X-mas news letter

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The Christmas season seems to be the time for getting the latest installment on the assorted (and sordid) family soap operas. One hardly knows where to start. I will attempt to list them in order from the mundane to the sublime.

There’s the cousin whose trailer burned down, losing home, clothing, all belongings.

There’s the brother who didn’t just fall off the wagon, but did so with a spectacular swan dive off the back of the parade float and into the pavement. We’re not entirely sure where he is this Christmas, perhaps seeing his son who is living with his mother in North Carolina. (My nephew is in NC? News to me.)

There’s the cousin who lost her job and is on food stamps. That’s keeping her and the two kids fed, but the rest of the bills are being paid by her part-time husband; part-time in that he lives with them Friday through Sundays, but lives with his father the rest of the week. Oooo-kay.

There’s the aunt who has survived the death of her husband, the death of her sister, losing her home to fire damage (not the same fire as the above-mentioned trailer blaze), is now living with her son, daughter-in-law and their three children, and who recently had to commit her mother to a nursing home due to advanced Alzheimer’s. None of that is particularly new news. What’s new is the fact that she has started drinking, as much as a gallon of vodka a week.

There’s the uncle who is dealing with fourth stage Hep C, and has moved to Thailand 1) because his savings will stretch much further there, 2) because if he needs a liver transplant, he can have one done there without having the typical American luxury of health insurance, and 3) because he has defaulted on two home mortgages he had acquired on golf-course estates, without returning the $20K in buyer’s incentives on the properties.

And finally, there’s the stepdaughter of my cousin, who turned 18 this year and graduated high school. She got into a fight with her parents this summer and moved out of the house, in the process (the details are unclear) screwing up the loans and scholarships she had lined up for her first year of college. So, she did the prudent thing. She started dancing at a local strip club. The same strip club that was raided two weeks ago with 71 arrests. She spent the night in jail, but the family is pleased she didn’t have any drugs or weapons on her, and so was released the next morning.

I can only assure you, not a single word of this has been exaggerated.

I come from class stock, I tell you whut. Tennessee Williams has nothing on me. There are the times I am happy to live two time zones from my family.

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