Dear Family and Friends of Jean and Henry,
You will be gratified to know that moi, the official Halff family historian, a back, after a, well, involuntary sabbatical, shall we say, whilst Mr. Halff lost himself in post-modern radical feminist deconstructionist pagan la-la-land. Those of you who read the letter will realize that Mr. Halff had not even passed post-modern radical feminist deconstructionist paganism 101, which, as everyone knowledges, coverages the transformationing of nouns into verbs. No radical post-modern feminist deconstructionist pagan would ever permission herself to utilization a genuine verb, or even a term that could be interpretationed as a verb, in any of her textings.
Those of you who did not read last years letter, and you know who you are&endash;well, maybe you dont know who you are; you are the ones wondering about the "Jean" bit in the salutation of this epistle. But I digress&endash;those of you who did not read last years letter were spared Mr. Halffs (thankfully) brief departure from reality.
I am back&endash;at my still reasonable rates, including discounts for extra family members, both human an animal&endash;and stand ready to not only correct the mistakes of last year but also to objectively document the events of this year, which were numerous enough to push the completion date of this letter well beyond that of my usually timely schedule. Here then is the latest in an all too long and boring series of Halff Family Impersonal Christmas Form Letters. (Its a dirty job, but someone has to write them.)
Turning to the worst travesties of last years letter, Jean and Henry did not get married on April 5, as he promised they would do. They got married on April 12, offering some claptrap about availability of the reception hall as a feeble excuse for the delay. Considering the Halffs organizational skills (or lack thereof) the event came off reasonably well. Cousin Alex offered the services of Club Giraud (so nice a place that I imagine its very presence is unknown to most folks here in San Antonio) for the rehearsal dinner. Large numbers of Butlers and Halffs attended the event and managed to get through the evening without a fight. The wedding was conducted on the same peaceful note. The bride was given away by her two sons, who managed to hide their gratitude at being relieved of her. Immediately after taking her vows, she belatedly began thinking about the tragic implications of joining the Halff family and broke into tears. Fortunately, the groom had planned for this contingency by offering a huge party (with FREE BOOZE) by way of consolation. I do believe that everyone had a good time a the party, although found myself inexplicably overcome by sleep after my fourth margarita and can only reliably report on the first half hour.
About two weeks after the wedding the Halffs left on a honeymoon, provided by the father of the groom in order as a way of bringing respite to himself and the mother of the groom. So, the happy couple boarded a half-full cruise ship ("Why half-full?" you ask, "Cruise ships always travel full-up." One explanation attributes the condition to a marketing blunder on the part of the ships owners. Another more likely explanation is that news of the Halffs presence on the ship leaked out.) As I was saying, half-full cruise ship bound from Acapulco to Fort Lauderdale by way of the Panama Canal. I accompanied the couple, and was able to observe them as they lay on deck chairs all day long, for 10 days straight, rising only to take a few snapshots of the canal, and to eat. Nighttime was a different story. Every night a different cheesy variety show put on by leftovers from Jackie Gleason (including one old doll who made evening gowns from swimsuits; I am not making this up). Every night, dancing to the noises made by some castaways from a Caribbean island who had been mistakenly equipped with a suite of electronic instruments (which, by the way, look and sound nothing like real instruments) and called a calypso band. Also worth noting about the voyage was the willingness of the governments of Costa Rica, Montego Bay, and Key West to allow the couple ashore. This historian suspects that these governments will exercise more care in the future.
Three months after traumatizing Latin America and the Caribbean, the couple took off again, this time to the British Isles. The British had taken precautions to safeguard the crown jewels, Westminster Abbey, and other national treasures, but were taken by surprise when the Halffs, displayed a consuming interest in chasing down Jeans friends and relatives, both alive and dead. The trips main effect was, I fear, to bring the former closer to being the latter. Nonetheless, Britain, except for a few odd gravekeepers at Hampstead and Highgate cemeteries and a few odd Butlers in the same neighborhood, survived the onslaught. The trick to surviving, they discovered, was to keep Mr. Halff in a perpetual state of inebriation, which is not all that difficult in a land of numerous pubs.
The Irish, despite having many more pubs than the British, were not as lucky. The Irish strategy was simple. "Put him behind the wheel of a car, and let them bump themselves off before they can do any harm to the country." As it turned out, Mr. Halff was just bad enough a driver to terrorize the narrow roads of the Irish Republic for a full week. The day of their departure from Ireland, September 24, has been declared a national holiday in the Republic.
The visit, on the whole, was a success. Jean talked to all but two of her living relatives. One has since died and so doesnt matter any more. The other is a half-brother who owes his presence to a rare (we are sure) dalliance of her father with a woman not his wife. The presence of this individual became known to the Halffs only after they returned to the states. Jean also tracked down with many of her dead relatives, courtesy of the Family Records department of the British Government. Unfortunately&endash;despite her hanging around their graves and her diligent attention to the teachings of Theosophy, Unity Church, and the Mind Science Foundation (which, as was noted last year, does not concern itself with science)&endash;she has yet to hear from any of these deceased individuals.
On the home front, Mr. Halff got himself a couple of new computers. He gave one of his old ones to Jean so that she could surf the net and do email. And indeed, she can; drop a note to her at email@example.com. ("Why jeanw?" you ask; because she got the email account before she became jeanh, and its too much trouble to change now.)
He gave his other computer to his son, Larry, under the mistaken impression that the son was in desperate straits. One week later, this same son announced that his new business (Bitmovers, Inc., http://www.bitmovers.com/) had landed a monster contract to add to their other monster contracts and that he would buy his own computers from now on and they would be bigger and faster than any of his dads, thank you. Mr. Halff is now waiting to get his sons castoff computers.
Many of you already know of the Halffs impact on the automotive market. After years of comfortably supporting Northside Fords auto mechanics, Mr. Halff precipitously traded his Taurus in for a Toyota 4Runner. Some say he was tired of the weekly visit to Northsides service department; others say he just wanted a truck with a name that begins with a number. Whatever the reason, his actions caused Ford stock along with those of their parts suppliers, to plummet. Analysts are not optimistic about a speedy recovery.
At work Mr. Halff managed to complete the project that originally brought him to San Antonio. He now considers himself a free man. He still hangs around Mei Technology though. When hes home, Jean does her best to put up with him but finds that she must seek respite two or three times a week in a room full of screaming infants at the county hospitals newborn nursery. Cady is still two-stepping around her Christmas tree; you can watch (if you have a Mac) at http://www.quiensabe.com/cocoa/cadytree.html. Mr. Halff maintains a presence at http://www.quiensabe.com and accepts email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jean and Henry both encourage you to hang lights on a mesquite tree, knock back a couple of Shiner Winter Ales, tie a wreath to the front of your truck, put Robert Earl Keenes Family Christmas on the CD player, sing, dance, and well try to keep the season going as long as we can.
Three big blondes
Bro Halff, from the volume a winter garden