*Greetings Everyone!*

 

It's Christmas time?Already?Ever had that feeling, after eating something you really love, when you look down at your plate and wonder: "Who ate all my food!", and then realize on reflection that it must've been you?Well, that's how I feel right now; I was sure I had some rice cakes around here somewhere.And you thought I was going for a clever metaphor on the passing of time.Whatever.

 

Anyway, as you've probably guessed, this yearís Christmas letter is going to hold to the proud Proulx tradition of no two Christmas letters ever being the same.In the past, we've had letters written by cats, reporters, entire family collaborations, letters written by just Mom, etc.Strangely enough, however, I think the last Christmas letter that I ever wrote completely, came out when I was four years old.If you haven't yet figured it out, this yearís chronicler is, of course, yours truly: Sam.

 

As the one doing the writing, I naturally get certain advantages.Mainly, I'm going to talk about myself first.For me, this year has gone by so fast it still feels like maybe February.Alarmingly, life shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down.Just the other day I was considering installing a desk in my bedroom, when it occurred to me: "is it really worth it?You won't even be living here in six more months!"I then freaked out for the next 20 minutes, and all thoughts of desks were forgotten in a rush of thoughts of university and packing and unpacking and money and scholarships and living and studying and graduation and just generally went back to my Sesame Street days.Remember that one character, Cookie Monster or Elmo maybe, who was always worrying about every possible thing that might go wrong?I was like that.That's why the rest of this letter will contain no information about my future plans at all.I don't want to think about my future plans anymore.Just don't be surprised if next year you hear that I've moved to Zanzibar and joined a cult of sheep-worshipping anarchists dedicated to overthrowing the one-world government.It's probably easier than choosing a university.

 

So, what did I manage to get done this year?Well, let's see:

  1. Got a new computer -- my other desktop broke.It's a good machine, and I won't bore any of you with the stats.
  2. Went to Encounters Canada -- one of the best experiences of my life.Hold onto that one, I'll come back to it.
  3. Went to summer school -- being sick will do that.It wasn't too bad, though.
  4. Joined a bunch of social groups in my school -- Volunteer Now, the Debate Team, and Free the Children... in case you care.They all involve making the world a better place through foaming idealism, wishful thinking, and no knowledge or understanding whatsoever of economic reality.
  5. Scripture reading -- I've been moving closer to the church over the last year.Iím now the scripture reader at church, about once a month.
  6. Writing a book -- a 25 year history of our church.A fun experience, and I'll come back to this one in a minute.
  7. Read tons more books -- this is no different from any other year, I guess.This yearís favourites are Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card, and The Iron Maiden by Piers Anthony.Tambu by Robert Asprin is a close runner up.

 

The first interesting thing on my list is Encounters Canada.Encounters Canada is an organization that brings together youth from all across Canada for various themed weeks.As one of four from Ontario who went on that particular week, it was the experience of a lifetime. I met over 100 people from everywhere in the country, from PEI to BC.I also got the opportunity to meet the Governor General, talk to politicians, lawyers and judges, go to parliament on the day the government fell, and much more.I've already pumped out several pages on this trip for classes, and still could go on for another few hours.In the interests of saving paper, I'll leave it at a paragraph.

 

The second interesting thing I'm working on is a book.It will cover the last 25 years of our church, and will weigh in at somewhere around 150 pages by the time I'm done.It's all turned out to be a much, much larger project than I originally thought, but with the help of church and family finishing is in sight.Then it's just the printing that I need to worry about.

 

Okay, I think that finishes the important bits of my year.Now, we can move on to Mom.Seeing as she's already written text of her own, and I don't reinvent the wheel when I can help it, I'll let her speak for herself:

****

An activity we've been having a lot of fun with lately is planning for my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary next summer--some of you can be expecting an invitation in the mail very soon (in the meantime, you can block off that long weekend in August).

 

Other than that, the year's highlight for me has to be the 10th birthday of our church's mid-week children's ministry ('Club House'). The pastor declared Mother's Day "Club House Sunday", and the children did a re-production of skits they'd put on for a nearby Senior's home. Those of us who'd been involved for several years were called to the front and presented with thank-you gifts, with special mention & bouquet of flowers for the Coordinator (me!) The beautiful people who volunteer as leaders, the precious children, testimonies of some of our young people who were baptized this year, and my appreciative church family, have all worked together to make me say: "I'm in this for the duration--I could do this forever!"

 

If you're ever in need of the sort of therapy that takes your mind off of complicated things, cheers you up and makes you laugh, warms you with a cuddle, accepts and forgives you easily--spend some time with children! After all, God Himself was a baby!

****

I think we can all say, in chorus: "aawe!"One thing she forgot to mention was that she's still writing, and is getting better every year.Eventually, we'll get her latest stuff online.In the meantime, if you're interested in cute and not too long Christmas stories, send her an email: cathie@interfree.ca.

 

Now we can move into the computer department, with The Adventures of Dad!Seeing as he's kept himself extremely busy, he hasn't sent me anything for the letter.Thus, you'll have to put up with my narration of events.

 

The theme of this year has been "things breaking", with a subtheme of "purchasing new things."Several months ago, we had our Linux server, the one that handles our email and website, break completely.It's just been this month that things have begun to return to normal.

 

Maybe everything would have been fixed a little faster, but around the same time that the server broke, what with the shuffling around going on in IBM, Dad started having to work extremely long hours of overtime. Supposedly, he works 12 hour days Monday-Thursday, and gets Friday off.Recently, however, he's been working 12 hour days Monday-Friday, and sometimes Saturday.He's also often on 24 hour call.It got so bad that, after one 24 hour work day, he even considered quitting.

 

Thankfully, the workload seems to have reduced in the last few weeks.

 

While this has been going on, included in the list of broken things was:the Linux server, Samís desktop computer, Samís laptop, several disc drives, the internet connection, a phone, a USB drive, a VCR, and some other things.

 

Included in the list of purchased things was: a new computer, a new stereo, a new internet connection, several bits of sound hardware, several disc drives, and probably other things.

 

We end this year thankful for the fact that, despite everything else, we haven't had to buy a new truck or trailer.

 

That, I believe, covers everything.So, until next year (or the next time we see you), God's blessings, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and remember: if your clothes still all fit on January 2nd, you just haven't celebrated properly.

**Love

Samuel, Cathie, Rej

Öand Dustie**

 

The most photogenic member of the family, who thinks she should be part of the manger scene.