Dear Family and Friends,
Ever have one of those years when the sun starts to come out from behind the
clouds, you see a light at the end of the tunnel and your kids start acting likes responsible adults? Not the Franklins!
This time last year, the Franklins were enjoying
a revolutionary coup in Honduras—it’s
amazing how much gunfire sounds like celebratory fireworks. Honduras is
yet another Central American country where the monkeys have better table manners and the dolphins higher I.Q.s than the Franklin children. Of note was Jimmy Franklin winning the dance contest
during the “Island Nights” dinner fiesta, thus benchmarking his moves for future fraternity parties and college
Speaking of Jimmy, he’s now a senior at Mira Costa High School
and turned 18 this year, becoming a legal adult. Nancy woke
her son by saying “Happy B-day, Jimmy! Now everything you do is a potential felony.” If Jimmy thought living with
Mom and Dad was awful, he was reminded about the amenities at the “big house” and sharing a room with a new BFF
named “Mad Dog”. And just to save the FBI some time when the Franklin children inevitably get caught for doing
something they think they’re sneaking by their parents, Joe and Nancy had the kids’ mug shots and fingerprints
taken in Boston on spring break. It’s amazing how your kids’ behavior will improve when they know they’re
already in the FBI files.
Nancy and Joe decided to let Jimmy spend a few days this summer in Sitka, Alaska, fishing with his Uncle
Larry and cousin Kevin. This was an opportunity for Uncle Larry to replace some of that income he lost when he retired by
winning the boys’ travel money in poker; Which turned out to be not nearly enough compensation for having to avoid flying
fishhooks and sharing a log cabin with two teenage boys who can strip the paint off a wall simply by removing their shoes.
And they don’t call it “Deadliest Catch” for nothing: Jimmy brought home over 100 lbs. of salmon and halibut,
as well as his own “deadliest catch” which arrived via his colon. Giardia is a nasty little parasite that causes
all kinds of intestinal distress. And after about two months of cohabitating with the noxious gas cloud that “passed”
as Jimmy, and thinking it was just his teenage diet of pizza, burgers and bean burritos, the remaining Franklin family members
voted him out of the bathroom and into the office of a gastroenterologist. And thank the dear Lord that Jimmy is 18! Because
when you’re 18, you can collect your OWN stool sample!
Taylor, now 17 and a Mira Costa junior, continues to show incredibly poor taste
in heartthrobs. This year, it’s the rather pale and slack-jawed Robert Pattinson, star vampire in the “Twilight”
series, whose hair looks as if rutting gerbils are nesting therein. For those of you unfamiliar with the trilogy, it’s
the story of a sullen, teenage girl (is there any other kind?) who lives in Forks, Washington
and who makes poor choices in men. Of course in Forks, Washington,
the women are women and the men are….vampires and werewolves. Nancy says Forks is a real
town in Washington State
and had she known that at least half the men would be built like Taylor Lautner (werewolf), she might have spent more time
there. Taylor and Nancy were invited to spend a day on the “Twilight: New Moon” Vancouver
set where it was great sport for Nancy to watch her daughter
have a seizure every time Mr. Pattinson got close. In the airport on the way back, Taylor
ran into Brett Michaels, former member of the rock group “Poison”, and current star in his own reality series.
He looks like he should be facing Chris Hanson on “To Catch a Predator” but Taylor
starts shaking and giggling like a “Tickle Me Elmo” and insists on having her picture taken with him.
Taylor is still
playing softball for the Mira Costa Mustangs as well as for her travel team, the Lady Knights. Often billed as the Lady “Nights”,
this team would have more success making balls (cheese, snow, fuzz, whatEVER!) than hitting them. It’s like watching
buffalo run off a cliff in slow motion—you can see it coming, they know there’s a cliff, and yet they can’t
stop that inexorable slide into the abyss. This summer, the Lady Knights were inexplicably invited to participate in the Northwest
Softball World Series up in some cow-pie infested pasture 40 miles outside of Seattle.
The Lady Knights eventually stumbled into first place in the U16 bracket and third place in the U18. It wasn’t even
a fair fight; the home team players were continually blinded by the sun, which made its annual 3-week appearance during the
tournament, which, in turn, sent the Seattle players running
for cover like slugs from a salt shaker.
her breakneck ride to Hell in a hand-basket via Catholic healthcare provider Providence Health & Services, where she is
Regional Director of Marketing & Communications. Last year, as an ill advised Secret Santa, she inadvertently gave mistletoe
to one of the nuns, earning her a spot in the Sisters’ prayers for the better part of the holiday season. Nancy, whose age, Joe says, can now only be determined through ice core
sampling (which, when combined with hot flashes gives Joe an understanding of how that “Icy/Hot” medication works),
continues her karate training. She recently tested for her yellow belt, at the end of which she muttered that she felt like
the scarecrow in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ after he’d been attacked by the flying monkeys— a ruptured spleen
over here; slipped disc over there; and a prolapsed uterus and incontinent bladder somewhere in the middle of the dojo. Anyone
who thinks jumping rope, handstands and the splits are good exercises for a woman over 50 needs to have a talk with a gynecologist
or a structural engineer.
Nancy is happy
to report that Joe has backed off on the holiday decorations this year. Having achieved a certain notoriety for his overwhelming
lighting displays without electrocuting himself, he felt it best to retire while he still had opposable thumbs. Joe continues
his infatuation with tennis and was a repeat winner this year in the Manhattan Open Tennis Tournament’s “Geezer
Division”. There were more “ringers” in that tournament than in the bell tower at Notre Dame, but “Geriatric
Joe” and his partner, “Nappin’ Nelson” managed to take the doubles title in a denture-clenching three
As this year came to an end, the Franklins once
again found themselves in the dark, cold and damp; butts adhered to aluminum seats; in a football stadium on the outer limits
of Los Angeles County
and Purgatory. Coach Morrow must have given the “We are Sparta!”
speech of his life because the Mira Costa Mustangs were not coming back with a loss and their loincloths dragging behind them.
The Mustangs scored a field goal in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter and their defense held to win the CIF Division
III Championship. Pandemonium ensued as the parents and students stormed the field, creating a giant mosh pit, basking in
the glory of sweaty boys and a driving rain. Jimmy and his team, having suffered through years of year-round practices, 2-a-days,
and the loss of valuable computer game-playing time, will each get rings—and we understand they will have more “bling”
than the grillwork on a rap star’s teeth.
And so, again this year, the Franklins
give thanks for Tivo, their abundance of family, good friends and neighbors, Advil, and the magic of the forward pass. May
you have abundant blessings in 2010.
Joe, Nancy, Jimmy and Taylor
Copyright 2009 Nancy Franklin