HARMON: Those dreaded Christmas/New Year letters

January 2, 2013 

It’s this time of year when we usually receive wonderful letters from friends who insist on making us feel like crap, even though they have no idea that’s what they’re doing.

And while our lives (speaking of my immediate family here) are pretty darn good, when we finish reading one of these things it usually causes us to drink heavily or go to bed early with a sleep aid. Vacations to Europe, law school graduations, weight losses resulting in new found loves or redeemed marriages and on and on until, at the end, when the writer finally says, “Have a happy new year” or asks how we’re doing? We want to say, “Not so damn good.”

Just once, before I’m called home to glory, I’d like to get a letter something like the one penned below. But listen, this is only kidding, written in jest, because I really do enjoy hearing from friends. So take it for what it’s worth, something different written by a woman who is eternally positive and grateful for each and every blessing at this hallowed time of year.

“Christmas greetings from our house to yours. Here’s that Christmas letter I promised to write last year and, as you will see, things are going great at the Hanratty house. And speaking of our house, we gave the darn thing back to the bank last week. Ha! Todd, the wonderful man in my life, told ’em to ‘come and get it.’ We’re married 30 years now, seems like yesterday and he never ceases to amaze me. Such a go-getter. He said, ‘Honey, Wal-Mart has a tent sale and we can pick up a good one, camp for a year, save up and who knows?’ Well, I know I’ve got the last of the good ones and an eternal optimist sitting right here next to me in front of a beautiful two log fire.

“I’m sure you get the picture. As for the rest of our wonderful people, Todd Junior is on a well-deserved leave from the local detention center. Yes, you remember that rambunctious little fellow, (just like his daddy -- all grown up now), had a misunderstanding with our men in blue (bless each and every one of them) about a year ago. Something about a weed of all things and driving too fast. The way Todd Junior tells it, they recommended he stay with them for a while. I don’t know much about these things, but if that’s what Todd Junior thinks is best, who am I to argue?

“We expect him to start community college in a few years after he, Shelia and Todd III get on their feet. Yes, we have a beautiful grandson staying right here at the campsite. Shelia’s a keeper. Todd Junior, as luck would have it, met her at the Waffle House one morning after a night at the dog track. That girl stays busy looking for work just about every day.

“The good news is, Todd Junior will be able to ride his bicycle to school again when he gets out and the money they saved not having a car ... well, can you imagine?

“Little Todd III looks just like Uncle Melvin (picture enclosed) without the mustache. Of course it’s been a while since we’ve seen Melvin, being that he’s been AWOL from the Army for about three years now.

“Oh! Did I mention our new year’s resolution? Hold on to your selves. Each and every one of us is going to get a pedicure and a few new teeth, starting with me. I swear if my fingernails get any longer, Todd will never let me scratch that beautiful back of his. He says the long nails hang up in the hair. What a man. Plus, corn was always my favorite fruit and yes, it’s been quite a while.

“You’ll remember Barney, our mixed Labradoodle, who seemed to be in love with everybody he met? Well, he went to doggie heaven last month after an extended illness. Todd says there ought to be a special place on Earth for dogs like Barney. He’s ringing the bell at Wal-Mart as I write this and says the money will go a long way toward just that.

“Guess that’s it for now. Happy New Year from our tent to your house! Harriet Henratty for the Henrattys, Todd, Todd Junior, Todd III, Shelia, Uncle Melvin and Barney (picture enclosed).”

Sonny Harmon is an educator at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.

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