Dear Family and Friends:
I suppose that youre all wondering what happened to the Halffs ("the Virginia Halffs" I should say, out of respect for all those other Halffs, who can make their own excuses for not sending out a Christmas letter) Christmas letter last year.
Well, you see, my boss, to save money on heat, keeps our office on the cool side in winter. Maybe one or two coals in the morning to last us all day. (We work late on Christmas eve too.) So when came time to write the Christmas letter my hands were so cold and cramped that I couldnt work the keyboard "No," she says (she being my boss), "that one wont cut it. Make up another one. And keep you mitts out of that coal bin!"
Ah, well; how about this one. I was just sitting down to write the annual Christmas letter, when the phone rang. It was George, again. "Look, Henry, we need you full time on this transition thing. I dont think well be able to stay with Cavazos as ."
"Look," she says, "if you cant own up to a simple case of writers block, Why dont you just get started on this years letter. This is not the time to get into fiction. And get those Salvation Army people off the doorstep, will you."
So, here it is, the Third Almost-Annual Virginia Halffs Impersonal Christmas Form Letter.
Good news, only, this season. We offer, for example, the restoration of U. S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. Nancy has persuaded the nations foremost quality trainer, Dianne Galloway (but you knew that) to form a partnership whose modest aim is to provide Baldrige-competition training to industry. Their initial offerings are do-it-yourself quality-improvement courses, but look next year for the Galloway Halff Quality-Improvement Summer Camp, the Galloway Halff Quality-Improvement Diet, and Galloway Halff Quality-Improvement Fitness Centers. General Motors, your salvation is at hand.
This was also the year of the party, not the generic party, not Malcolm Forbes party, the party, the one commemorating Texas Grandma and Grandpas 50th.But I digress. The party was really an experiment on how endurance changes with age. Phase I was the infinite receiving line; Texas Grandma won with over 300 handshakes. Then there was eat-a-thon and the walk-around-and-greet-everyone (winner: Texas Grandma, again). Then the play recounting the six-week, fifty-year old courtship, and the dance marathon, and the reverse infinite receiving line. The final phase was the after-party slump:
Larry: "Im going to bed.
Henry: "Boy am I tired."
Texas Grandpa: "Who wants to take the dog for a walk."
As youve no doubt heard, this has also been Europes year. Buoyed by the prospects for political freedom in the East and economic freedom in the West, Germany, Great Britain, and Yugoslavia all found themselves secure enough to allow Larry to complete a semester of study in their cities. The program went well, we think. In Dubrovnik, there is still talk of Larrys influential paper, "Serbian elections: the sure way to Yugoslavian unity." And, the significance of his presence in London at the time of Ms. Thatchers resignation has not escaped experts on European affairs.
Larry is back for Christmas now, and the oil prices have retreated. Earlham is bracing itself (half celebrating, half cowering) for his return next year.
Here in Arlington, things havent changed much. We keep buying newer bigger computers. We were so busy playing with them this year that we completely missed our Bomumble Bay vacation. Nonetheless, we managed to make it to San Diego for Thanksgiving (sandwiched between my trips to San Antonio for the Air Force and Monterey for the DoD).
Were staying home this Christmas. Drop by and spend some time with us if you can. Even if you cant, be sure to light candles, give gifts, sing, dance, pray, and let's all keep the spirit of the season going as long as we can.
I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow;
behind it, yet within our reach is joy.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
salutation to a friend by Fra Giovanni in 1513