As recipients of those dreaded Christmas newsletters, the members of the Texas branch of the family
decided it was time to extract our revenge. The characters are real. In keeping with the spirit and intent of the
Christmas newsletter, the content paints an accurate picture of the family members and their lives - kind of, maybe.

Holiday Greetings to our Treasured Friends
from the White, Foster, and Allen families

It has been a wonderful year in Texas. The White/Foster/Allen extended family finds itself so blessed that we once again feel a compulsion to share those blessings in the form of what we know to be our eagerly anticipated holiday newsletter. We are reminded on a daily basis how fortunate we really are - another year in which no family member has been institutionalized for more than a few days nor convicted of a major crime.

Cristi and Scott's eldest daughter Shelbi is growing up to be a lovely and charming young lady, an engaging combination of beauty and brains who seems certain to graduate in the top 75 percent of her class at the Mesquite Academy for the Confused and Bewildered, and will not that long from now head off to one of the many colleges competing for her talents as both a scholar and lifeguard.

Younger daughter Emme is no less of a joy, a dynamic ball of energy with a unique fashion sense. The thousands of dollars spent on therapy and pharmaceutical industry products seem to have paid off. She has emerged from her shell. Those who remember her as bashful, timid, and withdrawn will be amazed at the transformation. She is following in Shelbi's footsteps as a cheerleader and has reportedly caught the eye of the Dallas Cowboys on the strength of her ability to cheer her middle school football team on to stratospheric heights of ineptitude.

Son Christian continues to be, well, Christian. We are encouraged by the fact that the number of traffic citations has dropped to a manageable level. While his career path remains undefined, he has been exploring a number of exciting options.  All are optimistic about his prospects for the future and are confident that he is destined to do great things.

Scott's work doing whatever it is he does for AT&T is going well. It offers the advantage of a flexible schedule that allows him to frequently work in the peace and quiet of the late evening and expand his worldwide professional network. He briefly considered moving to India to be closer to some of his new friends in the IT business but rejected the idea upon learning more about the belief held by many in that country that cows should be revered, not eaten.

Somehow Cristi has found time in her busy schedule as a full-time mother to pursue her dream of becoming a tattoo artist. She has been honing her craft on Susan's son CJ who serves as a living, breathing showcase for the unique skills she brings to world of body art.

Each Friday, Cristi and her mother bond through shopping, always finding some new treasure at a bargain price, bringing joy to the hearts of retailers everywhere, and eliciting bemused stares from their respective loving husbands when they return to their homes with yet more stuff. They are doing their part to keep the economy on track. Are you doing yours?

Jon and Susan continue to be blissfully happy in their role as doting, hands-on parents to Susan's now technically adult children, Ashley and CJ, and find even greater joy in conducting pilgrimages to remote, underdeveloped corners of world, most recently returning from Hawaii where they joined the natives in harvesting pineapples. Jon and Susan are among the most prolific contributors to the family quality of life with Jon as an employee of CiCis, a source of occasional free pizza and Susan as an employee of an athletic trade association, the source of an endless supply of free T-shirts.

CJ has become one of the family's most valued assets and one of its most talked about members - always venturing into what most of us would consider to be uncharted waters in his own free-spirited way. The story of the mysterious disappearance of his car is certain to be a tale to be passed on from generation to generation.

Ashley retains her close family ties while spreading her wings in the real world, maintaining a legal residence but not a physical presence at Paul and Margaret's house, and entertaining the prospect of reclaiming what had been her room at Jon and Susan's house in the interest of more actively promoting the concept of the nuclear family.

Jon remains public spirited and deeply involved in the affairs of his community as a member of his local Water Board. He seems truly committed to using his waterboarding expertise to make the world in which we live a better place.

Susan dipped her toes into the retail sea this past year but after a short time, during which she quickly rose to a position of power and influence in the Walmart organizational structure, determined that her greatest value was in finding coupons and sharing them with family members rather than redeeming the coupons brought to Walmart by the colorful array of characters who make up the Walmart customer base.   

Matt and Kathleen are fully immersed in building their fledgling legal services business, working tirelessly to slay the dragon of poverty and achieve what has become the new American Dream - solvency. Earlier this year, Matt earned his private investigator's license and is now certified to legally poke into the affairs of those he does not know and couldn't care less about on behalf of those for whom he can display true empathy - those with pockets deep enough to pay his hourly rate.

Choosing not to reproduce as a concession to concerns relating to the apparent of degradation of the family gene pool, the couple lavish attention on their version of children - two large black dogs, Wolfgang and Laslow  - claimed by their owners to possess impressive pedigrees but viewed by others as just a couple really big, hairy dogs. 

Kathleen never fails to impress with her culinary skills, always coming up with new delights for her family members, smiling with satisfaction as they devour every last crumb, and plodding forward in the face of graphic evidence that her efforts to produce healthy, slimming fare do not seem to be reflected in the ever-expanding waistlines of those she serves.

While Kathleen labors in the kitchen, Scott and Matt can frequently be found bonding and pursuing their mutual interest in things mechanical while pondering the answers to important questions such as whether or not Paul has replenished the beer supply at his house since their last assault on it. Their skills as auto mechanics are becoming the thing of which legends are made but the opportunities to exercise those skills become more and more limited as the quality of Matt's fleet  improves.

As Margaret and Paul drift off into senility, both serve as continuing reminders of the fact that older is not necessarily better. In an attempt to drive off into the sunset in style, Margaret treated herself to a bright, shiny new car. For his part, Paul continues to cling to what seems to him were better times when true red-blooded Americans bought real American cars, keeping his old car and planning a party to celebrate its 25th year of polluting the planet both ecologically and aesthetically.

Each autumn they find themselves drawn to Las Vegas as a moth is drawn to a flame in support of Margaret's  gambling addiction which, while not yet fully under control, has taken a positive turn in the sense that after years of trying, she finally arrived at the point where she got more money out of the slot machines than she put in.

Paul's inexplicable passion for projects involving dirt, sweat, and sawdust was fueled earlier this year when our beloved cute couple returned from a trip to the nation's heartland to discover that their house had been transformed into a man-made lake by a small water leak. The now pristine condition of their palatial estate and the reduction in the number of trips to the local hospital emergency room to address power tool related injuries serve as a testimonial to his ever-evolving home improvement skills.

As we look forward to the new year, we do so filled with energy, optimism, and enthusiasm. While it is hard to imagine how things could be better than they already are, we remain confident that we are the Great Spirit's chosen ones, unwavering in our faith that he (or she as the case may be) will find ways to deliver even more of the best life can offer to our doorstep. We can only feel sorrow and pity for you, our pathetic friends. As we bask in the sunshine, you remain condemned to live out your lives in darkness. You can, however, look to us and the future for a glimmer of light, secure in the knowledge that there will always be another newsletter to brighten your drab, dreary existence. 

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