Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
We had a wonderful Christmas, and it sounds as if you did, too. My friend Tony
gave Jessie the Fisher Price Marching Band. When she unwrapped the present and
opened the box and found a band helmet and a drum, I thought, "Well, this won't
be so bad." But then, you take the top off the drum and there is the rest of
the band: cymbals, flute, mariachis, and glockenspiel. And it all attaches to
the outside of the drum. What a rig. It was retaliation for all the years
that I bought Shasta microphones and noisy toys. The whole time Jessie is
serenading us, I was plotting my revenge. I've come up with some pretty good
ideas, the meanest of which is to buy Shasta a real clarinet. With lessons.
Tony has started a war.
Jessie also got some great shoes from Santa, which she picked out herself.
They're hot pink, high-top, cat-head tennis shoes with Tweety Bird embroidered
on the side and "That's all, folks" on the soles. She insisted on wearing them
out of the shoe store and was in danger of running into something all day as
she walked along admiring her feet. (A friend of mine once left a shoe store
that way and, while staring down at her feet, ran her head into a parking meter
hard enough to rattle the change. I always wondered if that wasn't what was
wrong with her.) Jessie also got a shoulder bag that is pink trimmed in aqua
with a shooting star on the flap.
Jessie is taking a nap after a hard day of cooking and cleaning the Party
Kitchen and riding Neena and drawing on the easel and driving around in the car
and too many other things involving too many other toys to enumerate.
What a great Christmas present I bought myself! Tam had an old bridle and
breastplate with the only real conchos I've ever seen. Twenty-two on the
breastplate and seventeen on the headstall and everything that buckled had the
Lone Ranger style belt buckle and belt guard and tip. I dreamed about them one
night last week and interpreted it to mean to go buy them from Tam for far
more money than I can afford. Trigger never had a rig like this. Santa
brought presents for all the animals, even Emil, who received a gift from Mrs.
Santa even as she was was threatening to throw him out into the cold (about 84
But it was really cold last night. By really cold I guess I mean 50. It just
seems so much colder down here. The awful thing about south Florida is that it
never gets cold enough for jackets, and I love winter clothes better than
summer clothes. Moore's coat is getting thick. It is already thicker than it
was this time last year, and he is worse in a fur coat. Horses are wilder in
cold weather. I have never been thrown in short sleeves.
Last night, Jessie and I went out for a wonderful steak dinner at an unusual
restaurant. The appetizer was a bucket of roasted peanuts. I liked what you
did with the empty shells--you threw them on the floor. Jessie ate so much I
thought I was going to have to stand her in a cool stream.
I should be vacuuming but Jessie is now awake and watching Clyde Crashcup, and
Gumby is next, followed by Beetlejuice, the cartoon, so I guess there just
isn't any time for such tiresome and trivial pursuits. Perhaps I will just go
read the last few pages of Body of Truth by David Lindsey, a novel about modern
day Guatemala. That is one scary little place you can cross off your list when
you tour Central America, no matter what Mayan ruins may be there and no matter
what Lord Pacal says. Tell him the neighborhood has gone downhill since he was
Isn't it time for you to come see us? Not meaning to be flip, but if you can
find your way to the Pleiades, you can find your way to Naples, Florida. Jessie is
growing so fast that if you stay away for too long, you'll miss several inches.
I think you should just pack up the computer, the invisible entourage, the
books and whatever, and come on. We have good libraries here and I know you
will be able to find something here that you can't find there. Jessie keeps
asking, "When is Care coming to see us?" There's fruit here just waiting for
you to pick. The oranges are ripe, the navels are much more plentiful than
they were last year, and the grapefruit are dragging the branches down to the
By the way, I loved your description of people being either alive or dead,
depending on their residence and point of reference. My Dad, who was bald and
overweight, divided people into those he liked and those he didn't like,
according to their hair and weight. He said there were only two kinds of
people he didn't like, people with long hair and real skinny people. I
personally have always divided the world into two categories, the people who
love me and the crazy people.
Did I tell you we have a new dog? Another one of my rescues. Otis is a
Catahoula Leopard Dog, a breed once used to hunt leopards but now used as a cow
dog. They were very good at their first job, and I'm told they're excellent at
herding cows, but Sarah, the cow, herds Otis, the cow-herd, all over the place. Of
course, Sarah is something of a disappointment in the disposition department
and she pretty well chases everything around here. She runs amazingly fast to
be so fat, and I think it is a very good thing that she does not have horns,
since she runs up behind Moore and butt-kicks him while I am riding him. Moore
doesn't seem to notice the hateful things his adoptive cow-child does to him.
Anyway, Otis has a very short, fine coat which does not shed, and he is the
color of a mud puddle with black spots and he has a thin, whippet-like tail.
Molly Heel, overeating because she is convinced that with additional dogs she
will surely starve, is so fat that if she belonged to PT Barnum, he would be
exhibiting her as a rare Legged Harp Seal. Mr. Moore is his same charming
self. He tries to train at least one of the dogs a day. So far he has taught
both Molly and Hooch not to walk behind him, and he is laying for Otis.
Kris brought over her nine baby guineas for me to keep in the brooder until
they get big enough to be outside. Her husband seemed really pleased; she just
got a jackass, too. All that braying and squawking must not rest easy on his
Just before Christmas, I bought Jessie the Palomino named Neena that she fell
in love with. ("Ooooo, what a beautiful horsie!" she said over and over.) Neena
has been ridden only by children and stops and waits if the child drops the
reins or if anything odd happens. She is a veteran of horse shows, and just
after New Year's Jessie rode her in one. She won a ribbon for riding Neena from
one end of the arena to the other as fast as she could. (Thankfully, it isn't
nearly as fast as Jessie thinks it is. Fast is when Moore gallops.)
Jessie and Neena and their little friends are so cute riding off together, and
what a wonderful influence they've begun to have on Mr. Moore. He stamps his
feet, snorts, and bucks a little if those little girls and their well-behaved
horsies leave him behind. Miracle of miracles, Moore is beginning to conform.
Jessie told me today that the family of one of her little friends at pre-school
was told to move to Tennessee. When I asked her who told them to move, she
said, "Her mother's psychic told them to move." Unbelievable! Jessie is
watching Maya the Bee on Nick, so I guess I had better go and get her some
French Toast started. Mother's work is never done. Write soon.