Dear Family and Friends:
"Here they are," she says, handing me a stack of Christmas cards. Just put a copy of the letter into each one and send them out.
I am tempted to say, "What letter," but I figure that ignorance is no excuse for the unwritten law of Impersonal Christmas Form Letters, which, you may recall, reads
Now Ill admit that Ive broken this law on more than one occasion. However, in keeping with the letter of the law this year, here is the Fourth Almost Annual Virginia Halffs Impersonal Christmas Form Letter.
Things have changed around here this year. Galloway Halff has
developed a network of distributors and continues to consolidate its
hold on the quality improvement training market, thus putting me well
on the path to my goal of retiring at
40 50. This
success has meant certain changes in Nancys lifestyle. Those of
you who know her as someone who was terrified of flying will be
interested to learn that she now has more frequent flyer miles than
there are atoms in the universe. She probably has other news to
report, and I expect that her travels will return her here at least
once before next December so that we can discuss the content of next
Speaking of 50, Nancy found herself at that age this year and, not to be outdone by last years gala 50th for my parents, we had the party of the century. Planned and executed by Dianne Galloway (noted authority on quality improvement and co-founder of Galloway Halff, purveyors of fine training programs). Among the more noteworthy aspects of the event were new wallpaper (nothing ruins a 50th birthday party faster than old wallpaper) and enough wine consumption on the part of the guest of honor that she honored all the unhonored guests with a dazzling display of lexical expertise.
"Shes never said that in front of me, before."
"Dont you just love it when women say ?" Well, you get the idea.
Earlham College is looking forward to graduating Larry next June in hopes that life on campus will return to normal this Summer. He enters a difficult job market not quite knowing what he wants to do with his life, but with every confidence that his transcript, with courses like Paper Making and Weaving, will ensure him offers from the best organizations in whatever field he pursues. If his academic credentials arent impressive enough, then surely a mention of his Summers experience on a rural Tennessee commune known as Short Mountain will make him irresistible to any employer. Why just the other day, George was complaining to me that the failure of our nations educational system has left us with a crippling shortage of paper-making, weaving, organic farmers. When I told him about Larry, all he could say was, "Thank heaven, thank heaven, the restoration of American competitiveness and the end of the recession are at hand."
I continue to practice up for my early retirement. Much of my time is taken up with the design of a computer game that the Navy thinks will teach its people something about electricity and electronics. Its strange work indeed, trying to make circuit theory look like Kings Quest V. The way to do this, we all hope (we being our game designer in San Jose, the development team in Orlando, and I), is an adventure game set on (where else) a ship. The project definitely makes for weird dreams. "You are in a small room. A strange creature approaches you with a box of capacitors and resistors. ." And my phone conversations are just as weird. "Hey, if they get into the brig before theyve been to the pantry they wont know ICE."
Running this past year has been interesting, to say the least. I continue to add to my collection of 30 zillion race T-shirts (all of which I love dearly and would not part with for the world even if I have to rent a second warehouse to keep them in). Ive also developed what all of my doctors agree is a fascinating and profitable foot problem. Ive been through two diagnoses (plantar fasciitis and tarsal tunnel syndrome) and several different kinds of therapy. This very morning my therapist (physical, not mental) threw up her hands in disgust and gave me the name of a running doctor in Connecticut who "enjoys challenges." Im thinking maybe theres a publication here somewhere, or at least a convention talk. "And now, Dr. Halff, if you will kindly remove your shoes and socks for the audience, ."
This Christmas, were visiting Nancys parents in Los Angeles and the pelicans in San Diego (where well also see my brother, who is so fond of pelicans that he built a castle on Point Loma from which to watch them, and my parents, who are using my brother as an excuse to visit the pelicans themselves). So, if youre not too busy watching pelicans this Christmas, be sure to light candles, give gifts, sing, dance, pray, and keep the spirit of the season going as long as you can.
For its Christmas time,
when we travel far and near;
May God bless you and send you
a happy New Year.
from Weve Been Awhile A-Wandering,
a Yorkshire wassail song.