This might find its way into your holiday mailbox. . .
My dear Cousin,
Well, all I can say is Whoopie! for you!!! We got your letter last week and that slick photograph of you and James with the kiddies. It looks like you got yourself fixed up fine, that's for sure.
George wants to know if the automobile came with the job at the bank, or if James bought it on his own. You do look mighty fine behind the window with Grandma's fur over your shoulders. I remember how she liked to wear that wrap to everybody's funeral. Do you remember when she wore it to Olive Stebbins' service? Oh my, wasn't that a lark! Remember when the fox tail got caught in the casket handle as the pallbearers brought the box down the aisle and Grandma nearly went into the ground with Olive. Ho ho!!!
Well, cousin, words just can't explain the year we have been through here in the flatlands. It's impossible to describe. You can't even imagine. Let me tell you, it's like nothing we have ever been through, even when Georgie ran off with Patience and we ended up with two babies in the house in less than a month. (a'course the babies didn't take less than a month to get to us! wouldn't that be something!). Sometimes, I wish I could just follow Grandma and Olive Stebbins down that aisle into eternity. Lord, Almighty, I just can hardly find the words.
We should have known things were not going to get better when Bessie got it into her head to break out of the barn and follow Georgie to Patience's folks' farm down the road. Well, it was fine with us if Georgie and Patience wanted to live with her folks, but we weren't very happy about losing our cow too. Every day we had to get a pail of milk for our own baby girl and with George laid up half the time and Georgie mooning over Patience, I think the children must have worn a new path over to the Wilson place. Even Bessie got tired of waiting to be milked by our little ones. She is such a sweetie pie, the most patient little thing. (Bessie not Georgie's wife). Sometimes when she turns her face into the sun and blinks her big brown eyes, I just can't help thinking how much she looks like you that day when we went to the lake with the Martin kids. Now wasn't a treat? (the trip to the lake, not the cow) You wore that navy bathing costume. Remember how you stood on the bank of the lake with the sunshine in your face right before Ed Jones pushed you into the water.
But, I was telling you about what we've been doing around here. . . It turned out that George really did get hurt when Bessie knocked him into the hay rake. He didn't realize he had broke a rib until later when he tried to pick up baby girl and about passed out. Doc Robbins fixed him up straight away and now he's as right as rain, praise the Lord. Georgie and Patience are expecting a new baby, and living over at her folks with Bessie. She is a very touchy thing (Patience, not the cow) so that's just fine with me. Of course, we don't miss out on much with the little ones. Georgie's baby girl is over here with our own little Janey nearly all the time, especially since that Johnson boy moved back to the county and Georgie is working out on the farm most of the time.
The children are a great blessing. Next to Georgie, there are John and Jimmy who help their father with the crops and stock. John is a fine boy and likes to tinker with tools and equipment. I think he will be an inventor. Jimmy is such a gentle soul, he cried when Bessie went off, but I think he has a secret plan to bring her back. Then there's Margey and little Michael who are just as sweet as twins can be, and our little baby Janey. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see my little chicks all in bed at night and know they are all safe and well. Well, of course, all except Georgie, but then I never did rest easy with him even when he was in bed under our roof.
I am enclosing a photograph of baby girl on our newest addition (the calf not another baby). You never said if you would like to hire Bessie as a model for a dairy business, but now we have another on offer. Do write back soon, Cousin, and let us know if you are interested.
Your Cousin Amelia
Read Last Year's Christmas Letter here -- If Our Ancestors Wrote Christmas Letters: 2010 Edition
Photograph: Underwood & Underwood. The pets--on a western stock farm, Kansas. Photographic Print on stereo card. Digital image. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 US. Accessed December 2011.
Thanks for the kind words. My imagination does get carried away at times...