Christmastime 1992

Dear Fellow Alarmists,

Well, it’s that time of year again! Time to dig out the old legal briefs and contact the ACLU about all the blatantly religious Christmas decorations on public property; and time again for Ann Landers to remind all uncivilized peopole just how distasteful Christmas form letters are.

The Craton household has continued to grasp tenaciously to some modicum of normalcy through the past year, in spite of the latest election results. Not only has the family been greatly affected by the national debacle, but is has also been touched on a more local level. It seems Dr. Debbie decided she wasn’t busy enough seeing 50 patients a day, teaching a ladies’ class at church, and managing a dysfunctional household, so she chose to run for a seat on the local school board. Having actually won, she has of late been busy getting bids from various manufacturers of condom dispensers which she promises to install in the school band rooms so that the musicians can all play safe sax. She also plans to defy the recent onslaught of antireligion zealots who are endeavoring to stop prayer in school and reinstate the ritual sacrifice before each Friday night football game. What has her husband worried most, however, is her frequent reminder that Jimmy Carter began his political career by being elected to his local school board. It should be an interesting four years.

The three Craton sons have seemingly fared better than their parents this year. Benjamin, now in grade three, won the science fair in his school again in January with a project having to do with lightning. He has been working at refining it somewhat lately as a hedge against the coming Clinton inflation. He says he feels he will be able to support himself through college someday by selling it to Iraq during the next arms embargo. In the meantime he is enjoying demonstrating his project to all the neighborhood kids.

Jonathan started kindergarten in the fall and, with his abundance of natural Craton charisma, has managed to charm most of the girls in his class. Though he was formerly the resident “wild child” and was noted for his frequent and intense expressions of displeasure at home, he has calmed a great deal since he’s discovered the writings of George Will.

Stephen is progressing nicely from a socio-linguistic point of view and is mastering the gentle art of verbal persuasion — and when that doesn’t work he lies in the floor kicking and screaming. His greatest delight seems to be in hurting himself and finding some way to blame it on his brothers.

New to the Craton home this year is their second imported daughter. Steffi Wermuth heils, er, hails from Germany and is learning all about average American families (so it is said) by visiting with friends from the local high school. It should prove politically expedient for Steffi to live a year with the Cratons through her exchange program as it will prepare her for the childish bickering that will undoubtedly ensue from the EC in days to come.

And lest we forget to mention the inestimable head of the house himself, John is still around. When he doesn’t have his nose stuck in an ear he’s usually found playing Butler Dad at home or fundraising for the Save the Quayle Foundation. His usual placid, confident self has been shaken to its very core since the electoral ignominy, and he says he may be moving to Bulgaria once the monarchy is restored there. What with women in the priesthood, gays in the military, and a draft-dodger in the White House, he feels his world coming apart at the seams and has invested heavily in a cordage mill in Sofia.

And with that the Cratons wish everyone a cheerful and recession-free holiday season. Even with all the bad news, we can still hope that the trade sanctions against French wine never take effect.

John, Debbie, Benjamin, Jonathan, Stephen, and Steffi

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