Christmastime 1995

Dear Fellow Jurors,

Knowing with what disdain Ann Landers holds these yearly form Christmas letters, the Cratons have decided to one up her this year by calling this one a Hanukkah letter. Not only should this skirt the issue of the appropriateness of the form Christmas epistle, it should also show our troupe to be more multiculturally inclusive and politically correct. Of course, kids often have visions of sugraplums dancing in their heads this time of year as well.

Certainly not much newsworthy has occurred in Bedrock over the last year. Probably the biggest news from these parts has been the trial of J.O. Stinson who was charged with doing massive damage to the computer system at the Naval Weapons store in nearby Crane by introducing a particularly nasty virus into the program. After an exceptionally loathsome court battle the jury found him not guilty once it learned that the arresting officer had previously referred to Stinson using the N-word. (Of course, the officer was such a philistine he claimed not to be aware that “Nerd” constituted hate speech.) Some observers have suggested that the jury may also have been influenced by Stinson’s Washington County cousins, a group of sheep farmers who threatened a boycott should J.O. be found guilty, marching up and down the courthouse lawn chanting, “No justice, no fleece.” What with the Farmer’s Almanac predicting a severe winter this year, some believe the jury simply caved.

At any rate the Craton offspring continue to push the envelope of what is defined as normal preadolescent bahavior. Ben, now nearly twelve, has moved into his second “two-hood.” He has taken an extremely great interest in music of late, and enjoys annoying the neighbors with unusual sounds from his saxophone and viola when he isn’t strangling his brothers. He has also become something of a political activist, having chosen to give a speech before the school board recently to condemn the socialist cast of the PTO which has been coercing young waifs into door-to-door selling of worthless merchandise by bribing them with even more worthless bourgeois trinkets, all to support a system that already devours more than its share of the public’s hard-earned tax revenue. His speech was quite compelling, up to the point where he recommended the guillotine for the PTO president.

Jonathan has had a rough year, having been unsuccessful in turtle breeding this season. He lost several baby turtle eggs — not to mention his own tonsils — and shortly afterward came down with pneumonia. His father suggested that since they’d removed his tonsils to cure his throat, maybe it was time to remove his lungs, but Mom came to the rescue in the nick of time. Anyway, Jon still enjoys shepherding his turtles and longs to take up the flute soon — supposedly in order to attempt a variation on the Indian art of snake charming, though how other reptiles will react is still an enigma. Or perhaps it’s his way of trying to win the heart of his third-grade girlfriend who, he complains, is interested in “some second-grade twerp.”

Stephen graduated to kindergarten this year and still plans to become a chef when he grows up. There’s no question he can already cook better than his Pop (except for some of his special road-kill cuisine), though the mention has been made of trying to get him apprenticed to a local whinery to polish that particular skill of his even more. We’re not sure whether he’s better suited for the kitchen or the O.R., since he has the temperament for both, enjoying as he does throwing things to express his displeasure.

Debbie (aka, Dr. Armadillo) has spent the year with sick people and seems to like it. She has managed to escape from Bedford several times during the year for various excursions, and has even made plans next year to go mountain climbing — having obviously been getting into the nitrous oxide at the hospital. She continues her political career as local school-board member ordinaire, but was thrown into a bit of a depression earlier this year when she wasn’t contacted about the vacancy in the Surgeon General’s office. (Could she ever have hoped to fill Joycelyn Elders’ shoes?)

John, on the other hand, has had to face being overlooked for even second assistant to the alternate secretary of the local precinct committeeman this year. He began the year hoping to set up his own private practice in audiology, but after months of deliberation with the hospital ended up having the equipment bought out from under him. Not wanting to practice with little more than a set of tuning forks, he has since spent his time selling books and nursing sick kids, sick turtles, and a deaf and diabetic cat. He’s hoping sometime in the near future to work out a way to spend more time doing what he loves most (composing), though many people who have heard his opera sketches say they are reminded more of something decomposing instead. Barring that, it’s not certain what he plans to do with the information he’s been observed gleaning from the recruitment brochures he received lately from the French Foreign Legion.

Till whenever, the Cratons wish their loyal readers a joyous Christmas and a full sweep in November '06.

The humans John, Debbie, Ben, Jonathan & Stephen
The repitles Shelby, Shelley, Shirley, Shredder & Beowulf
The mammals Dixie & Miss Marple

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