Dear Thelma, Bud, Brittany, Bud Jr. & Baby Louise:
Well, this year you've outdone yourselves! What a treat to receive -- two weeks earlier than usual -- your annual photocopied holiday letter detailing all the doings of the Fairweather family in 1991.
How you managed to get the letter out at all -- given the flooded-basement disaster you so movingly describe plus Junior's freak accident with one of the new, matching, brown corduroy La-Z-Boy loungers in the redecorated den -- is beyond comprehension.
But, by now, your average Fairweather friend knows that your family is capable of anything.
Before another word gets written, however, we'd like to respond to your attached questionnaire:
Yes, we all think Thelma's idea of naming the new baby "Louise" was really cool.
Yes, we agree it does open up new and interesting possibilities for mother-daughter outfits.
No, we don't think the name will have any lasting psychological effect on Baby Louise. Although we do think its a tad off-putting to hear that when you place a doll and a toy gun in her playpen, she always goes for the gun.
I guess the news that surprised us most was Bud Sr.'s success on the community college's new cable TV show, "The Bud Sr. Show."
It sounds very professional, what with Junior on every show, laughing up a storm at Bud Sr.'s jokes and Brittany drawing all the graphics. And I'll bet the silver-colored toupee does make him look a lot like Johnny Carson.
And speaking of silver toupees, we were all delighted to hear that Brittany got over last year's bad experience with the homemade hair dye. Teen-agers are so insecure about their appearance, aren't they?
But judging from the Polaroid photo you enclosed, she looks good with really short hair. And it's probably just a matter of time before her eyebrows grow back as well.
Incidentally, the photo we received was a bit blurred. Is that Baby Louise to Brittany's left? Or was it Conan on his hind legs, begging for food?
We all have very fond memories, by the way, of Conan from last summer's weekend visit with the Fairweathers. And of how that dog loved to eat.
We'll never forget the day, for instance, that old Conan ate Squawky the parrot by mistake.
But we were saddened to hear that the snake you gave Junior as a replacement for Squawky no longer slithers among us. And we can understand your anger at the pet store for not issuing a warning when you took home a mongoose to Junior for his birthday.
Poor Junior. First Squawky and then Sununu. Not a good year, petwise, for the Fairweathers, all in all.
We were especially gripped by your detailed account of the family's automobile trip last summer to upstate New Jersey. Particularly your stay at the newly refurbished Hi-Lo Motel off I-95.
The overnight side trip to Newark sounds great, too! And, all things considered, not too expensive since the insurance company paid for the new tires you had to buy the next morning.
It sounds like fun, too, having your cousin Billy and the twins along for the ride. Particularly since the twins' new medication seemed to kick in for at least the last day or two of the trip.
It's interesting to learn that the twins' medicine also helped calm down Conan quite a bit after his wild chase of that fox terrier along the New Jersey pike. It must have been exciting to see Conan and the whole family on the local TV news that night.
And although Bud Sr.'s attack of diverticulitis was unfortunate, it sounds as though his visit to the emergency room did the trick.
By the way, is cousin Billy still a compulsive whistler?
We are thrilled to hear that Thelma is considering opening up a travel agency. And that if she does, she will offer the upstate New Jersey trip as a package. Her offer to let us have it at a discount next summer is very tempting, but the Steinbachs plan to motor to Boring, Md., for our 1992 vacation.
By the way, we have read your letter several times, thinking that perhaps we overlooked some mention of whether or not the Fairweathers were able to resolve last year's bats-in-the-attic problem.
Were the children able to bowl up there this year?
So. What can we say? It seems to have been another banner year for your family. Hope this finds you in good health.
With love from your Fairweather friends -- The Steinbachs.