By Mary Lynn Bruny

Every year my husband and his siblings look though my mother-in-law’s holiday cards and letters to catch up on the lives of extended family and old friends. She used to get these truly amazing holiday letters from a former neighbor who has since passed away. These letters weren’t marvelous because they were filled with the wondrous news of accomplishments or travels. No, these letters were fabulous because they were jam-packed with tales of woe. Anything and everything horrible that could happen seemed to happen to this poor woman and her family, and yet she always attempted to look on the bright side, bless her soul.

I imagine this sweet woman now in heaven but still prone to misfortune: As she’s arriving, the pearly gates close too quickly and smack her bottom; her halo keeps slipping and bonking her head despite several size adjustments; and saucy young angels keep knocking her over by flying too closely despite being told by Saint Peter to stop doing so.

But one thing this poor woman has not had to endure is the world in 2020. I can’t help but think how wonderfully horrible her holiday letter would be this year if she did. I imagine it would be something like this:

Dear Friends,

Hello from my new home! Yes, you will notice by my return address that I now live in the basement storage closet of our apartment building. After my son Darrell (who used to live with me) had to give up his Uber job, I had to economize and downsize.

Poor Darrell was attacked by a hive of killer hornets while waiting in line at a COVID testing site. He’s now recovering, living in his brother Neville’s barn, a great place to quarantine. Neville’s barn is empty as his farm is in foreclosure after the drought and the plague of locusts did in his last crops. The good news is now these brothers can mend their fractured relationship. Darrell really never got over the fact that Neville ran off with his fourth wife, Darlene.

But that’s all water under the bridge now since Darlene left Neville for their former farm hand, Bud. Despite Bud’s right arm and leg being ripped off during that harvesting accident, he’s still an attractive man (at least, what’s left of him, ha ha!), and apparently Darlene couldn’t resist. After pawning Neville’s electronics, Bud and Darlene disappeared right before the fires started and the house burned down. Thank goodness those hero firefighters were able to save the barn! Home sweet home (at least for 60 more days, ha, ha)!

The financial glimmer of hope in our family is my daughter Angie. Her Etsy business making custom sweaters from cat hair is thriving. This is great news as her boyfriend Duke took off with her van filled with all their pandemic supplies – including their huge stash of toilet paper and n95 masks – to sell on the black market. And I thought he was a keeper! Darn!

I am finding my new home a cozy place to quarantine and am just appreciating my good health. Like most folks during this challenging year I’m learning to do more with less, especially space. For instance, it turns out one doesn’t need to be horizontal when sleeping. Who knew? And I’m fortunate to have access to a large amount of cleaning products as they are stored in my new lodgings. This probably explains why I’ve recently lost my sense of taste and smell. But really, who needs those? (Especially when one doesn’t have a shower, ha ha!)

Best wishes and happy holidays! With gratitude for all that I have, Lucille

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn is a Colorado freelance writer. Contact her at ml.bruny@comcast.net.