Dear Family and Friends,
As this year draws to a close,
Nancy and Joe are filled with a renewed sense of holiday giving. They’ve discovered that it is better to give medication to their children
than to receive it themselves. So in spite of what Jimmy and Taylor may remember about this year, these are probably just the children’s
little “acid flashbacks.”
This time last year, Joe had
decided to take his family out for Chinese food….in China. Nancy has two words to say about that trip: Squat toilets. Squat toilets are, literally, holes in the ground. They are dug
into dirt or porcelain lined, but holes in the ground nonetheless. You simply squat over the hole. Let’s just say that
the last time Nancy had the level of muscle tone needed to keep from falling into the toilet, she was in the back seat of a Ford Pinto
with a fellow who shall remain nameless. Until the Chinese set their sights right up there next to American Standard or Kohler,
tourism there will always be, (pardon the expression) a “crap shoot”.
There was also the night in China when the Franklins, returning to the apartment
in Beijing loaned to them by friends, watched in horror as the only set of apartment keys fell through the cracks in the elevator
shaft. The keys twisted slowly, glinting once, maybe twice, like the rainbow scales on a river trout, before disappearing
to the basement of the nine story apartment. You try explaining that situation to the Chinese guard with the big, red star
on his fur hat.
Joe then dragged the family on
to Thailand. The Franklins drove an oxcart, steered a bamboo raft down a jungle river, held monkeys on their laps (without
testicular injury!) and rode elephants. In many ways, elephants are like husbands—they move logs, play basketball, bathe
infrequently and will stick their trunks into your crotch at every opportunity. Nancy would like to clarify that any resemblance between
that piece of elephantine anatomy and Joe is simply wishful thinking.
This was a great year for the
kids. Jimmy, now 14, played Lucencio in “The Taming of the Shrew” as part of his elective course rotation. This
required he wear tights. Imagine standing in the girls’ department of Target fitting a sullen Jimmy for tights as he
hid behind every display rack in the area. Nancy made a mental note to buy his next jock strap and cup in a smaller size, just for fun.
Jimmy continues to run aimlessly
around the field for the El Segundo Eagles. In spite of this, the Eagles went undefeated again this year, obliterating most
of their opponents. Then, in the playoffs, went up against a team that focused more on gaining yardage than the cheerleaders,
and never scored a point.
Taylor hit the big 1-3 this year and is now, officially, a teenager. As promised, her parents let her
get her ears pierced, adding two more holes to the larger one between her ears. The hole where her brain used to be is now
filled with important information about boys, cosmetics, name brand fashions and total disdain for parents. Nancy and Joe
have taken to treating Taylor as one, extended Discovery Channel nature show. Every time she emerges from her bedroom there’s
the usual scratching, foraging for food, lengthy hygiene habits and communicating with others of her kind in a strange and
Grandma Boynton took Jimmy and
Taylor on a 2-week “bonding” trip to Alaska this past summer. Apparently trying to kill them, Grandma took them kayaking with killer whales,
fishing with bears, hiking in the wilderness, glacier climbing, dog sledding, helicopter touring and, in her usual way of
ignoring her daughter’s request to not put the children in harm’s way, paragliding. Grandma finally learned what
Nancy and Joe have known all along: they’re the reason we need a good stiff drink at the end of the day.
While Taylor and Jimmy were morphing
into adolescence, Nancy was busy with changes of her own. Now old enough to have her age determined by carbon dating, she continues to search
for a bra with hydraulic lifts. This was the year she left Tenet HealthSystem (graciously) and accepted a job opening the
new Century City
Doctors Hospital. This is much like
having an alien burst from your abdomen, which reminds Nancy of that great proverb: “That which doesn’t kill you allows you to continue to endure
After countless years of going
unrewarded and unheralded for his enthusiastic holiday light displays, Joe is finally getting his six minutes of fame—an
appearance on HGTV’s (Home & Garden TV channel) “Warm Weather -White Christmas” (check your local listings
as it will be showing several times in December.) It’s a show about how people in warm climates decorate for the holidays.
And even though Nancy described the decorations as “white trash Christmas” the producers were undeterred. So, in April of this
year (yes, April), Nancy and Joe found themselves reliving the nightmare of stringing lights and climbing on the roof. This
is how they discovered the crack in one of their roof support beams. After building the “tension” of the reality
format and answering such questions as “What do you think of your husband” (“He’s certifiable”)
and “Do you think you’ll finish in time?” (“Only if you get out of the way, ***hole!”), the
Franklins DID finish on time and were able to light it up for the entire neighborhood. Of course if the film crew had really
wanted a reality moment, they should have stuck around when Nancy reminded Joe that he would have to put this all up again
in December. There was some heated debate about leaving up the whole darn mess, but neither Nancy nor Joe wanted to deal with
the neighbors who would have probably dropped them notes about declining property values.
And so, as the year ends, the
Franklins give thanks for their family and friends who put up with them. And they send their prayers and blessings to those
in Iraq as well as to those who will be approaching the first anniversary of the Indonesian tsunami, which
the Franklins were fortunate to avoid. May everyone find peace in the New Year.
Happy Holidays! Joe, Nancy, Jimmy
and Taylor Franklin