Christmastime 2015

Dear Holiday Hayseeds,

It hardly seems possible that the Cratons are now sending out issue No. 31 of their annual Christmas missive. By all that is sacred, it was assumed that they long ago would have been shamed, cajoled, or simply blackmailed into discontinuing this annual practice so justly demonized by Ann Landers. But unfazed by the repeated pleadings of their missive’s recipients, they continue to generate their yearly holiday drivel and sing the plaudits of their terrestrial hamlet.

And it has been a somewhat eventful year again for lowly Bedrock. Despite having one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, the burg of late has seen new construction on an almost unparalleled level. This optimistic outlook among investors is believed to have been spurred by the city’s recent adoption of high-speed internet to replace the carrier-pigeon fleet operated by old Harold Simms (who is a few decades past retirement age anyway). The former toilet-bowl factory as well as Momma Richie’s School for Wayward Girls (both of which burned down back in ’11) have been rebuilt, and plans are afoot to construct the nation’s largest recycling plant that will convert human waste into usable material. Rumor has it that this site was chosen because there is such an abundance of human waste in the area.

While the new facilities do indeed hold out much promise, they unfortunately have been the impetus for a great deal of student unrest on the local college campus. It seems that the students have quite aggressively hopped on the $15 minimum wage bandwagon and were even joined for a time by some of the locals in this plight. Holly Wainright, who now works as the new secretary for the girl’s school, marched with the students for a time until she noticed that the superintendent purchased an electric pencil sharpener which convinced her that she soon would be replaced by a machine if she did not go back to work.

Even former mayor Rufus Frump participated in a recent fracas on the campus, but he achieved only an embarrassing brush with the law as a result. Joining in the demonstration enthusiastically with what appeared to be a huge blank protest sign and bags of manure contributed by Jake Williams’ mule, he was initially set upon by the students for demonstrating blatantly racist attitudes and was forthrightly taken into custody by Deputy Waxman. He was released shortly thereafter, however, when it was discovered that he’d left his hearing aid at home and mistakenly thought he was participating in a “Black Flies Splatter” event.

The Cratons have largely distanced themselves from all such shenanigans. This past May eldest son Ben entered the blissful state of matrimony with the lovely Nyssa Boyd in Lafayette, establishing yet another Craton household in Indiana. In the process the old folks gained a daughter and another grandcat. Ben also recently received his PMP certification which, while being rather prestigious in its own right, failed to impress the locals after they learned that it is not short for “pimp.”

Middle son Jon remains in the Left Coast environs of Seattle, where he and Annie seem content to plant their flag of resistance. Jon continues to enjoy duping people into buying retail goods that they didn’t realize they needed, and Annie hones her varied skills working for Nintendo and freelance writing.

Youngest son Stephen remains unattached for the nonce, and being thus he has decided to see the world. After working for the better part of five years in the Philippines, he has elected to venture in the other direction and has spent much of the year in Europe — Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, and Ireland. We look forward to having him with us again for Christmas and perhaps listening to tales of his adventures, but where he'll sojourn next is anyone’s guess ... but we feel it safe to assume it will not likely be Bedrock.

Dr. Mom still heals the sick and afflicted and yearns for the day she can perhaps join Stephen as a nomad. She and her helpmate did escape the Midwest briefly this fall by journeying to Hawaii for a week, but she seemed relieved to have returned to Indiana before her husband hopped on stage with the dancers at the luau after donning a hula skirt.

Old John continues to compose and pester students in his studio. He too had a couple of significant life shifts this year. At a recital this spring he said good-bye to his longest surviving student who’d put up with his weekly harangues for upwards of 11 years (most having done well to have endured him for 4 to 5 years). And this December he will officially retire from audiology by not renewing his license at the end of the year — hardly a major change, given that he hasn’t practiced audiology in almost 20 years, but he will be officially an old retired man as of New Year’s Day.

In the meantime we wish each of you a wonderful holiday and a new year full of peace and love ... or whatever.

John Douglas, Debbie, and all the gang

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