Archived Story

Christmas letter 2011

Published 10:02am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Column: Tales From Exit 22

Dear (please insert your name here),

I’m taking time off from my quest to find peculiar uses for duct tape to pen my annual Christmas letter. Please excuse the stains. They are not drool. I eat juicy clementines as I write. The tasty little cuties help my spelling and get the taste of the potpourri I just ate out of my mouth. I thought it was a snack item. I’m not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.

I’ve written many Christmas letters when holly berries become grapes of wreath. My first was inscribed with a Ticonderoga No. 2 yellow pencil in a Big Chief notebook while on break from creating macaroni art. Macaroni art is a great gift and a recipient never goes hungry. This was during an era when our Christmas lights provided more dead bulbs than a neglected tulip farm and I wore clip-on bowties to church.

The Christmas decorations are up at the Batt Cave. I spray-painted all our light bulbs red and green.

I just got a free 2012 calendar from the co-op. I’d like to get a few more. That would finish my Christmas shopping, but I’m not putting all my Christmas eggs in one free calendar basket. My wife, The Queen B, and I have been marching through stores like Sherman through Georgia. She thinks she is the boss of me because she is the oldest child in her family while I’m the baby of mine. Babies rule. Our parents had us because they weren’t happy with the children they had.

Here is a shopping hint. Your loved ones have been giving you hints all year. Even with a list of hinted items, shopping isn’t without surprises. I saw Mommy cussing Santa Claus. My shopping maxim is that you can’t have the whole enchilada and a little bit is better than nada.

I gave thought as to what to buy everyone. I didn’t want a repeat of last year. Oh, I gave some thought on what to buy everyone then, too. On Dec. 24, I thought, “I’d better buy some gifts.” It was just luck that I ran across the perfect shovel for The Queen B.

Aunt Hulda can be hard to buy for. Hulda, who is recovering from hip replacement surgery, will get a hula-hoop this year.

I got my brother-in-law Clueless Les a GPS so he could find his rear end with both hands.

Cousin Clem, struggling with his obsessive-compulsive disorder, never stops singing, “Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, etc.”

I bought Clem a used pet rock.

Uncle Ox found a couple of surprises under his Christmas tree. His dog hates going outside in cold weather. Ox feels sorry for the people who winter in the south and have to make dirt angels. Ox plays our Santa Claus. His Buick has a bumper sticker that reads, “Ask me about your grandkids.”

I got Ox an SUV — socks, umbrella and vise grips.

I found the perfect gift for my wife — a receipt from a food store that entitles her to a discount of 5 cents a gallon on gas.

At a time when I miss members of my family so much that I hug photographs, I’ve learned to cherish those present, especially those who cook. One brings a pecan pie, her specialty. Another brings the ham, her specialty. I bring my appetite, my specialty. Another brings fruitcake, her specialty bought at Bob’s Discount Food Emporium. The cats use the fruitcake as a scratching post.

My lawyer, Mel Practiss, sent me his annual Christmas letter reading in full, “After much consideration, your contract of friendship has been renewed for 2012. It was a difficult decision. Don’t make me regret it. My bill for this letter is enclosed.”

We put much thought and effort into the shopping process. It took 15 hours to wrap presents that will take 15 seconds to open.

After all these words, I can sum it up by saying that The Queen B and I are blessed beyond words.

May your credit cards heal quickly and may the holes in your Swiss cheese line up and bring peace on earth, if not everywhere, at least in Congress.

Merry Christmas.

Your pal,

Al

 

Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.