A while ago, I was teased about presenting a picture of how we really look as a family. Pre- primped . Here’s our…uh…realistic photo and family Christmas letter:
(Note from Editor: If you have glasses, find them now).
A Novella, “A Christmas Letter” by the Williams Family Published by the Williams Family, Inc., Copyright © Dec. 2013 (just kidding about the copyright, it was just fun to write.)
This year I thought I’d experiment with perspectives and short stories in Christmas letter writing. I’m going to experiment with 3rd person omniscient, but because I said “experiment”, this may end up being a bit of 1st person, some head-hopping, 2nd person, or a whole chorus of varying and conflicting points of view. Where was I? So, let us begin.
Prologue: The year was 2013, their elevation 4,449 ft. above sea level, and the temperature a toe-tingling 20 degrees F., when the Williams family sat to recollect the past year and to decide what to, or what not to, reveal. If they were to package their story for the faint of heart it would go: Chris works at R.C. Willey doing beneficial stuff to their computers, Becky watches 5 kids, uh…and does other stuff; Reed, Douglas, and Isaac attend school, study karate, and also do less beneficial stuff to computers. Miriam and Elizabeth stay home with mom, enjoy playing with monkeys and horses, and avoid vegetables, but feel guilty about it. The End… However, this letter isn’t for the faint of heart nor does the author care about weak hearts or digestive complaints. This author is going to attempt to tell the audience plainly, and with as many polite words as possible, what the Williams’ family is all about. Also, it will have to take only 500-ish words (editor: this actually turns out to be 1,914 words (editor eye-rolling)).
Chapter One: Early one morning, Becky sat in her living room casually perusing an article on cross-genetic species regeneration, when the lack of 3 year old conversation caught her ear. The silence was deafening in its ominous warning. Guiltily, yet reluctantly, she put down her reading and ran downstairs to see the reason for the silence. She had to brace herself on the wall as she looked down on what appeared to be a chain of General Mills volcanos. Nearly every box of cereal had been upended to create separate mounds of Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Grape Nuts, and Lucky Charms. At that moment, it was no longer the silence that was ominous, but the shocked song of “no, no, no’s” coming from her mouth. She nearly echoed Charlton Heston’s famous phrase from Planet of the Apes, where he yells, (edited) “Gosh-Dang you all to heck!” Instead, she just took a picture and texted it to their father. Her logical side told her she’d better laugh instead of cry. Besides, if there was ever a need for this kind of evidence, it would best if it wasn’t tampered with.
Chapter Two: Chris sat quietly driving home with only the sounds of the road, and another traffic report in the style of a Greek chorus. His mind wandered from work to his bishopric calling (2nd counselor), and on to his family. He began thinking lovingly of his 3 strapping sons, adorable (editor’s note: also talented, majestic, and cuddly) wife, and of course, his two, doting daughters. Chris thought of a recent conversation he’d had with Elizabeth, one of the twin three year old girls who were still rapturously pleased to talk about the simplest things; such as bathroom etiquette and the proper uses of sharp knives. But, there are times when the mind can wander, when what a parent has to say really isn’t that interesting. The girl’s parents had made pizza for dinner that night and it was one of those nights when everyone was starving and therefore ornery about it, and neglectful of polite dinner time conversation. Chris asked Elizabeth, “do you have your pizza? / Elizabeth: NO! /Chris: Do you want pizza? /Elizabeth: NO! /Chris: Are you hungry? /Elizabeth: NO! /Chris: Are you cute? /Elizabeth: (pause)…I are cute!” The final response gave him a bit of hope that she really could still listen, that she was still his little girl, and she hadn’t passed over to the blatantly-uninterested side where parents were background noise. She was just contrary! What a relief!
Chapter Three: School had been tedious that day, and Reed dreaded having to go home and try to use his Jedi mind tricks to dissuade his mother from forcing him to do his homework. His Jedi powers had been running low of late. Doors wouldn’t swing open with a slight twitch of two fingers, and he’d lost his light saber, again! What he needed was a handful of his mother’s hidden stash of M&Ms and one of his dad’s Cokes. His parents were so strict! He hadn’t even had a cavity in at least 2 years and the caffeine in the Coke never kept him awake. (The wakefulness was a result of the iPod hidden under his pillow at night). After a smelly bus ride home, he stumbled into the house, dropped his backpack and coat as quickly as he could, and kicked off his boots barely avoiding the entryway lamp. He looked around and noticed his mom wasn’t in the room; the computer was logged in and was begging for cyber companionship. Just one quick game of Minecraft, and a short video on sloths, then he’d jump off and adopt a casually bored post-school look. It worked, only he’d been on the computer long enough that he’d forgotten the time and ended up viewing three of his favorite sloth videos instead of one. Where had his mother gone? Then, almost imperceptibly, he heard a creak of a stair plank and someone struggling for breath, only this breathing seemed to be coming from a device that regulated the breather’s intake and output of air. Then he heard something like a threat about someone’s father and a death star. As if inspired, he remembered his light saber was wedged in between two couch cushions, and at the same time he felt a tremendous spike in his Jedi powers. His uninterrupted cyber time and sloth observations had refocused him and he was able to defend his mother, who was being slowly strangled in Darth Vader’s cloak. Reed knew that this guy definitely was not his father and sent his black helmeted head bouncing down the stairs, thump, thump, thump…
Douglas, the second-born Williams son (by a mere three minutes), felt the tiny age difference most strongly in his shorter stature; but, height wasn’t everything. In fact, there was a lot more to him than the eye could see. He had powers, super powers, which none but his closest friends and family knew about. He was strong (like Mr. Incredible), had a keen sense of humor (like Condor Man), was very intelligent (like Iron Man), and could jump and swing from objects with little ease (like Spiderman). As all super heroes know, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” So between rescues he did his homework, read great books, played with friends, attended his Karate classes and scouts, and made sure to give his mom and dad a hug and kiss before bed each night. Only then could he answer the calls for rescue and a few light hearted comments perfectly timed between punches, smashes, webbings, and blasts.
Chapter Five: Finding himself abducted and sitting in an alien ship, Isaac was foolishly left unrestrained and began playing with random buttons and switches. Before his captor could stop him, they were off! Because the switches reacted with the pusher’s DNA, thoughts, and personality, they found themselves hopping from one of the boy’s favorite places to the next. First, his baptism in August, his best friend Cameron’s house, and then the hill he often sledded down. From there to Disneyland, then to his cousins’ houses, Lake Michigan, all the grandparent’s houses, the beach, and finally back to the mound of snow he’d left his backpack on. His alien abductor quickly decided that the whole alien-abduction thing was too much of a risk and ejected Isaac from her space craft, then zoomed off planet to hide in a moon crater. Isaac was disappointed, but couldn’t wait to get home to tell his family all about it.
Chapter Six: “Zizzy. Open. The. Door!” called Miriam angrily from her room where she was currently trapped. Child locks are the bane of every curious 3 year old child’s existence. This time was not a parental trap, but one of her twin sister, Elizabeth’s, making. As far as one could tell, there was no reason for the act - it could be done, and so it was. Elizabeth knew payback was inevitable, but the temporary thrill of control was worth the small infraction. The age of boundary testing was escalating. Food, as a medium for art, had long been accepted by the masses, starting with the first mashed potato mountain, and Elizabeth knew it. What her parents thought of as “three year old messes,” the chocolate hand prints emotionally pasted down the stair walls, the sculpted mound of bananas guarded by a moat of honey, the Jackson Pollock inspired tomato splatters on the kitchen wall, and the aforementioned cereal ring of fire; were all results of a social non-conformist, free of the 8 ½ by 11 paper boarders…On a side note, Elizabeth loves Curious George, and would gladly join him whenever and in whatever jungle he chose…
Chapter Seven: Unlike her sister, Miriam loved the traditional mediums – pencils and ink, and reserved bananas for eating, not mashing. However, she too had no respect for boundaries. Every bare surface in the Williams home begged to be covered in swirls, letters, shapes, and line art - and Miriam obliged them. Her free spirit also had a place for obsessive order, for taking her toy horses wherever she went: The car, the bath, to bed, and when she couldn’t take them, they found nice little hiding places under beds or behind flour containers. Earlier that summer, she attended a picnic where real live horses were giving children rides. After her ride, she had to get off and had the most extreme temper tantrum of her life. She happens to be in the 95th percentile for height, so I don’t see jockey-ing in her future, but perhaps a cowgirl or horse trainer…
Editor: Unfortunately, there was a paper shortage and this novella had to come to an end. The Williams family really just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, express their immense gratitude to their friends, family, and most importantly to their Savior Jesus Christ; his life, example, and the greatest gift of all, his atonement for all. We love you all and thank you for your love and support through good and tough times. Have a Merry Christmas!
Love, The Williams Family XOXOX (those kisses were also from the author and editor).