehended, but not before the campus police had provided J.D. with ample reason to assume the name of Richard Kimble. It has been surmized that the poor lad who actually stole the card probably turned to a life of crime because he had a face like J.D.’s.

But lest we be accused of stealing more of your time, we’ll cease these ramblings for another year and wish you all at least a cost-of-living 1989.

John Douglas, Debbie, Ben & Jon Craton

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