To our friends who may not have received our Christmas greetings:
Merry Christmas from the House of Corn
Surprise! It’s me, the reason my great great grand second uncle coined the term squirreling away. That’s ‘cause I’ve been squirreling away peanuts the gentle lass spreads out for me and the jays and the crows and her illegal deer herd for the past year. By the way, don’t tell the police, but Bambi still eats apples out of her hand while she tickles him under the chin.
They started 2019 with the utterly most fantastic non-trip of the century. After spending hours and hours, day after day after day, the grouch planning the ultimate winter getaway, he glanced up from their Apple computer screen and exclaimed “oh, it’s spring.”
Besides, once again, after vowing they would never ever under any circumstance paint a large painting on watercolor paper to be cut up into pieces as a fund raiser for WAVE, a non-profit that works against domestic violence, they had a winter commitment. That’s ‘cause the grouch uttered that forbidden three letter word, “yes.” So the fair lass, now obligated without any form of consultation had one more “have to.” Naturally she wisely painted five individual paintings, each surrounded by a white margin, on her mega-sized sheet of paper. Meanwhile, he painted four very discrete paintings smartly tied together so they looked like one complete piece of art work — cleverly designed so no one could miss his conception. Brilliant!
Her’s all sold intact — the largest purchased by a note-worthy art collector from Alaska — herself. Yep, she bought her own painting to save it from being cut up because…..
There was this little girl.
An elementary school art critic.
Her mom gave her an itsy bitsy, I mean tiny, mat board with a cut out hole through which to select a portion of someone’s painting to be excised. To their mutual horror, this little girl sprinted back and forth trying to decide — cut out one of the lass’s deer or the gnome on the back of a goofy bear the grouch had painted? Whose work would be the victim? Oh the agony they each felt as she darted between their paintings. Back and forth, the lass’s heart sunk, back and forth, the grouch’s heart sunk, back and forth like a natural-born shopper. Ultimately……
The gnome “won.”
Now many downpours end with a rainbow, and that day proved to prove the tenet. A man sitting at their table saw the grouch’s anguish as he slumped in his chair realizing hours and hours of labor had just been obliterated. In an act of valor, he purchased the rest of that section of the big painting at a dollar per square inch as a gift to “the girl,” but in reality…you guessed it.
By the way, that Alaskan art collector I mentioned earlier ended the evening with one additional purchase. There, on a silent auction table rested a painting the fair lass couldn’t resist — a gem left over from the previous WAVE Art by the Inch fund raiser. A delightful pair of penguins with a chick had somehow escaped the discerning eyes of other art collectors. Just why begs understanding, but she bid and now the fair lass’s very own painting from two years ago also hangs in their home. The grouch believes it would be best if the fair lass refrain from visiting our local art gallery where more of her art is for sale.
Still, the lass’s major enterprise this year came through the viewfinder of two cameras. If there is a duck, merganser, gull, loon, shorebird or bird from any other flock of the thousands that pass through Petersburg, whose image is not tucked safely in their computer, it’s not because she didn’t try. It was probably just out-of-focus. No, wait, if it’s out-of-focus, it’s still there.
And now thanks to the fact that she celebrated another birthday this year, she has a new camera, a Sony DSL RX-10 IV which, if you check out reviews on line, has a manual translated into English by a committee comprised solely of members who do not read or write English. The name of the camera, RX-10 IV instead of RX-10 4 should be a clue. Thus, the grouch even bought her a book on how to use the camera so she could get started because this camera will do anything except floss your rear molars — if you can figure out how — except they couldn’t — figure out how to do most anything with it — the camera that is.
So, it was while standing alongside maybe 40 or 50 thousand snow geese in Washington’s Skagit River Valley with her trusty old Canon that she struck up a conversation with a guy, and this guy showed them some photos of geese and swans that would roll your socks down and back up, and they asked him what kind of camera he had, and hallelujah, it was the same Sony DSL RX-10 IV which she wasn’t even using because — I think you understand about flossing your rear molars. Anyway, in a 10-second demonstration, he told her how to do what the grouch gave her the camera for. Of course, she immediately dug the Sony RX-10 IV camera out from under a pile a thrift store treasures and set out among the birds only to find that all three batteries were dead and now it was time to leave the 40 to 50 thousand snow geese and, did I mention, several hundred trumpeter swans?
I’ve deviated chronologically because the Skagit River Valley provided the equivalent of hot fudge ice cream cake being served when you thought you were being sent to bed without supper. It came while the grouch was grumbling because they were forced to wait a week for a ferry home as the finale of a 50-day trip across half of America and back — a trip that began with a drive down British Columbia to Bellingham, Washington. There in one of those “no way” coincidences, the grouch’s brother just happened to be visiting from the east coast at the same time. From there, he made a left turn to drive 2,000 stormy miles in four days lashed by rain, snow, wind and the spray from passing semis to Door County, Wisconsin, while the fair lass flew America’s stuffed skies being served a tiny bag of salty unidentified crunchy stuff along with a plastic cup of her beverage of limited choice over a parallel route.
Ten days in Door County on the shores of the over-full Lake Michigan with cousin Connie and her husband, Bob, provided the fair lass with hours and hours of rock/fossil collecting, enough to wreck havoc with her back, her knees and displace everything the grouch had carefully packed in their Honda CRV — enough displacement so he couldn’t find much of anything he had brought along for the rest of the trip. Between the rocks, the seats designed to carry nothing wider than a soda straw on cross-country Delta Airline flights and sagging, thrift store reject beds in the single $ motels the grouch found for their incredible deal lodging — the fair lass claims her spine feels like it has been compressed into the shape of a pretzel.
Of course, true to her Groth genetic heritage, the fair lass made fast friends with everyone she encountered. On the shores of Lake Michigan she had a conversation with an “ELDERLY” gentleman. Editors Note: He was about the SAME AGE as her YOUTHFUL self. And, as most people do in any conversation, he told the lass about his favorite high school teacher. Naturally that teacher just happened to be the fair lass’s late uncle, Waldo. The lass truly believes God has a hand in these “chance happenings.”
Finally, back in Alaska when they departed the Alaska ferry, the fair damsel had amassed 47 more friends who want to maintain contact as well as order copies of her photo books plus she had bonded with 89 dogs, a dozen alpacas, two turtles and one toad. Surprised? As I said, she is a Groth. The grouch? I don’t think he lost too many friends and never met the toad.
The grand finale for that 50-day odyssey came when the fair lass found the ultimate rock — a real gold “nugget.” Well, kind of. While flossing her teeth she reached into her mouth and pulled out a beautiful gold inlay about the size of pencil eraser. Of course no dentists were available to see her that Saturday. Maybe they can use that gold to purchase another one of the lass’s paintings at the next WAVE auction.
I could have reported more, how she befriended the sweetest crow chick by giving it peanuts once, just once, really, only once, and for the next month it awakened the grouch every day at 4:00 AM and spent what seemed like forever mewing and cawing outside their bedroom window pleading, begging, willing to do anything for guess what? But, I’ve written enough so I won’t — report on it that is.
The rest of their family appears sort of normal. David no longer delivers pizzas, but instead has begun delivering people via Uber and Lyft in Wasilla and Anchorage. Tamia continues her traditional feminine role of driving plows and equipment for the City of Anchorage while Mandy got her second bachelor’s degree — this one in nursing — and currently works where they hope you don’t meet her on a professional basis, in Seattle’s Virginia Mason Hospital.
That’s about all I dare acknowledge about them for 2019. Now as a special Christmas gift to their friends the fair lass is offering to loan out rocks as table decorations during 2020 for any special events for which you may want to add a touch of class to the affair.
Oh no. Someone left the window open and the squirrel got in. Guess we ran out of peanuts. Better refill the feeder. But wait, now we don’t have to write a Christmas letter this year. All we have to add is what we most wanted to say:
May the blessings the miracle of Christmas fill your heart with the gift of Christ’s Love throughout the season and coming year.
With love, Don and Karen