Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - My Cousin Laurie

Post Script to Christmas 2008

I know most of you have been wondering, ‘Where is the Christmas letter that Laurie sends us every year regaling us with the family antics, achievements and general well being?’ For those of you not wondering, what can I say other than it looks like you drew the short straw.

I was very remiss in both my letter writing and my card mailing, which etiquettely speaking, is even worse. Though I did note a significant drop in the number of cards I received this year. I reasoned that the economy could be a factor in that along with the age of technology and that the art of manual mail exchange is slowly dying. My daughter noted that it might be due to the fact that no one wants to send me Christmas cards unless I send them one. Ouch!

How is it then that the whole tradition of the Christmas “letter” got started? Not that I did any major research on the subject, as I said (or did I?) I was a little busy and time got by me faster than I thought hence the lack of card with enclosed missive.

I reason that there was a time when most family and friends lived pretty close to each other, same towns, hamlets, serfdoms you get my drift. Therefore negating the need for 411 on everyone (including the family pet, oh yes I have received some of those.) As families/friends moved farther afield (where is afield? Near DeMoines I think) a letter sent by post (possibly a pigeon at first ­so hopefully a short note) was a good way to keep everyone apprised of all the goings on. That way there was none of that, “You never told us about that!” or “I didn’t know that, why don’t you write once and a while!” Ahem.

As we moved up the animal kingdom, let’s not mention the whole goat fiasco, the letters became more involved more detailed some bragging some a bit boring (case in point.) Have you ever received one telling you about their son getting out on parole? Or how the husband likes to dance around in women’s undies? How fun would that be? Not the actual dancing part but getting a letter about the undies dancing, though I must say the dancing would be pretty good to rate being in the letter!

For instance Paul hasn’t danced around in ladies underwear in years; he is still at Lockheed and currently contemplating remodeling the kitchen.

I am still working at Texas Christian University and contemplating where to bury his body. Stephanie is now working as a ‘Personal Assistant’ to the wife of the CEO of Virtuoso Travel. (www.Virtuoso.com) she is very good at what she does and loves her job. I could use a Stephanie!

Andrea flew out from Virginia (and boy were her arms tired! Badabum…) to spend several days with us, which was a real treat. She is still working as a Social worker but has begun taking classes to get into nursing school. You are saying to yourself, “Wow, I did not know that.” I KNOW! Good thing you got this letter, and it wasn’t sent by goat-Opps, wasn’t going to mention that.

The girls and I went to Austin to visit with Martha and Jeff for a bit. (For those who aren’t in the loop, Martha is my sister and Jeff is her husband and I don’t want to know what he dances around in), sang a lot of Mama Mia (again let’s just leave Jeff out of this) and jocularity, falderal and what not ensued.

Paul turned 50 in 2008 or as the late George Carlin mused, “He reached 50.” Believe me, he wasn’t reaching, I would say he was trying to stay arms length, but it gets all of us. Surrounded by family and friends and a lot of drinking some of the edge was taken off.

We took a couple of trips, one to Vegas in the middle of July. I will just say that like Tony Bennett who left his heart in San Francisco, I think I left the bottoms of my sandals melted to the sidewalks of Las Vegas. I think that is what the sidewalks are made from, that and the carcasses of those who could not go any further.

I could go on and regale you with further antics and of course the amazing things our amazing girls have been doing. But the squirrel is here to take my communiqué. Just be careful don’t let him see you’re nuts! Peanuts, Cashews, he loves Filberts…

I do hope everyone had a wonderful year, holiday and that the New Year has started out well. Who knows what this year will bring, it is a year of change.

I may even be up for parole! Oh, and the cats are doing quite well, and send their greetings.

Laurie Loken
January 9, 2009