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Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris

Little, Brown and Company, December, 1997


Season’s Greetings, Family, Friends and Random Folk merged from an outdated address book! Another year of maintaining the appearance our dazzling lives prevented prior correspondence or a call or, in some instances, even so much as a passing thought. But sure as carolers sing “Deck the Halls” along snow-covered streets, ’tis that cherished time for the Burkes to deliver joyful song in the form of our annual holiday newsletter. Fa la la la, la LOL!!!

We’re thrilled to announce that our sweet angel Shannon recently took to the stage. Join us in celebrating her debut in Saint Damien Elementary’s production of The Story of the First Christmas. Sister Marie Antoinette raved Shan’s performance as The Virgin Mary was “a miracle on par with Balaam’s ass speaking.” Never mind a jaded critic for the Hohman Ledger had a less enthusiastic response and wrote:

In the role of Mary, six-year-old Shannon Burke just barely manages to pass herself off as a virgin. A cloying, preening stage presence, her performance seemed based on nothing but an annoying proclivity toward lifting her skirt and, on rare occasions, opening her eyes.

Bah! Humbug! Right?!!! Shannon stopped threatening to quit the biz shortly after we explained the writer’s bitterness was not personal but stemmed from a deep-seated bitterness over an inability to land a job with a reputable journal like The New York Times.

On the subject of career, my dear husband Steve branched into a whole new direction early this spring. After nearly twenty years in banking, he’s committed to a temporary stint in the field of Correctional Behaviorism, whisking him off on business for an extended period. Recounting the nitty-gritty of his evolution would require pages, so I’ll keep things short and just say he honed his understanding of the difference between “Ours” and “Yours.” We’re determined to pass the lesson on to the kids. Steve and I have always been strict believers in parenting by example!

Darrin turned sixteen in July and has grown into quite the handyman, which is a tremendous help while Steve is away. The boy pitches in around the house at all hours, busying himself with odds and ends. It’s impossible to keep track of his various projects, yet improvements must be getting done because he buys a lot of glue and disappears for hours on end in the back shed. Mother’s intuition says we could have a future carpenter on our hands!!!

Me, I’m riding high on the spirit of St. Nick and the pride of being a full-time mom. Once all the gift shopping is done, the baking pans have cooled, and I’ve had a minute to plop on the couch by a fire with a chilled Chardonnay, I’ll toast to our bounty. We are blessed.

May your Christmas be the merrier, now that we’ve caught up with a tale or two. There are plenty more stories where those came from, so keep in touch. We really shouldn’t let so much time pass out of each other’s company.