Dear Merry Miscreants,
Another year has passed in beautiful downtown Bedrock, and the residents all agree that another year has passed them by. While the local FFA still holds out hope that someday the city will enter the twentieth century (forget the twenty-first), the age-old traditions of illiteracy, spousal abuse, and unwed motherhood hold firm some customs, evidently, are meant to last.
The recent rise in the number of unwed pregnancies has been an especial concern of Rev. Calvin Yokum, since the local parish only just completed a renovation of the church nursery only to find it several cribs short of the call already. Rather than turning the poor waifs out into the street, he has opened up the rectory, next door to old Harold Simms house, as a home for unwed mothers. But that has Harolds wife in an uproar as she cant help but believe Harold may be responsible for some of the young lasses taking up residence there. She simply cannot seem to forget Harolds dalliance with that young pole dancer from Daves Doll House a few years back.
The community has been led to wonder whether any of this had anything to do with the church burning down in August, and Bobby Jim Martin, the town agnostic, has openly expressed the thought that such action would be typical of those crazy Christians despite the fact that the fire marshal determined the blaze to be the result of the fireworks that were set off in celebration of the latest baptism ... either that or an electrical short in the running lights along the aisleway used to encourage parishoners to take advantage of altar call at the end of services.
Harold maintains his wifes innocence in the affair, despite her unwillingness to forgive him of his, and as means of trying to smooth things over with Rev. Yokums clutch, he volunteered to offer some room in his own house to these wayward young lasses. But what was intended to be a gesture of pacification has served only to raise Mrs. Simms ire more, and she has forthrightly refused access to her domicile by any but those who come to purchase her famous lemonade which she makes in an old '58 Chevy radiator in the backyard. Jake Williams stepped in to help resolve the Simms differences, but basically he ended up just stepping in it. After a three-hour discussion one evening in which he attempted to moderate a reconciliation, he was overheard muttering something about equine manure as he left. No one seems to know exactly what is transpiring behind the closed doors of the Simms household these days, but there are conjectures galore about the six-foot hole that the two lovebirds have been digging alternately these last few weeks.
The Cratons have remained out of the fracas, however, and have continued living in their own little world on Fifteenth Street. Their youngest offspring, Stephen, appears to be enjoying working with the company in Richmond, Virginia, and seems to be enjoying even more the opportunities it affords him to escape Bedford. Transportation has been one of his main focuses this year, as he bought himself a car in January and has spent a goodly amount of time flying hither and yon on business throughout the year. He even was afforded the opportunity to work a couple of weeks in the Philippines recently and found that he likes everything about that country except the food. Somehow he just never could develop a taste for aso adobo (look it up) or chocolate pork.
Jonathan graduated from Indiana University this past May and had hoped perhaps to participate in a program that would allow him to teach a year in Japan. But evidently the program investigated his fathers political associations, and he wasnt invited. Instead he is still in Bedrock, working this year as a substitute teacher with plans to start grad school in 2010. His only real regret is that the school system here doesnt allow him to use any of the special instruments Stephen brought back from an old prison gift shop in the Philippines.
Ben is still working for Hewlett-Packard in Lafayette but currently is investigating opportunities elsewhere. If his college education taught him anything, it was that he really ought to get away from Indiana. Now the proud parent of two cats (Mason and Dixon), he welcomes the opportunity to pack them up and relocate to less boreal climes. Given his tendency to be like his mom, however, were not sure how long it will take him to accept the idea of change in that regard. (On the other hand, if perhaps all three sons relocate somewhere back in civilization, said mom may reconsider her own options as well.)
Speaking of, said mom (Debbie) is still cavorting with sick people here in Bedrock, this past August having begun her second 25 years of practice here guess thats not bad for someone who originally agreed to two to three years in Bedford. Between the crazy patients and the crazy colleagues she has to deal with at the hospital, she now thinks her husband is slightly less demented than shed thought all along. The hospitals still have not merged such an event seems now never to be realized short of divine intervention but negotiations are underway to see if other arrangements can be made. Were hoping that a legitimate corporation will take over things here as the staff physicians are growing weary of being paid in livestock ... especially now that the city has passed an ordinance forbidding sheep to graze on the courthouse lawn.
Old John is still breathing, too. It has been an incredibly busy year for him, but not so much in ways he would have preferred. Between organizing a student recital, having his house suffer major damage from a water leak, helping basically rebuild another house, and his general psychoses, he has had precious little time to do much decomposing this year. He did have works premiere in California and France, but unfortunately the closest he got to either of those was a trip to Wileys Wart, Indiana, to look for a replacement air-filter cover for a neighbors Oldsmobile. Maybe this coming concert season he can have something else done in France that will allow him to storm the beaches of Normandy and maybe find a nice little ville that even Dr. Wife would enjoy. In the meantime he continues hiding from the federal government, insisting that his citizenship is still with the CSA, and constantly reminds everyone who will listen that the Confederate government never surrendered.
But whatever comes to pass, we wish you all a wonderful holiday season (thats Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah for you ACLU fans out there) and a prosperous, capitalist 2010.
John, Debbie, Ben, Jonathan & Stephen Craton
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