Christmas, 1998
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Christmas, 1998

Dear Family and Friends,


Let us begin this letter by apologizing for this year's Christmas cards which, apparently, looked spectacularly better last year at 50% off in the grocery store than they do now!


It's been another pretty good year for the Franklins. Jimmy is now 7, Taylor 6 and both are aggressively tackling their school assignments. Jimmy is an avid member of the "Reading Club". He chose that quiet and dignified venue in which to have his usual loss of self control, politely raising his hand and asking the blue-haired school marm if he might "break wind" in class. On the one hand, Joe and Nancy will never be asked to chair the elementary cotillion committee. On the other, they are thrilled that the "manners drills" have paid off!


Both kids amaze their parents with their domestic skills. Why it was only a few weeks ago, about 6AM, when morning is just a sliver of light, that both children shuffled in and loudly announced 'We changed the toilet paper all by ourselves!" As Nancy pulled the sheets over her head, she managed to mumble that her job was done as they now know more than their father. . .


Taylor and Jimmy continue to burn up the fields and courts athletically. Taylor scored three goals in her opening soccer game. Then she figured out that it didn't matter how many goals you score, the after-game snacks are not going to come any faster than the end of the game.


Jimmy was recruited to play basketball for the all-Asian league. Yeah, The Franklins don't understand it either but it makes it really easy to spot their son in the game.


Of course, if this year was marked by anything, it would be for the spectacular series of vacations and getaways which Joe imposed upon one and all. In April, it was a dude ranch in Arizona where he used to be a wrangler a quarter century ago. Nancy can honestly say that probably not a single thing has changed since then. The best way to describe it, for those of you who need a visual, would be to just pick the dusty, dry, tumbleweed-blown opening of any Clint Eastwood movie. The kids had a fabulous time, because while it was still too cold for tarantula rodeos and rattlesnake roping, it was just right for shoveling horse manure. Joe and Nancy felt that this was great practice for their future executive jobs; the only difference is that in their future jobs, they'd be doing it in suits...


Joe got into camping next, and these trips made last year's RV excursion look like a week at any Ritz-Carlton. The Franklins savored such staples of camping as three days in the same underwear, sharing a 4-man tent with six other people, having a campsite next to a bachelor party kegger and, on one particularly memorable occasion, being approximately 30 yards from the 5:30AM Amtrak freight run. Joe is thinking that next year if would be really keen to go to Costa Rica where they have scorpions as big as kittens...


On the career front, both Joe and Nancy are still employed. They have no idea what the other does but they have a bargain: Joe promises that Nancy will never come home and find a foreclosure notice taped to the door and Nancy promises that a S. W .A. T. team and helicopters will never surround the house, light it up and shout "Come out with your hands up!"


Which brings us to Joe's "Christmas Vision". It should be noted that, metaphorically speaking, Joe is damn near blind in one eye and nearsighted in the other making his "vision" look a great deal like Chevy Chase's "Christmas Vacation". Which is a nice way of saying that when you pass by the Franklins' you'll see a snowman flag, several strings of icicle lights, racing colored lights, a 4' garish gold star, 3 lighted reindeer, one blinking Christmas tree...and a partridge in a pear tree! And although this has temporarily lowered the neighbors' property values, the house is the sugar plum dream of every spawn under the age of 10. Nancy is convinced that this will be valuable only when the kids can be embarrassed by it.


And so we, once again, give thanks for all that has happened to us and, just as importantly, for all that hasn’t happened to us. And especially for you, our family and friends, who continue to allow us to share our lives with you.


May you have blessings and happiness in 1999!




Joe, Nancy, Jimmy and Taylor