Al Batt: Life is good, and I hope that you are, too

Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tales From Exit 22 by Al Batt

Dear You know who you are,

  You’ve been at the front of my mind.

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  Despite that, you’re still getting the annual Christmas letter from the Batt Cave, in which I share too much information. There are those who consider writing a Christmas letter to be an onerous task. Others consider reading a Christmas letter an onerous task. I’m in neither camp. I enjoy sending and receiving letters.

  This is a reality-based letter. It’s loosely based on reality, not unlike the reality of reality TV shows. Most letters are humble and warm, but some border on the obnoxious. I understand that. I’m a grandfather. You get Christmas letters where you learn how green is everyone else’s valley and that everyone is doing better than you are. It’s your choice whether to use that information for good or evil.

  My wife refuses to participate in the writing of this particular letter, something she refers to fondly as a pack of lies. What a kidder. Because of that, this will be an “I” letter instead of a “we” missive.

  I played Christmas music as I wrote this because it’s the acceptable Christmas music season. I listened to “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt 46 times.

  I shopped until my bank account dropped. I think I’m done buying gifts, but the safety pin isn’t back in the hand grenade yet.

  Here is the news from the neighborhood. Please use your imagination to place emojis in that cartoon bubble above your head as you read them.

  The weather has been cold and warm. As evidenced by the front page of this newspaper, it’s never cold enough to keep everyone behaving. It hasn’t been warm enough to allow the Neighborhood Watch Group, most of them wear a Timex, to break out the Speedos. That’s a gift to everyone.

  My neighbor Still Bill, you have to drive stakes by him to see if he’s moving, claims that the weather doesn’t agree with him. He said there is a reason that the bird of paradise doesn’t live here. I got him a tote bag that has “Fair to partly cloudy on it.” Now, whenever anyone asks him how he is doing, he can just point to his tote bag.

  My neighbor Scooter found his lost wedding band. Everyone was still in it except for the tuba player. Scooter built a snow machine this year. It works, but it’s an odd contraption. It’s an abominable snowmobile.

  My neighbor Weasel’s oldest boy is going to medical school. Not for many years, I hope. He donated his body to science. Weasel remains an enigma. He loves reality TV, but doesn’t care much for reality.

  I got the brothers-in-law gifts. Nothing tells a brother-in-law how much you care for him more than a lutefisk TV dinner. Getting something isn’t always as much fun as wanting something.

  Each year at this time, my neighbor Crandall gives up his beloved peanut butter and puts a grape-flavored spread on his toast. It’s the season to be jelly.

  Here’s a tip. As tasty as it is, a lime Jell-O salad with shredded carrots and Miracle Whip isn’t a good gift to mail to an aunt who sends you the petrified fruitcake, even if it’s a case of just desserts.

  I’ve tried to remember that scraping the ice off car windows is good exercise. It warms me like the Arizona sun. One day, in my zeal, I scraped my car away completely. This year, I splurged and put snow\rain\hail\sleet\flood\drought\pothole tires on the car. Better safe than sorry.

  After it snows, I take a stroll down the walk. Then I shovel wherever there are footprints. This shoveling could get me drummed out of LAWS, an organization I founded. LAWS stands for ”Let A Woman Shovel.”

  The unreadable scrawl at the end of this letter is my signature. A family member, who shall go unnamed, (I’d never narc on my grandmother) sent unsigned Christmas cards so that the recipient could reuse them. It was her gift. Christmas is all about giving.

  You probably deserve coal (your cellphone knows if you’ve been good or bad), but I hope there is a mix-up in the records and you get joy and laughter instead. And pizza. May your personal growth be apparent in places other than just the bathroom scale.

  Please remember when wants and needs blur, blessings shine.

Merry Christmas,

  Al and Marilyn

(My wife’s name isn’t Marilyn. She was adamant about not having her name on this.)

Al Batt’s columns appear in Tribune Wednesdays and Saturdays.