Christmastime 2019

Dear Fellow Festive Frolickers,

Strange as it may seem (and old John has been told he’s so strange he’d make a good stranger), ’tis time once more to regale our fellow frolickers with tales of life in the thriving metropolis of Bedford. And what a year it has been! Since all the construction Bedrock saw back in 2018 is finally completed, the burg has settled down into its usual doldrums, leading area residents endeavoring to find something to help stimulate both the local economy and the local populace. Feeling the expansion of area meth labs inadequate for the task, Jake Williams proposed at a town meeting this summer that Bedford should build a race track where southern Indiana could compete with Louisville’s Kentucky Derby. The idea of holding annual mule races in Bedford seemed at first to appeal to the city leaders as presenting something entirely unique, but then Billy Bob Thornton Googled the subject and found that there already is an American Mule Racing Association. Trying to keep with the same theme, Scooter Reese, now sufficiently rehabilitated after serving time for hosting local dog fights, suggested a spinoff of greyhound racing using dachshunds. But once more the enthusiasm waned after Billy Bob pointed out that Buda, Texas, has beaten us to the punch. But at last the council managed to bring a vote on building a mole-rat race track, since so far that has only been done in a computer RPG. But Bedford councilmen, always on the cutting edge of something, want to make it a reality and feel that the venue would appeal to the D&D geeks in nearby Bloomington.

Old Harold Simms opposes the idea, however, citing that the track would cost too much money and, if built where proposed, would cut into his worm farm and composting enterprise. But the other councilmen feel his opposition is more just sour grapes since the city decided not to fund his poozeum that he’d proposed at last year’s meeting.

Nearly all the rest of the community has gotten on board with the idea, and the proposal has spawned entrepreneurial thinking amongst several prominent business leaders. Momma Ritchie, for instance, fully endorses the proposal because she says it will lend opportunity for the students at her school for wayward girls to hold a contest and crown a Mole Rat Queen every year. She believes that the prestige of such an honor would encourage her girls to be more conscious of diet and nutrition as they compete in the bathing-suit contest. And that’s not to mention the funds Momma Ritchie expects to be raised for her school through the extra-credit charitable works her girls do with local businessmen after regular school hours.

And while being generally supportive of the proposal, restaurateur Charlie-Ray Padgett has expressed a bit of concern that the attraction would bring in a higher class of clientele and would mean extra business expenses for him in having to buy cloth napkins and having the rest-room facilities brought indoors. But though cautious, he remains supportive of the project as he is optimistic that the increased number of patrons would help offset some of his expenses.

The Cratons have chosen not to become embroiled in the controversy, however, purposely avoiding the literal rat race of Bedford. Their offspring, all of whom have wisely chosen to escape the environs altogether, all report doing well in their new locales. Ben and Nyssa both achieved promotions in their respective fields this past year, Ben now a product owner at Passageways and Nyssa winemaker at Wildcat Creek Winery, where she is pushing the advertising committee to resurrect and adopt that famous line from the Italian Swiss Company Winery commercials from days of yore. They both seem quite content to remain ensconced in Lafayette, having overcome the trauma of growing up in southern Indiana.

Jonathan and Annie likewise enjoy habitating in Snohomish, Washington, just outside of Seattle, where Jon continues to play the role of Tom Hanks in Big by being chief toy purchaser for a chain of local toy stores. We can think of no position that would suit him better, since he likes both kids and toys, although he is a tad less fond of indulgent parents who equate the degree of love with the price of a given trinket. But where would his paycheck be without them?

Stephen appears to have allowed roots to grow in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he settled down after traipsing all across the globe for a few years. His wanderlust now seems to be allayed by making treks to area state parks and waterfalls where he continues to hone his photographic skills and perhaps hopes to encounter a charming Southern naiad someday.

As for the old folks, they have little to report from Bedford climes. They did once again escape the provincial turmoils by taking another trip to Europe in June, this time journeying from Belgium northward through Norway and Iceland, the experience marred only by the annoyance of airport security (a ready-made master’s thesis on efficiency). Once settled back in Bedrock, they simply have continued plodding along, Debbie healing the halt and maim and dreaming of retirement sometime next century and old John scribbling notes for yet another ballet designed to put blisters on young feet. They did have to endure the trauma of losing three cats within a four-month period early in the year, but their grief has been somewhat assuaged by the adoption of two other cats (in addition to the sole survivor of the previous clowder), one of whom is a strictly upstairs cat. Old John figures that if people can have upstairs maids, he can have an upstairs cat.

And with that we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Joyful New Year.

John Douglas & Debbie Craton
with Dahlia Cat, Lily Cat, and Bootsy Cat

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