Christmastime 2012

Dear Holiday Hipsters,

Yet another year is soon to be notched into old Harold Simms’ bedpost, taking its place along with his chewing gum, red suspenders, and well-worn porkpie hat. Harold actually is lucky still to be in his own bed, however, as it appeared earlier in the fall that he would be snoozing more in the county jail than at home. Probably out of spite, Bobby Jim Martin recently gave Harold a book about the Mayan calendar prophecy, and Harold took it upon himself to attempt to appease the Lords of the Night by re-instituting the sacrifice of living virgins via cardiectomy. With the aid of his good friend Jake Williams, Harold successfully completed a miniature Mayan temple next to his wife’s “lemonade” stand in the backyard, but fortunately his plans for divine appeasement were placed on hold when they were wont to find suitable subjects for sacrifice amongst the local damsels.

After getting wind of Harold’s intents, Deputy Waxman and Reverend Yokum joined together to dissuade Harold from his un-Christianly designs, and after plying him with generous amounts of his wife’s renowned lemonade they convinced him to sleep off the aftereffects through the end of the world. “After all,” they reasoned, “the Mayan calendar forgot to take into account leap years, and thus for Harold the world ended when construction workers destroyed his '53 Studebaker while grading a field for the new Super Walmart.”

Not to be outdone by pagan eschatology, Reverend Pearson has played up the fear of apocalyptic doom to draw even many stalwart secularists into his parish, and the result has seen his flock nearly double in size since the election. Convincing his followers that Harry Reid is the mild-mannered incarnation of Beelzebub, Prince of Darkness and harbinger of the End Times, they have taken to after-service target practice on the village green with great aplomb.

The Cratons, however, remain singularly unmoved by such movements, and continue sucking oxygen in the Midwest’s most noted cultural wasteland. Having officially now joined the ranks of what are called the “empty nesters,” they nonetheless must regale our dear readers with news about their offspring as otherwise there would be no news of note to tell at all.

Eldest son Ben still resides in Lafayette and labors day (and often night) for Hewlett-Packard. He recently decided that his 1847 Pontiac Sunfire wasn’t the babe magnet he’d always hoped it would be and acquired himself a fancy new black Camaro. The salesman assured him that he’d have a wife within a year while driving this car, so we’re waiting patiently for another ten months before taking legal action against the dealership and demanding the hand of the owner’s daughter in marriage.

Speaking of marriage, middle son Jonathan is planning just that this coming October when he and his long-suffering fiancée Annie Leonard plan to nupt together. We hope to see him again at least once before the wedding, but recently he moved to Bloomington (where he works) to cut his otherwise 40-mile commute to less than a tenth that distance. Though having relocated from the home of his youth, he did leave his turtles for his aging parents to tend so that they would always be reminded of his warm and cuddly nature.

Youngest sibling Stephen is again at home with his old folks for the holidays, though he works and lives most of the year in Manila, Philippines. He seems to have adapted to Third-World living acceptably well and maintains that the many lessons he learned from his brothers’ hands helped him in his new surroundings — he cites specifically the time when they lowered him into a deep hole they’d dug in the backyard, presumably while waiting for Egyptian tradesmen to pass by on their camels.

Dr. Debbie continues her work with all the sick people of the community and spends what little time she has away from patient care reading, dancing, and battling bureaucratic bovine excrement. The latest item she checked off her bucket list was taking a ride in a hot-air balloon in Albuquerque, New Mexico, though she was unable to get her stick-in-the-mud husband to join her ... although she did manage to discourage him from taking pot shots at the balloon with an air rifle from below.

Old John just gets older, continuing his feeble efforts to instruct local fiddlers and scribbling a few notes now and then. He recently read a book about the love lives of the great composers and has decided that in order to become famous he either should have become gay or chased every skirt that ever crossed his path. But at his age, he has decided that neither is much of a viable option at this point and therefore continues to compose in the hope that his work will someday benefit his grandchildren’s estates.

Things being what they are, the Cratons wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year after a successful nose-thumbing at the Mayan Armageddon (or would that be Armadillogeddon for Debbie?).

John Douglas & Debbie Craton
(plus cats & turtles)

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