[originally published in issue #466, December 24, 2009]
Dear Family and Friends,
We've had a busy year here, and are just glad it's almost over! The renovation, Jack's new job, the Change, and the twins finally starting full-day—it has been SOMETHING ELSE, and we're SO GLAD to finally get a chance to share it with all of our nearest and dearest!
Back in May Jack started his new job as Lead Project Manager at ChemGenTech's New Innovations Division, and that's kept him travelling so much that he's virtually become a stranger—poor little Ollie didn't even recognize him after Jack's 17th (!!!) big business trip this year, even AFTER Jack stripped off his containment suit and rinsed off the antiseptic jelly! I thought we'd have to tranquilize the poor little lamb to get him to sleep, but a warm milk and two extra songs did the trick. Speaking of Ollie, it's been a big year for him, too: In July he had his first little success on his birthday two-wheeler, and by September he was training-wheel free! As for the twins (always our Hot Topic!), even though Janey has had a few bad outbursts this year, Jacquie persuaded the Board not to press for judgement, and the two have been enjoying their days at school almost incident-free since October 31!
Unfortunately, all of the Good News isn't to say that we haven't had our setbacks this year. Once again, I was rejected by the Craft Fair Committee (fingers crossed for next year!), and in July the Badly Risen pierced our outer retaining wall, overrunning the compound's central courtyard and dismembering almost every one of our laying chickens. Thankfully, the electrified secondary line around the house held, and Janey and Jacquie were there to burn the "wrigglers" as the kids call them. Even little Ollie got in an the act! I don't like to brag, but I have to say that he is VERY handy with his little hatchet! Only FOUR YEARS OLD! It was easy to forget with the twins, but it's SO true: They grow up so fast!
In August, the Carter Clan was very honored to enjoy a brief but eventful visit from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who waltzed right up to our newly re-hung main gates and swept the barriers aside with a majestic wave of His divine and infallible hands—locks or no locks, without a peep from the automated 50-cals! The twins were quick to point out the dirty soles of His feet and ragged dungarees, but that couldn't do anything to dim the ecstatic and all-encompassing Glory of His friscallant halo. And when it was made clear that they could go to bed early with no desert for a whole week if there was any more rudeness to Our Guest, Janey and Jacquie banked the coals in their eyes, fidgeted their barbed tails, coiled their forked tongues, and zipped their lips. Children are a trial, aren't they? Even little angles like my J & J.
After a light lunch (with hand-squeezed lemonade, of course!), Our Lord opened the earth with a single pass of His hand, and together we passed down the 33 pearl steps into the dusky majesty of His Kingdom. Brave lil Ollie—Momma's little adventurer—tagged along, his little hatchet slipped into his belt as though I wouldn't notice. Boys will be boys!
And there, down in the still midnight luminance of His vaulted world, the Lord and Savior, he said a thing—I only wish I could recall the words just right for all of you—but it was like a song, an old tune that you'd recognize right away of someone were whistling it in the aisles of the food distribution center, but that you can't put together yourself—an old, far-off song, and hearing it just filled my mouth and nose with the light twisted tang of summer beach afternoons. It was like a song, but also like a warm muffler knitted from long strands of blood, and like a cake that melts in your mouth and makes your brain burn like the sun's lightless black twin. Standing down there in the bowels of the Earth with the Lord's Only Son, it was all so clear: The Badly Risen and the girls' searing little tantrums and the dragon that ate the sun for most of last February and the names, the odd, sing-song names that Jack sighs in his sleep—Viet Tuyen and Claudette and Abdul Alhazred—his fat little erection poking my thigh like a naughty puppy snout.
And to see it all so clearly made my nipples stand out like twin match-head embers in the dank dark of a well, or a pair of distant live stars being used by primitive sailors to feel their way across a void, boundless, unknowable sea. It was wonderful because it was Full of Wonders.
But, mostly, it was a pleasure to know, not just what everything is, but why, and to know that there was a sense to the whole thing. And I don't know when I started screaming, but it sure put a scare into poor little Ollie, because when I could see again, well he was just as white as a freshly pressed sheet, and the little flecks of the Lord's blood stood out like a spray of freckles across his nose and forehead—adorable!
But he's a good boy, and even as he and I made that long, dim walk back up the Lord's 33 steps alone, he didn't hardly sniffle even one bit, and back at the house, he cleaned every steak of blood from his hatchet without a single reminder from anyone.
Oh, there is just oodles to tell about a year, but here I've prattled on like a chicken with it's head cut off, and there's always so much more to get done here than there is clear light to do it in. Just remember that we love you and miss you and hope that maybe we'll hear just a little bit more from and about you in the coming year. Wishing you all the most Peace, Love, Vengeance, Tranquility, Succor, and Righteous Wrath you can stand, now and in the coming year—AMEN!
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