Holiday Family: Aunt Cheryl

m20161129Dear friend I haven’t met yet,

Hello from sunny Las Vegas. The weather here is as lovely as always this time of year. The air is cool and yet the sun shines so brightly that it fills my heart with the joy of the season.

This year, we are having our usual holiday activities. I’ve been baking desserts to share with friends. Graycie is “helping” by jumping on the counter, sniffing everything, and just generally keeping me company while I bake.

I have a few little presents left to wrap. Most of the gifts are already wrapped and in the mail to family in Ohio and Arkansas. Graycie loves to help me wrap gifts, too. Mostly she likes to lie down in the middle of the gift-wrapping process and demand pets.

Here’s a copy of our Christmas card for this year. Graycie didn’t like the hat but she tolerated it long enough to get the pictures.

Our dominoes group is still meeting every Saturday night. We have a blast, talking and laughing. We will have a gift exchange. We do a type of gift exchange called a Yankee swap. Have you ever heard of it? We each bring a small, wrapped gift. All the gifts are piled in the center of the table. Then we draw numbers to see who goes first. The first person chooses a gift but doesn’t open it. The second person can either choose a gift from the remaining pile, or “bump” the first person’s gift. The third person can draw from the pile or “bump” from person number one or number two. Don’t worry though – if somebody’s gift gets bumped, he or she can draw a new one from the pile or else bump someone else’s gift. All the bumping of gifts back and forth gets to be hilarious. At the end, we open all the gifts at once.

On Christmas day, Uncle Jerry is coming over. We’ll open presents, then turn on the Ravens and Steelers game, and eat my own special chili. Graycie participates by sitting in Jerry’s lap, or else standing on the back of the couch and bathing Jerry’s head. We’ve never figured out why she licks Jerry’s head – she doesn’t do it to anyone else.

Maybe later in the day, we’ll go to Aunt Susan’s open house. She has it every year. There will be lots of people in and out. She makes a dozen different kinds of desserts, and has some special coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but everyone who does just raves about how wonderful it is. She is a heck of a cook, and makes everything from scratch. I use mixes and shortcuts. My baking is good but hers is better. I guess I just don’t have the patience to cook like she does.

Anyway, I wish you could join us. It would be so nice to share our holidays with you.

Sending you the very best wishes for a happy holiday,

Aunt Cheryl


  1. Robert S. says:

    Purr! Sounds so wonderful! Graycie is beautiful and I’m sure going to sketch her when we come. Thank her for me for posing for the Christmas card, that’s so wonderful! I hope she’ll lick my hair too, or chew on my beard. I never mind being bathed by a cat, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

    My cook thing is to taste it and sometimes decorate sugar cookies, if there are some. I’m an artist so they get elaborate occasionally, but even the fails taste good. As for presents, I’ll probably bring oil pastels for the swap, they’re great for anyone whether they just started in art or have been painting for a living.

    I also love making decorations, things like painting walnut shells gold and stringing them or decorating pine cones with ribbons, those holiday crafts things are a lot of fun. Then again, a ribbon through a hole and you can hang the cookies too.

    Purring at you with great appreciation!


  2. Daniel says:

    Hi Aunt Cheryl!
    Graycie sounds like such a delight to have around the holidays and I’m happy she keeps you company. Hello from the other side of the country in New York! I really wish it was cool and sunny here during the holidays, I’m not too much looking forward to more blizzards this year. Have you traveled anywhere to see snow I wonder?
    I’ve never heard of a Yankee exchange but it sounds like a lot of silly fun and I would be happy to join and of course I would help you wrap presents and bake.
    Aunt Susan sounds like someone I would love to meet, I love baked goods especially from scratch so I’ll be sure to take one of everything. And like you, I don’t drink coffee either, I prefer my caffeine in black tea.
    Thank you very much for letting me into your home this holiday season. It’s very tough being in a family who scares me into staying in the closet and not being the boy I want to express myself as. I am happy that I am safe at your house.
    Again thank you so much and I wish you a very happy holiday and I hope your gift doesn’t get bumped too much!
    Love, Your Little Nephew Daniel

    • Bethany S. says:


      We’re big black tea drinkers at my house. Getting chilly here in Seattle, so we almost always have a pot brewing. We love you for you.

      Your friend,

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