First, thank you for the piece of coal last year. It was not exactly what I was expecting, but really I should not have been surprised. My friends have explained that diamonds come from coal under pressure so I put mine under the mattress. After the first time LaWanna turned the mattress, I put it in a sandwich bag.
I just wanted to touch base with you before this Christmas. I have been pretty good this year. I was voted "Disgruntled Postal Employee of the Month" in March. I have responded cheerfully and in good taste to all the "Hot enough fer you?" and "Cold enough fer you?" "Kinda wet today, ain't it?". In my counseling work at Pre-Trial Diversion, I have kept a straight face while discussing the convicted felon's firmly held views on "justice". Those jobs helped me prepare for my first feeble efforts to serve as an elder of our congregation. During each passionate conversation about important issues like "If men didn't wear suits, it wouldn't be so cold in here" and "I don't like it when we sing during communion" I was able to refrain from shifting the conversation to trivial matters like the expanding acceptance in churches of homosexuality, divorce, and not paying your bills.
Also, I have tried to do better about my physical condition. I know I haven't really lost much weight since last year, but isn't losing a few pounds a lot better than I was doing when I was gaining some every year? Yes, I am behind on the brazen goal I set to loose 37 pounds by March 8, but I am trying. I have run in some bad weather and after dark. Of course, I still have a really hard time passing by cake and candy. Do I get extra credit for dragging lots of pounds through a triathlon, a mountain bike race, and an adventure race? Santa, you know better than most, those things are not easy for big boys. And I have noticed you don't usually miss the plate of cookies on Christmas eve.
I left this to last because I am afraid it is what will keep me from getting the toy I really want. About the way I have treated LaWanna......you are going to have to give me partial credit for trying. That sweeping and doing chores around the house is just so......boring. I know I need to do more. Lot's more. But really, she almost never says anything about it. Doesn't that mean she is o.k. with it? Do you think my efforts to buy her off with dates and eating out is working? She seems to really like going to the movies and eating the 50-gallon size popcorn with the 3 liter Diet Coke. I am not hoping for an "A" or "B" here--just a passing grade. Next year will be better. I really mean it this time.
Anyway, if I don't get any toys it will not be too bad. All three of our children and spouses still spend time with us and don't even seem embarrassed for us to be around their friends. That is more than enough. And my mother-in-law seems to really like me. Maybe more than LaWanna does. And with all the economic slow-down, LaWanna and I still have great jobs. Next year I only have to work three months before retiring and having a guaranteed income for life. It will not be enough to live on, but a defined annuity is a great blessing and maybe worth the 37 years I traded for it.
Now that I think about, just forget the toys. You can bring me some more coal and I will have the family over for some burgers (after I repair the patio cover) and we will tell stories and laugh. Yep, that is what I want for Christmas....simple food, time with family, and laughs. Lots of laughs.