Jim Hicks: Holiday Letters You Get Around This Time Of Year . . .

in Column/Jim Hicks

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By Jim Hicks, columnist

The Bench Sitters hope that each and every one of you has a special Christmas this season.  Their wish is that this special day if filled with the real important things of health, happiness and the true spirit of the day.

These last days before Christmas have been flying by, and most of the old boys at the coffee club don’t get very exited anymore.

One of them said he bumped into Delbert (Del) Herman the other afternoon and asked the usual . . . “You ready for Christmas?” question. 

Del said yes, but it was a close call.  

“How’s that?”

“Well,” Del grinned, “We bought one of those Christmas trees from the 4-H club a couple of weeks ago. Didn’t want to put it up right away, so I laid it next to the house. Because of all that wind I had to walk a half-block to find it.”

This is the time of year when most of us hear from old friends and relatives who only write one note a year and send it along with their Christmas Card.

Sometimes those cards include a long letter detailing some or all of the following–

1) Complete itinerary of all their travels in the last 12 months:

2) A listing of achievements (real or imagined) of children and/or grandchildren:

3) Chronology of their health issues including surgical details (sometimes with copies of X-rays):

4) The full load of bad news about everyone in the clan, especially those who have passed on or been put in jail.

5) Or the “financial statement” discussion of wealth or possessions accumulated in the last year.

And it seems the older people get, the more time they have to write up all the details nobody really cares about.

A few years ago we got a letter from some “snow-birds” who had migrated to Arizona for the winter. They were living in a “single-wide” in a park they claimed was called “El Campo del Estomaga Grande.”  That translates to something like “the place of big bellies.”

Benefits at the park included “tennis, golf, spa, pool and physical fitness center.”  That turned out to be a ping-pong table (warped by too much time in the sun), a putt-putt green, one hot tub which appeared to contain split-pea soup; small un-heated swimming pool and a worn out stationary bike gathering dust next to card tables in the “recreation center.”

According to their letter they had many choices of activities including the “Hip Replacement Cloggers Club, Organ Donors Society, Arthritic Athletes Anonymous and Heart Surgery Marathon Jogger’s program”

A big part of each morning was spent studying advertisements in the local paper to find the best price in town for bananas. An hour drive in heavy traffic to save six cents?

This “wild and crazy” life of a snow-bird featured “eating out” at places that specialize in meeting the needs of this group. The bargained price meal starts about 4 p.m. and features no spices, requires very little chewing and will not cause gas under any circumstances.

Styrofoam boxes come with the dinners so customers can take the leftovers home for lunch the next day.

The best part of their letter had to do with visits to a doctor where the receptionist was located behind a sheet of plastic and patients are asked to wear masks. 

That’s when the old guy from Minnesota yells “HEMORIODS!” through his Covid mask.

 “That’s not news,” they wrote, “everyone at the park has hemorrhoids.”

We hope you have been getting a lot of wonderful Holiday Greeting letters from friends and family.  Have a great weekend and we’ll write again.

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