A Christmas Letter To The Relatives

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

It is probably a stretch of the imagination that a few of you will be clever enough to remember back a whole week. But if you recall, we received one of those end-of-the-year missives from a wealthy cousin, Bruce Knebbish and his lovely wife, Mary, nee Groin. Not to be outdone I took up my quill and carved out our own saga of the goings-on the past year at the Foster’s.

Dear Occupant:

I trust you weren’t offended by our annual newsletter arriving postage due. It has little to do with the Post Office gouging another penny from the helpless public, but rather the alarming news that 2023 was not, as we say, a banner year for your poorer relations, the Fosters.

The children are once again combing the classifieds to find a school for the grandkids. They have been forced to search for yet another institute of higher learning. Yes, the twins, Rufus and John, were brutally bounced from the Royal Military Academy, this time for firing the ceremonial cannon at the Miss Cornelia Primrose School for Young Ladies. Not even a hastily scribbled apology to Miss Primrose herself was enough to dissuade them from pressing charges. Hopefully the shower room can be replaced before the next semester. I understand Miss Primrose will be in therapy for some time. It was unfortunate that she was unable to grab a towel as she sailed through what was left of the roof before landing on the cake table at the Anglican Church bazaar.

Our little Nasturtia is once again visiting her ‘aunt’ for a few months. It really wasn’t her fault. Although how she wandered into the locker room of the Toronto Argonauts is still a mystery.

On a lighter note, it was another mad summer of extensive travel for the Fosters. I realize now that I should have contacted the C.A.A. folks before setting out for the Gaspe Peninsula. The references to Upper and Lower Canada should have been a clue that our map was a year or two old. The fact that it was written in Ojibway on a deer skin should also have alerted us that something was amiss. However it mattered little since our car broke down backing out of our driveway.

We’d been thinking about dealing it for some time, but like everyone else, we hoped the old brute would get us through one more winter before it died. Alas, the parts were unavailable. It seems the Tudhope-Anderson Company has been out of business for some time and Stutz Bearcat, who bought their service contracts, aren’t answering the phone.

However, we did manage to replace the old relic with a newer vehicle and we hope to make the Gaspe trip sometime this summer. It was a miracle that Crazy Louis, our local used car dealer, had a 1952 Ford Station wagon in his back lot. You will love it. It’s the deluxe model with the wooden panels. It’s too bad the woodpeckers got to it, but at least there is a healthy flow of fresh air blowing in from the sides.

Financially, we had what you might call a bad year. The missus, who spent a great many years with the Simcoe County School Board (exactly how many she refuses to tell me, but she often brags that she taught Al McLean) invested all our savings with a financial advisor, a Mr. Frenchy, who works out of the back of a 1983 Toyota. He put all $12.00 into what is known as a mutual fund – pari-mutual I believe he called it. Evidently the particular plan we were invested in fell down going into the stretch and had to be destroyed. However all is not lost. The A.E. LePage Company have bought up the assets and we hope to realize a sizeable profit once the deal has closed.

As you will remember, I had hoped to make a small fortune from the sale of my book, My Sexual Adventures and Other Failures, but it appears that there may be a bit of a delay. I neglected to notice that the publisher’s daughter, Myrtle, was discussed in great detail in chapters nine, ten and thirteen. I might have got away with even that oversight but a Polaroid photo of her folds out on page 93. Not only has my book been seized, but her husband, a Mr. Bruno, has been driving by our house on a regular basis.

The missus is now taking in washing, but business is slow and very difficult. The river she has been using is frozen and the rocks covered in ice. She had to lay herself off until after the spring thaw.

In the meantime, have a good year. We look forward to writing to you next year, assuming we don’t starve to death.

                                                        Jim and Mary

(Image Supplied)

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