One more letter from the hit parade. This one from 2004.
December 12, 2004
A week ago, we were ready for forego our annual collaborative effort toward a Christmas letter. Since I’ve been taking two night classes, things have progressed from bad to worse around the homestead. I’m done tomorrow night, though, and all the papers and PowerPoint presentations and other academic debris are in a pile by the door, ready to be turned in. Now, I can start thinking about putting up a real tree since Regis didn’t think the string of lights I threw in the hibiscus tree was very artistic. (Regis notes: Yup, it looked a little like the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy train made a stop in old Petticoat Junction.) Once again, we’re going to let Garrison Keillor help us with the letter. All the stuff in red is his.
I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.
Regis is still working at Slumberland but he moved from the Clearance Center to the main store. About a week after he moved, the economy went in the toilet so he’s been regretting that decision ever since. (Regis notes: I do get one weekend a month off however, which the owners of Slumberland consider adequate recompense for my lack of income.) He volunteers at the library once a week and enjoys the peace and quiet…and the dumb questions.
Librarians possess a vast store of politeness. These are people who get asked regularly the dumbest questions on God's green earth. These people tolerate every kind of crank and eccentric and mouth-breather there is.
I am still with the St. Peter Public Schools. This past spring I received an invitation to a reception where I would receive, along with several other teachers, a twenty-five year plague. No mention of whether it was locusts or boils. I did call the person who was coordinating the event and say that twenty-five years of teaching EBD kids was about all the plague I needed, thank you very much.
Age does not always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone.
A quick update on the offspring. Bob and Emily were married in September in a beautiful ceremony in her mom’s Victorian house in Fairmont. I cried through the whole thing. What a surprise. Our new daughter-in-law is a massage therapist and manager at the Liv Aveda Spa in Mankato. Reggie and Bob are working at Ameripride, covering parts of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. They keep in touch by cell phone when they’re driving the back roads. (Regis notes: I see that Teresa forgot to mention that I performed the marriage ceremony. It was my second of the year.)
English is the perfect language for preachers because it allows you to talk until you think of what to say.
Tiffany is living and working in Uptown (Minneapolis). She works two part-time jobs: one at Kowalski’s and one at Burch Pharmacy. It’s a lot of work for not much money. Her boyfriend, Connor, cooks at Lee Ann Chin’s just down the street from where they live.
Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.
Peter, our transient student, is back in Mankato, this time at East High School. He continues to cause us a fair amount of anxiety but we are reassured from time-to-time by well-meaning friends, that he will grow up and stop asking for money.
Selective ignorance is a cornerstone of child rearing. You don't put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.
After a long illness, my dad died in July. We got through it all, illness and death, with the help of good neighbors and family, a bottle of wine now and then, and the wonderful folks of Hospice. (Regis notes: There are some voids that can never be filled. Estle will be missed.)
It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars.
Like every other year we’ve written a Christmas letter, I’ll email this to Regis, he’ll say it’s too sappy and change a few things. I tend to be nostalgic and sentimental at Christmas time; he tends to be a little cynical and wise-ass, but only on the outside. (Regis notes: Right, I’m just a barrel of freakin’ benevolence and compassion on the inside.)
Humor is not a trick, not jokes. Humor is a presence in the world — like grace — and shines on everybody.
That’s about it for this year. We wish you a happy holiday and some humor and grace in the New Year. (Regis notes: Everybody needs someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. If you are lacking in any of these three areas get your butt in gear and find it this New Year! Bless you all.)
Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.
Regis and Teresa