(A note to readers, all three of you: Since I didn’t send my year-end letter to you with my Christmas cards, I’m including it here to keep you abreast of what’s going on in our family, from the inconsequential to the really inconsequential, although I left out the arguments, financial problems and barroom brawls.)
Dear (your name goes here):
Do you realize yet another year has come and gone, and another one is starting? Before you know it, this year will be gone, too, so to keep you up-to-date on the goings-on in our family, I wrote this letter at Starbucks over a piping hot mocha matcha macchiato mariachi latte.
It was a year of large and small happenings. Things happened every day and sometimes at night, too. After years of hard work, our Lhatese Bella finally got her Ph.D. in dog obedience from Yale. Now, she insists we call her “Dr. Bella.” It cost a lot to send her there, but I believe no dog should be left behind, and dog obedience is a growing field with countless career opportunities. We’re hopeful she’ll get a job teaching at the Dirty Paws School for Wayward Canines or an internship with Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, or maybe land her own PBS show.
Even though she has a doctorate, she still barks like a lunatic at employees of the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS. Old habits die hard. However, after a family intervention, she agreed to join Barkers Anonymous, a program for dogs who make their companions’ lives unmanageable.
Our grandchildren continue to be our greatest delight when they’re not crying, whining or stuffing Play-Doh in electrical sockets. I’m convinced the two boys, 2, and one girl, 4, have promising futures as electricians or demolition experts. They add spark to our lives as we advance in years, even though we seem to be advancing a lot faster when they’re around.
Sandy and I took a trip to Tibet because her lifelong dream has been to climb Mount Everest ever since she was 8 and heard Julie Andrews sing “Climb Every Mountain.” I considered joining her, but my knees have been aching and my allergies were acting up. There’s nothing worse than taking Benadryl while you’re trekking up the northeast ridge of Everest, so I stayed in the village and got some R&R. A camera crew filmed her ascent, which is going to be featured in an upcoming documentary on “Saturday Night Live.”
I no longer commute five hours a day. At my new job, I’ve been able to put that time to good use, playing Angry Birds, watching birds and learning Latin. I plan to retire in 2027, which will be here before you know it.
We wanted to buy a BMW but could only afford to trade in our old coffeemaker for a new one. As my mother always said, “A good coffee maker is better than a Cadillac.”
On a sad note, I lost a few more gray hairs and developed psoriasis in my ear that caused itching and scaling, so if you know a good ear, nose and throat doctor who practices dermatology, send me her email address and I’ll email her a photo of my ear canal.
The girls are doing fine. Julie just had her nails done … again. Joanna had her nails done, too. Chrissy got a big promotion but no more money, which is the American way. And Dana, inspired by her mother, continues to scale mountains on the West Coast.
That is what’s going on in our lives. We always seem to be wandering in the netherworld between humdrum and hysteria. We want to hear from you! Please keep us informed about your latest crisis, award, nomination, Nobel Prize, vacation, bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, first communion, confirmation, medical ailment, marriage, divorce, home improvement, cookout, dental work, business deal, foreclosure, jewelry purchase, car repair, skin condition and anything else you think of.
God bless all of you and have a great year! Keep your head down and keep pushing forward. And never forget during the relentless pursuit of possessions, prestige and pleasure what Thoreau said: “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
Joe Pisani cannot be reached because he is scaling Mount Everest.