Christmas Newsletter 2015

We all receive disgustingly cheerful newsletters listing dubious progeny accomplishments this time of year. Here is my contribution to the trend.

The holidays are upon us once again and our family has much for which to be grateful. We are finishing our Christmas shopping and eager to place our gifts under the tree that Husband dragged home yesterday. I’m not sure where he found it, but it smells like he found it at the county landfill. This tree is so scraggly that even Charlie Brown would reject it. The good thing is that the tree was easy to decorate. A single string of lights runs straight up the trunk and ends just below the star that is leaning precipitously to starboard. We were able to toss two strands of tinsel onto the limb stub. Three strands overloaded the stub and made the tree list to port.

Because of the economy, our gifts this year will be simple. Son #1 asked for a package of socks with extra wide tops to warm the lovely ankle bracelet generously given him by the judge. He finds the ankle bracelet attractive, but tends to fuss about the frostbite that forms on his leg. Additionally, he is beginning a trend by inspiring his friends and siblings to achieve his greatness. Already, three of his “buds” are sporting their own ankle bracelets. They cheerfully text each other about how many phone calls they are receiving from the police department when the bracelets set off bells at the station.

Son #2 is aspiring to earn his own bracelet, but so far is receiving only probation. He also wants extra wide-top socks so he will be prepared when his turn for a bracelet is approved. He also requested an ergonomic pillow for study hall naps. Classmates have learned not to criticize his snoring. His nap habit has contributed greatly to the economy as the school nurse’s office needs to keep a large stock of nose bandages.

We are so proud that Daughter #1 is achieving greatness at her high school. She passed chorus this year when the choir director generously agreed to accept her reggae version of “Stairway to Heaven” as an entry in the school’s alma mater contest. Luckily, the academic advisor has decided that she no longer needs to pass such courses as biology, math or history and will be graduating two years early. This daughter was easy to shop for, because she just asked for a year’s supply of black nail polish, black lipstick and green hair dye.

Daughter #2 won honors for selling the most Girl Scout cookies in her troop. She accomplished this by blackmailing her middle school teachers. I’m not sure where she found all that salacious information, but our family had fun reading it. It’s too bad the teachers bought the cookies, because we’d really love to share these stories with the school administrators. No shopping problem here either. This daughter requested a gift card to Slut-Mart.

Husband is doing very well. He was awarded Slacker of the Year award by his company. They said he is doing so well, that if he keeps up the good work, he’ll be given a permanent vacation. Can you imagine how much fun we’ll have with all that spare time?

As for me, I’m learning how to cook without setting of the smoke alarm. It only paged the fire department once this week when I baked brownies for Daughter #2’s Girl Scout party. The girls smiled bravely as they gazed at the brownies and held tissues over their noses to protect the tray of well-done brownies from their cold germs. They showed their generous spirits by tossing the entire tray into the snow to feed the birds.

Happy Holidays to you and your family. We hope our year has been as wonderful as ours.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, December 3, 2015, edited from 2009 version

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at



Critters will get you every time

Earlier this morning I laughed at “AlmostIowa’s” story of the extortionist critters in his yard. This made me think of some of my true critter adventures.

A few years ago I spent a (Tidewater Virginia) winter listening to scritch, scritch, scritch. It was not the hapless squirrel in “Ice Age,” but my very own attic dwelling squirrel. When spring came and I heard no more scritch, I called a repairman who came and fixed my aluminum attic vent so no more critters would invade my home. Or, so he said.

The next winter, I heard heavy duty scratching and movements. Not believing a large animal could get into the vent, I went outside to look. The vent was bent like a Navy Seal had fought his way into the house looking for Taliban. Accepting that as a warning, I put extra security around my inside attic entrance and went to sleep each night to the sounds of giant wildlife walking above my head. At last spring arrived and the invader left. This time I called a different repairman who took one look and said, “You hosted a raccoon.” He completely rebuilt the vent and secured it like a cell at Sing-Sing. Now my attic is quiet. Some friends asked why I didn’t go upstairs and try to shoo the raccoon away. I replied as my dad would have, “I may not be well-educated, but I’m not stupid.”

Back in the 1960s I was a Girl Scout camp counselor and some of the girls came to me with tiny eggs. They were so proud of their find. But, being an experienced Girl Scout I thought that the eggs looked strange and knew the mama would be angry that the girls had stolen her eggs. I asked them to show me where they found the eggs. Soon I was looking at a totally smashed rattle snake. They had surprised the snake with a whack on the head with a huge stick, thus removing their danger. But, wanting to be sure the snake was really dead they continued smashing from head to tail. Just as they reached the end, the tiny eggs squeezed out and looked so cute that the girls had to share their discovery. I hated to disappoint them, but picked up a rock and smashed the eggs too. One thing Oklahoma didn’t need was more rattlesnakes.

About the same time my husband and I were camping on the Fort Sill range, next to a beautiful lake. Having no camping gear, we slept fully clothed on the ground between quilts. Just as the sun rose we heard a gentle snuffling and shuffling. We looked up to see a small herd of buffalo drinking from the lake. We stayed where we were and watched in awe as the huge creatures moved around to let the calves drink. They paid no heed to us and when they were done, wandered back to the hills.

While in high school I attended a local overnight (Ohio) Girl Scout camp which provided us with a large, supposedly critter proof, garbage can to store our food. Before heading to our tents we double checked to ensure that all food was in the can, the lid was tight and our pit fire was banked for the night. Next morning we arose to find our garbage can open and much of the food eaten or hauled away. Luckily, the thieves left paw prints. We dug out our trusty GS guide books to identify the food thieves. As we paged through the track guide, we studied and eliminated each track, until one girl said, “That’s it. The track matches the ones on our food can.” We solved the mystery. Our leader read the description and said, “This track belongs to a Dingo Dog, native to Australia. Keep looking.” We did, eventually identifying the thief as a raccoon and his pals. We went to the lodge and called our mothers for more food, which arrived as soon as they could get to the store and drive to the camp. For the rest of the week we put chains and locks around the can. No more raccoons or Dingo Dogs. BTW, we kept that fire burning for an entire week, even holding a tarp over it during a rain storm.

© Sharon Dillon, December 29, 2014