Thursday, December 6, 2012

This Year's Christmas Letter

I can feel it! This is the year my mom chooses my letter over her more boring and accurate latter!

Season's Greetings to all our friends and family. This year has seen the dawning of a new age of achievement for the Jarvis clan. While we've had our down times there have been more ups. And, so, we celebrate with this joyous message.

Wendy has enjoyed her solo career so far. She said that even though she enjoyed touring with the rest of the band and she loves them all very much they were getting to be creatively moribund and it was the right decision to break up. She calls from the road while her tour bus heads to the next venue but we still miss her. Being on the road eight months out of the year isn't easy but the music keeps her going. When the crowds cheer her on and seem to enjoy the newer songs it bevies her spirit and she feels the urge to crowd surf. When we asked her what she would miss the most if she gave up touring and just stayed in the studio she said "The studio's not Rock, man! I got to be free to feel the music."

Mike enjoys working in Costco's advanced cybernetics division but still harbors dreams of setting it all aside to ride the rails as a gentleman vagabond; telling stories to travelers in exchange for sponge baths. He recently shared with the family his extensive collection of hobo memorabilia like Old Blind Joe's bean pot and Crazy Larry's stabbing knife. He has taken to wandering down by the train tracks with a bindle and a wistful expression as he hears the trains whistle just over the horizon. He stares off into the middle distance and hums the tune to "Big Rock Candy Mountain" under his breath and mutters about how he would have been able to save Howie from that train. We keep trying to reassure him that Irene Hunt's book was just fiction but it doesn't make it any easier when he cradles his banjo and softly weeps. We're all a little worried about him.

Elizabeth, who has always been open about her hobby hunting the most dangerous game on her private island, secretly relishes the thought of kidnapping her dad from a rail yard somewhere and pitting her high powered rifle against his drifter's cunning. She also enjoys her efforts in our Nation's Capitol lobbying to increase funding for Sasquatch related research projects. "We will find him," she often exclaims assuredly at family events, "it's only a matter of time and resources." Through her efforts, she has gotten Senator Ron Wyden to co-sponsor a bill in the Senate with his colleague Maria Cantwell to re-purpose satellite and drone surveillance over the forests of the Pacific Northwest. We're all quite proud of her moxy.

Martin remains an elusive and enigmatic shadow presence in the backs of our minds and hearts. The Coast Guard assured us that there was no way anyone could have survived that tragic submarine fire but recent and cryptic messages posted as PM's to our facebook pages indicate that he had orchestrated the whole debacle and that he always had a plan for escape. What else could it mean when one receives the message: "You have been poked by a mysterious stranger"?

Matt has recently become acquainted with the cutthroat world of street corner shoe shining. He felt to try his hand at it after admiring how shiny the shoes were he followed to the corner one windy afternoon. A wizened dwarf sat poised with a cloth in hand on a tiny, three-legged stool next to a bench with a foot rest that put his customers' shoes within easy reach of his stubby fingers. Matt ignored the strong smell of cabbage and stood rapt for hours just watching scuffed foot wear become renewed and reborn with nothing more than spit and elbow grease, and a magic, black concoction the gnome kept in a tin at his feet. At day's end, while the dwarf stood knuckling his back before cleaning up his trade, Matt approached and gingerly sought to introduce himself. The dwarf moved like a flash and Matt found himself in the emergency room having his thumb reattached. Otherwise, his year was dull and uneventful.

Alice and the kids worry about Matt more than usual of late but they carry on despite their trepidation: Alice has begun training Henry much as she did Hannah when she reached nine years of age in the art of living statue busking. He hasn't gotten used to the silver paint but he is really catching on to the idea of standing still until his sudden movement can startle a Japanese tourist into dropping some change into his cup. Hannah will be glad of the company once he is fully trained and ready to join her at the bus depot down town. Alice is tough but fair as a coach. She is also training Hazel and Hailey with the goal of entering them in the rodeo sheep racing circuit. Hazel has quick hands and a firm grip; she is doing quite well. Hailey still requires a lot of duct tape to keep her from falling off even the dullest and slowest of sheep.

Amy believes that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your science and yells as much to every scientist she meets. She has been banned from every college campus within walking distance of the roadside petting zoo she and Michael opened this year. They live on the lot in an old trailer home. They like the spot because they get good reception on their mobile SETI array. Ever since Michael's abduction last year by clammy grey strangers from beyond the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt! He was out back, watering a bush late one night when suddenly a beam of light shined down on him, immobilizing him. He felt an eerie sense of weightlessness as his whole body stretched up and his toes left the ground. On the ship they demanded he play their equivalent of a board game much like our Chutes and Ladders he told me afterward. Amy found him that next day, unconscious with his pants around his ankles and smelling strongly of llama milk. They argued and Amy finally conceded that he would just have to prove it. So far, monitoring radio signals from space hasn't brought the desired proof but they're in it for the long haul.

We hope you have enjoyed sharing in our adventures this year past. It is also our hope that this letter finds you enjoying an equally accomplished year and that you are looking back in delight rather than despair. Next year is sure to be even better!

Merry Christmas from the Jarvis Family.


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