Christmastime 2017

Dear Holiday Hooligans,

So once more the most exciting season of the year is upon us here in lowly Bedrock. And none too soon, it would seem. Bedford has never been known exactly as a socially stimulating environment, despite the best efforts of the Midtown Pole-Dancers Society, but this past year has been one of the least eventful in the city’s sordid history. Things have gotten so bad that area therapists have begun treating locals for a new condition dubbed ATSD — Anticipated Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But at least things here never reached the level of vexation seen in nearby Bloomington last year following the election. Woebegone students reportedly melted at every conceivable walkway, causing massive pedestrian traffic congestion throughout the campus. We are happy to report, though, that finally things now seem to have settled down enough that Bedford’s new Anglican priest, Fr. Flogbottom, who was called away to offer grief counseling at the university shortly after his arrival, was able to return to his duties at the local parish here in Bedrock. Though glad to be settled at last, Fr. Floggy does admit that the change of venue from Bloomington to Bedford has taken him from healing melting snowflakes to attempting to subdue flaming Tiki torches, what with all the firebrands active in and around his parish.

But the “settling down” (a perhaps overly positive way of describing Bedford’s sedate existence) persists nonetheless and has spread even to old Harold Simms. Long a source of some uneasiness among the locals because of his penchant for reconnoitering the courthouse grounds while in full WWI battle gear, Harold of late has discovered the joy of cribbage and now more often can be seen huddled over a board along with Jake Williams outside Rusty’s Tavern. He nevertheless remains still a source of some consternation because of his habit of using 30.06 cartridges for cribbage pegs. The fracas aroused after he successfully double-skunked Jake in a match back in August still has the patrons of Rusty’s ordering copious flagons of IPA ... not that Rusty is complaining.

And of late the biggest news is that the city is rebuilding the downtown sidewalks yet again, tearing them out and digging trenches all round the courthouse square. This has led some of the conspiratorialists to hypothesize that the government anticipates an invasion from Canada, and as a result several locals have eagerly volunteered to man the trenches with small arms and flamethrowers; but thus far their requests to do so have been declined by Deputy Waxman and his crew.

The Cratons have all nevertheless managed to hang on to at least as much sanity as they ever possessed, in large part by escaping the environs on occasion or, in the case of the three offspring, by removing themselves from it altogether. Eldest son Ben continues to enjoy married life in Lafayette, Indiana, where he recently was promoted in his work to scrum master. None of us really knows what that is, but it sounds macho enough that we figure the charity solicitors will leave him and Nyssa alone.

Middle son Jon and his wife Annie bought a house this year just outside Seattle (Snohomish), so we are confident that they will not be haunting southern Indiana potholes anytime again soon. Their bravery is to be much admired, given that they represent a tiny pool of sanity in an otherwise less-than-rational sector of the nation.

Youngest son Stephen seemingly has been infected by the “settling down” bug prevalent around here, however, as he has put on hold his global travels this year to find a permanent perch in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When he decided to roost he at first looked to Texas, but finally opted for Tennessee since more family live close by than in the Lone Star state. The decision turned out to be propitious since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas mere days after he had been there looking things over. Suffice to say, his parents are pleased that he elected for the Volunteer State instead.

Dr. Debbie continues working with all the sick people in Bedford (of which there seems to be no end), but she did pack up her husband and a few clothes this fall and enjoyed a 12-day river cruise through the heart of Europe. The old folks enjoyed the excursion even more than expected, and surprisingly Debbie even got old hubster back through customs.

As for the old guy, he keeps haranguing music students and decomposing on occasion. It is being alleged that one of his children’s operas is to be premiered in Spain next spring, so we’re all waiting with bated breath to see if we can get him out of the country one more time.

As we wait to see what shall transpire, we wish one and all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Pleasant New Year.

John Douglas & Debbie Craton
(plus cats & turtles)

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