Hey 19

It’s likely most of us have seen
Our last year that contains “19”
In any part of it. No sweat
For those whose longest-lived regret
Is Blue’s Clues leaving Steve behind
But we whose childhood’s defined
By when McDonald’s came to town
May grieve that 19’s going down.
When Steely Dan’s lament was sung
On first-run radio, his young
Companion was just half the age
She’d be before we turned the page
On what had been a hundred years
Of dates in which 19 appears;
Since Y2K there’s been just one
And come tomorrow, that one’s done.
Bye, 19. You’ve given plenty.
Welcome, all, to 2020.

Exit The Introvert

Clean-up from the holiday
It’s time to pack the kids away
To sweep the secrets back beneath
The rugs and burn the holly wreath
It’s been a [adjective here] week
The kind of contact we would seek
If we were social (which we’re not)
So smile and hug the way we’re taught
Approximate the grateful shape
And seal the crates with packing tape
Next year we’ll haul them out again
Keep working on those hugs till then

Not Starting Now

Traditionally, New Year’s Day’s
For setting goals to mend one’s ways
But making change is such a fight
That Boxing Day just seems more right.

I have a checkered history
With resolutions. Mystery
Surrounds the outcome not at all
Except the date on which I fall.

It’s not that I don’t try. I do!
I don’t know why it up I screw
But every year’s another blunder:
Set the hurdle low; duck under.

Once, I gave up self-control
But in the end I couldn’t pull
It off, and slid right back again
To sacrifice and discipline.

I think instead this Boxing Day
I’ll make an effort not to say
I will or won’t do anything
To change my ways!*

*At least till spring.

Holiday Letter 2019

The Twenty-Teens are winding down.
As teens will do, they’re leaving town
To find a future on their own
In fields their forefolk haven’t sown.
Our kids will surely swim, not drown;
Old decades’ fates cannot be known.

A melancholy opening
For this year’s tilt at reckoning
The changes in our circumstance
In matters touching work, romance,
Emotional well-being, and
The wealth of self-worth we command.

Oh, dear, that’s promising too much.
Perhaps I’ve gotten just a touch
O’erwrought since last I penned this letter?
Are these shrieking angels better
Than their swollen foes? I’m thinkin’
We’ve less Nature left than Lincoln.

Enough! This letter’s doggerel,
Not Lincoln’s First Inaugural,
So let’s not dwell on Blue or Red
(Or Gray), and celebrate instead
Our clan’s collective victory
O’er things unplanned, both grand and wee.

The San Diego family fort is
Staffed by Siri, whose report is
Positive in re employment
(Steady paychecks breed enjoyment).
She works for the County, days,
At least until her passion pays:

She and Josh and several friends
Have formed an acting troupe whose ends
Include connecting audiences
With new works, because while fences
Make us feel more safe from hate,
They’re not complete without a gate.

Iain’s navigating, too,
That twisting trail of how to do
Those things that make your heartstrings sing
When they’ve become the carts that bring
The bacon home. Don’t twist the knob
So far your joy’s now just your job!

He’s still an agent of creation
In the field of animation,
Going where the jobs appear
Then moving on. A gig career
Affords a special kind of freedom;
When your patrons call, though, heed ’em!

Kari’s work is much the same
In that the schools that call her name
From one day to the next may switch
So it’s on her, recalling which
Of Salem’s overburdened teachers
Host the most redeeming creatures.*

*Sorry, students. When they’re packed
In pens like cattle, children act
A little beastly, now and then.
I know what kind of day it’s been
For Kari, whether foul or fine,
By if she sips or gulps her wine.

My employment’s held aloft
By wafting winds from Microsoft,
Whose software suites are always changing
Unpredictably, arranging
Opportunities for techs
Like me to fix what’s broken next.

Outside of work at DOJ,
My sister, Kristin, found a way
To keep me busy by inviting
Kin to sign up for exciting
River swims (across and down)
And tri’s in her new island town.

On that athletic note, I oughtn’t
Overlook another spot in
Which the family’s tendency
To sign up first, then train, meant we
Have all now marathoned, as Iain
Rock ‘n’ Rolled with Siri, Me‘n.

Speaking as we are of things
That last too long, I think that brings
Us near the finish line of this,
Our family’s annual We-Miss-
You-And-We’re-Thinking-Of-You
letter!
Hope your 2020’s better.