For those of you who are wondering, I found a good book for my dad for Christmas. I couldn't find one about World War II - frankly, I can't remember which ones I've given him, so that war may be history for gift-giving. So I settled on the Depression, somehow fitting for his personality. It's The Forgotten Man, in large print. We'll see if he likes it.
In the meantime, I have boxes of decorations cramming my living room, all screaming for me to get them out and put them on display. We got the tree on Sunday - I've discovered I'm extremely allergic to it, but I've got to trim it anyway. But what am I doing instead?
The annual Christmas letter.
This is how I began my foray into writing. About 9 years ago, I told Dale I wanted to write books, so he got me a laptop for Christmas. I piddled about with it for a few months, writing a snippet here and a paragraph there, but mostly using it for engineer-type work. Then, when Christmas rolled around and I thought of the sameness of all the notes I wrote in each card, I decided to try my hand at a Christmas letter. Not the kind where boasts are made about everyone's achievements, but not a parody, where the house burns down and the kids flunk out of school. Just something light and airy, with a little humor and a lot of gratitude that our house didn't burn down and our son is still learning. Most important, it needed to be one-page.
I was completely shocked at the response. Everyone who received a letter thought it was the best one they'd ever read. It began a holiday tradition - what would be in Gayle's letter this year? Family squabbles ensued, when spouses would bait their letter-writing mates with, "Why can't you write a letter like Gayle's?" One year, one of Dale's cousins told me, "I hope you're writing more than just this letter. You should write a book."
What a great idea!
I've posted this year's letter and photo on my website: http://www.gaylecarline.com/gcxmas08.html. Between you and me, I've read better and funnier letters, but this one's okay.
As for the photo, we managed to get the picture taken in only 1/2 hour and 16 shots. You see, Frostie (the red horse) kept trying to bite Mikey (the dog) on the toes, which made him try to jump from the table. So we swapped him and Katy (the cat), whom Frostie immediately tried to vacuum with her nose. My husband, Dale, is pushing her head away from the cat, who would like to kill us all for putting her through this indignity. The only one behaving is the black horse (Snoopy), who is usually the nippy one. For those of you who know horses, the chain across his nose explains his good behavior. We do this every year!