OYSTERBACK, MARYLAND — Oysterback, Maryland.--I know it has been a while since you have heard from me, Desiree Grinch, proprietor of the Blue Crab Tavern over to Oysterback, but times being as they are, I didn't think you would mind if I dropped you a line.
When I was little, I used to get you and God mixed up -- long white beards, old white European males, etc., but I think I have it right now. Anyway, some of the stuff on my Christmas list may take a miracle.
This year, please make sure that Captain Hardee Swann's Christmas lights are the best in the neighborhood. Last year, he heard there was someone over to Shaft Ox Corner with a 20-foot creche scene, so he just had to plug in that 40-year-old string of bubble lights he found at a yard sale. Added to the 43 illuminated figures and the 67,000 lights he already had up, it overloaded the transformer something terrible. The sparks were beautiful, but no one around here liked being without power for two days. It was nice of the power company to give him his own transformer this year,
Doreen wants 30 minutes alone in the bathroom, without one of the kids or the dogs or Junie coming in, asking dumb questions about where they put stuff that's right under their noses, for pete's sake.
Jeanne says she wants Fabio, but let's be realistic here. Can you make Huddie act like Fabio for just one evening?
Also, could you see your way clear to getting Huddie a 'B' on his English final at the community college? Going back to school at 40 is tough.
Junie would like the oysters to hold out till the end of the month, so he doesn't have to start house painting for rich people until the New Year and mess up his taxes.
Omar Hinton could use a poke in the eye with a sharp stick after the way he voted on that sewer bill last council meeting, but I hope you will bring him a new satellite dish to replace the one Alonzo Deaver broke when he fell off that DNR helicopter he stole jacklighting deer that time last fall.
Although he probably deserves ashes and coal, Alonzo could probably use some commissary privileges over to the Detention Center.
You don't have to bring Sudie Fairbank anything; she won the lottery for $2.8 million and bought herself a new doublewide.
You ought to be bringing Miss Nettie Leery a trip to visit her sister in San Diego; cold weather is awful hard on her arthritis, and she could finally get to see ''Wheel of Fortune,'' her favorite show, being taped.
I personally think you should motivate Parsons Dreedle to get up the nerve to pop the question to Ella Sparks. He's been sweet on her since high school, and she's been a widow for more than a year. He opens and closes his mouth and the words just won't come out for him, he's been an old funeral-director bachelor so long. If he doesn't propose to her soon, I am going to offer her a job cooking for the Blue Crab. Talent like that is too good to pass up. Besides, I think every story deserves a happy ending.
I hope you will forgive Ferrus for saying he doesn't believe in Christmas. Besides, we both know who was Santa's Helper over to the Head Start Christmas party last Saturday. Bah, humbug, huh? Ferrus could use a new set of foul-weather gear, but I think what he really wants is some new Edith Piaf tapes. I have a feeling World War II must have been very interesting for Ferrus.
Helga says she hopes Poot isn't planning to try to pass off the new dryer as her Christmas present. Knowing how cheap Poot is, I wouldn't be surprised. That man is as tight as a tick and brags about it. Maybe you should bring Fabio to Helga; she could use the change. Whatever Fabio is, I'll bet even money he's not cheap.
When Hagar Jump asked me what I wanted the other day down to the Post Office, I said an 18-year-old boyfriend and a million dollars in the bank. I was just kidding, of course, or maybe not, but it does make you think. That reminds me, Earl Don needs one of those beaded seat things for the power-company truck, if he has to drive it all day long.
Personally, I would be satisfied with an airtight alibi and a foolproof plan, if you get around to it.
Proprietor, Blue Crab Tavern
P.S. World peace and a clean planet would be nice.
Helen Chappell is amanuensis of Oysterback.