How to Write a Christmas Letter

28 Feb

I know it isn’t the season, but there’s nothing like planning ahead. The following, from 2010, is an example of the drivel I’ve churned out for the last thirty-five years.

Merry Christmas to all. We made it most of the way through the year in good health and hope the same is true for you.

I took the week of Thanksgiving off to help Cheryl with the house and dinner. That Tuesday a toothache sent her to the dentist. He put in a new crown – they do it in one day now.

She’d banned all candy from the house, but I had a stash of peanut brittle in the basement. While she was gone, I did what I could to help by watching old movies and eating peanut brittle (I’m not allowed to clean without supervision ever since I got the butter stuck in the vacuum cleaner).

A filling popped out during the movie and the tooth cracked. I was able to get an appointment but had to wait for Cheryl to get home so I could use her car. Mine wouldn’t start and was towed to the shop as she got home.

The dentist told me his practice was built on peanut brittle—even thought it would be a good name for the boat he ordered while my crown ‘cured’. As I described this fiasco to a co-worker last week, I bit into a prune that still had parts of the pit and broke a front tooth.

Today, Cheryl gave me a choice of shoveling the driveway, Christmas shopping, or writing this damned letter. I didn’t hear ‘nap’ in the list, which seemed like an egregious oversight, so I asked her to repeat it. She told me to hop to it and do them all by supper. She’s been through this before.

First on my list was an anniversary card for our small engine repair shop. Hallmark doesn’t make one; I checked. The shop agreed to mount a tire on a wheel for our snow blower two years ago. They couldn’t find the right-sized tire and the shop moved in January. In June, when I tracked them down, they told me the tire had arrived and would be mounted tomorrow. There have been six tomorrows, four “we’ll drop it by next week,” three “we’ll drop by and put it on tonight,” and two Decembers.

They aren’t open on weekends, a machine answers the phone, and apparently it’s against the mechanic’s religion to return calls. He’s been studiously observant about that.

Cheryl dropped by the shop three times a day for a week. With each visit, she stood at the counter, chatted with other customers, and asked to talk to the owner. She was quiet and polite. When the owner became angry and loud during her last visit, she calmly asked if there would be a storage charge for the wheel. If so, could we get a reduced rate for the second year? He wasn’t amused, but she said the other customers loved it.

I thought I’d take care of the Christmas shopping by giving the kids and Cheryl electric knife-sharpeners–true one-stop shopping. None of the stores at the mall carried them. At Sears, a clerk asked me what kind of knives I wanted to sharpen.

I told him I make it a practice to only sharpen dull knives. I don’t mean to sound inflexible, but I have my standards. His expression indicated he wasn’t sure whether I was a simpleton or trying to turn his day into a Monty Python skit. He considered my answer and said the store didn’t carry sharpeners; however, he knew of a store in a city 200 miles away that did. He thought I could get there before it closed if I left immediately. He even escorted me to the door to help me get a fast start.

200 miles is a long drive. I came home and took a nap instead, which had been my original plan before Cheryl decided I should be ambitious. We hope your plans for 2011 are as successful.

Merry Christmas,

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: