My father-in-law, Larry, has a great gift for writing amusing Christmas letters. I’m sure you realize, if you’ve been sifting through your mail box this season, what a rare gift this is. Since I’ve been too lazy to post much in the last week, please enjoy my witty in-law in my stead.
Time flies. Betty White is almost 90. Elvis has been dead for 34 years. Miss Nora, the Princess of Portland, is 4 ½ already. And it’s time for another edition of our Oatmeal People Christmas Letter. Life is bland. And that’s just fine with us.
Last winter we made the grave error of not planning a mid-winter getaway. We spent merciless weeks hunkered down under layers of quilts, sipping tea, softly moaning to ourselves. So to make up for it, we took a trip to Winnipeg in July. The Riviera of the northern prairie. We realized that Canadians are Oatmeal People too. Just like us. How nice. Everywhere we went, calmness, politeness and civility reigned. Drivers stopped for pedestrians. Clerks took our American dollars with a smile (probably something to do with the exchange rate, no doubt), and the newspapers weren’t filled with political hogwash. A veritable plethora of pleasantness.
We were able to visit Ben, Sue and Nora in Portland twice this year. Our first trip was at Easter, with a jaunt to the beach for kit flying and nibbling of chocolate eggs. We returned for Halloween and a rousing round of trick-or-treating with Nora. She was a Rainbow Witch, something she made up herself. And we disguised ourselves as overprotective grandparents. Very convincing in every aspect. After we left, Nora told her parents, “I miss my daddy’s mom.” Awwwww.
We did a fair amount of biking this summer. One particularly fun ride was from Red Wing to Cannon Falls on the Cannon Valley Trail. It was wonderfully scenic, flat, shaded, and cool. We stopped for sandwiches at a quaint little deli where Barack Obama had lunch the following week. We keep telling people we lunched with the President…almost.
If you’ve been a faithful reader of our Oatmeal People Chronicle, you are perhaps wondering about Lucille, Elizabeth’s geriatric cat. We are happy to report that she is still alive, frisky, and well. That’s good news for us all. I’d hate to have to mention a dead cat in the Christmas letter. However, Elizabeth recently returned custody of Lucille to the friend who gave her to her in the first place. It wasn’t that Lucille was unwanted. Quite the contrary. It’s just that Elizabeth and her boyfriend Erik adopted a rambunctious puppy that would have terrorized that frail creature. Otis is part husky, part golden retriever, and all adolescent dog. Elizabeth says that if he were a person he would spend his evenings standing on street corners, smoking cigarettes and yelling obscenities at passing cars. They are hopeful that he will soon outgrow his puppiness and start behaving himself in public.
Larry continues to be fully entrenched in retirement, with Debbie stubbornly hanging onto her career. She still teaches a few classes at St. Cloud State, works part time for the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls as a Children & Families Associate, and does a bit of consulting/training along the way. The woman who helps us with our taxes looked at the stack of Debbie’s W-2 forms and dryly said, “You certainly have a lot of jobs for someone who’s retired.”
Nora is absolutely excited about Christmas. We can’t imagine anything more magical than being her age. We will do our best to make it special when they visit in a few weeks. All we need now is some snow. And a big bowl of oatmeal, of course.
And Merry Christmas from Mommy’s Pen!