Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve never written a Christmas letter before – I keep waiting for a good year but then I figured I was running out of years and maybe this year was as good as it gets.

Let’s start with the Missus because if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.  Emily has had a productive year, volunteering at the homeless shelter.  Well, to put it more precisely, she turned our house into a homeless shelter for unemployed relatives and hangers-on.  The house is over-flowing with hard cases, their brats and dogs – no wonder I work late at the office.  But what my wife can do with a hog’s cheek and a peck of turnips is simply amazing.  Jesus himself couldn’t perform more miracles with food than she does.

Then there is Martha, our eldest, whom we hired out to a milliner.  We haven’t seen her all year. To tell you the truth, I kind of forget what she looks like.  She sends her love, and money what she can.

Our Peter, the golden boy, attended University until last semester when he had to drop out because we couldn’t afford the tuition.  Well, there go his dreams to become a doctor. I guess he’ll go to work though it’s nearly impossible to find a job right now.  But hey, we’re grateful he’s not in a prison or a workhouse like so many of his friends! He tried to start up a chimney cleaning service but the banks aren’t lending.  So he’s a little down right now, rather mopey about life in general and finds consolation in the gin shops and pot houses with wastrels, idlers and low born people.  He says he’s writing a book, plans to be a writer.  We’re so proud of our Peter!

The middle children are all muddling through life, though I confess I sometimes mix them up (Lucy?  Matthew?  Belinda?)  History won’t remember them either, poor things.  With any luck they’ll live to grow up, learn a trade, find a mate, reproduce, and know a few moments of true happiness while they are on this earth.  With any luck one of them will stick around to mind the Missus and I in our dotage.

I was given the boot last week.  Can you believe it?  Twenty years on the job and I was the best damn clerk that bastard ever had!  But my position was cut to make the end of the year financials look better for the banks and the shareholders. Well, fuck him. Now Mr. Scrooge will have to keep his own records and write his own memos, not to mention take care of all the other shit around the office that I normally do, like run to Starbucks for coffee and scones. We’ll just see how he manages with me gone, won’t we?  People are cheap these days and numbers rule — it’s all about big profits for the principals and shareholders, to hell with the employees. Not that I’m complaining!  Life is good!

Our youngest child is a real blessing (though I rued the day his mother told me she was pregnant – again…) Timmy is such a delight, he constantly reminds the rest of us about the true meaning of Christmas.  And although he is weak and suffers from a rare genetic disease that won’t be identified for another century at least — much less cured — he is the best of us.  All he wants this Christmas is a goose for dinner and the company of family and friends.

Please join us if you’re in the neighborhood.  I don’t know if we’ll have goose but we’ll damn sure have gin.

Peace on earth and as little Tim says, God bless us, every one!

With kindest regards, etc. etc.

The Bob Cratchit family (Linda Collison)


19 December, 1843