Christmas Letter 2009

I didn’t actually go through the effort of sitting in front of the screen for an hour before realizing there was nothing to say in the Christmas letter this year.  I knew it before I began.

There was no big news. Nobody in the family climbed any faraway mountains, or took any fantastic trips.  We all went to the beach like we usually do, for all the same reasons and with much the same result.  Nobody died, or got married, or had babies.  Everyone is pretty much in the same health at the end of the year as they were in the beginning.  Dan can probably bench press a few more pounds, Sara can run farther, Rachel can spin faster, and Jon’s shoulder will be stronger after it heals from the surgery.   Everyone has the same job at the end of the year that they had at the beginning. This is slightly better news for Rachel and Jon than it is for Sara, who would like to have more challenging things to do. Dan is still working on his engineering degree; that certainly seems like a job.

We are still in the same house in Manassas that we’ve been in for 25 years. The garden has no room for any more flowers or shrubs. The ones that we do have are becoming as accustomed to their locations as we to theirs.  We didn’t harvest the basil this year in favor of being able to look at it and smell it when we walked past.  The jar of pesto at COSTCO only cost $10 and was about as good as what we would have made.

None of us won any great awards, was elected or appointed to high office, or made any important discoveries. Our pictures were not in the paper, on a milk carton, or on the wall in the post office. Our identities were not stolen, and we collectively were involved in only one minor traffic accident, which was not our fault.  (You never tell anyone about a traffic accident that *was* your fault, do you?)

We spent a little more time on Facebook than we did last year. Many lost relationships were found after more decades than we should admit. That was wonderful. Facebook also made current relationships more convenient to not maintain. That wasn’t good.  No tool will ever fill a void of ambition. We are not even tempted by Twitter. You’re not missing much.

We will have the same people together for the Holidays.  Christmas dinner is at our house this year, because it wasn’t last year. After all the make-believe discussion of new foods, the official menu will be the same, to Sara’s chagrin. The same people will bring the same contraband, non-approved items.  So long as there is enough roast beef and potatoes, Dan will be happy.

So, you see, nothing really happened. It will be up to everyone else to fill the void this year.

We will wait, with bated breath, for our friends’ holiday letters to arrive, hopefully with more interesting news.  We will vicariously relive the thrills of straight A’s, liver dialysis, bus trips through five European countries in three days, and sports trophies.  We will see stunning photos, skillfully rendered in the margins, of people we can barely make out doing things we can hardly understand.

I hope our letter isn’t too disappointing. All things considered, we had a pretty good year.

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