Dear Friends and Family,

Well, it’s that time of year again! We Fergusons have had a great year. Here are a few of our highlights.

As you can see from the enclosed family photo, Bob lost 40 pounds on a low-carb diet. He had to get a second job to afford the diet, because he now eats more red meat than a grizzly bear, but you can’t knock the results. The low-carb plan doesn’t allow you to eat anything inexpensive like pasta, potatoes or rice. But you can eat as many $12-per-pound steaks as you like. We’ve spent so much on food this year, we can’t afford to buy him new clothes! His pants are so baggy, he looks like he just graduated from clown school. Still, it beats the stomach staple the doctors were talking about, and he says he feels good.

Speaking of health, Chardonnay’s nose ring got infected and she missed most of this last semester at junior college. The whole experience has made her think seriously about changing her major from Tattoo Art Appreciation to Life Coaching, but nothing’s firm yet.

The really exciting news is that Chardonnay finally has a boyfriend — a lawyer. No, wait a minute. Bob says I’ve got that wrong. The boyfriend isn’t a lawyer, the boyfriend has a lawyer. My bad. Kids these days! I could never have afforded a lawyer when I was his age. He must really be smart. He’s living above our garage “until the heat dies down” at his place, he says. Bob and I used to have an apartment like that, too — once the heat came on, you could never turn it off.

Josh is doing well in Golf Course Management; he came “thisclose” to making the Pro’s List this semester, except for his low grade in lawn-mowing. Thank goodness he got an A in Watering Grass 101.

Bob’s mother is still living. With us. Sometimes she’s a little forgetful. I think she would probably be better off in a nursing home, but Bob won’t hear of it. He says, “As long as you’re healthy, why shouldn’t she stay with us?” Except for the smoking, the drinking, the cleaning, the cooking, the swearing and the laundry, she’s not much of a bother. And the kids love her. They’re always trying to make her comfortable. But no matter how many times I tell them, they still try to turn her oxygen back on when she’s smoking.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to explain that newspaper headline in June, “Bob Ferguson Arrested in Credit Card Fraud.” Actually, it was good news: They finally arrested the guy who had stolen Bob’s identity. They caught him trying to charge a Slim Jim and a box of Handi-Wipes down at the Gas and Go Away. Little did the thief know that Bob’s credit cards have been maxed out for months, and all the clerks have orders to call the police if he ever tries to use a credit card there again.

The thief is in jail and is still pretending to be Bob, but that will probably change when he finds out about the back taxes we owe from that tax-shelter fiasco last year. Apparently, you can’t just skip mowing your backyard, call it a “tree farm” and start taking an agricultural deduction. Who knew? But if the fake Bob Ferguson wants to do eight to 10 years for tax fraud, that’s fine with us.

Which reminds me, be sure to watch Bob’s dad on “60 Minutes” next week to hear his side of the story. The church calls it embezzlement, but Dad swears it was just a bookkeeping mistake.

Well, that’s about it from the Fergusons. I’ve got to go pick up Fluffy from the vet. I’m not sure I want to see the bill, but really — how much could a simple tail reattachment cost, anyway?

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday,

The Fergusons

Contact Jim Mullen at mullen.jim@gmail.com.

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