Dear Friends and Family,

Earthquakes, and derechoes, and hurricanes. Oh my. Hey, what up? We’re not in Kansas anymore.

Damn. I had the entire Christmas letter written, ahead of schedule even, and the above sentence is the only thing I get to keep. Trust me, you’re not going to hear about the weather now.

Weddings, and heartbreak, and divorce. Oh shit. This time, I know what’s up. Life.

We had a beautiful wedding for our daughter this summer. Most everyone that we care about celebrated with us, some coming all the way from Europe. Tara looked stunning. Her father not only gave her away, but he also performed the ceremony. Her brother gave a heart wrenching speech that welcomed his new brother-in-law to the family. I plastered a smile on my face and hosted the event. And then my daughter came back from her honeymoon, moved in with her husband, and quickly saw what I’d been seeing for the past five years. That he was never going to cut it as a husband and father. And now she’s getting a divorce.

Before any of you go mad thinking I’m a heartless mother, my daughter knows that I’m writing this letter. On a walk I asked her, “So Tara. What the hell am I supposed to write in the newsletter this year? “Oh, by the way, my daughter was married in July, and now, three months later, she’s getting a divorce?” She responded, “Mama, you’ve always been brutally honest with our Christmas letters, I don’t see why you’d stop now. Besides, it will save me the agony of having to tell everyone myself.”

So I write. With heavy heart for my daughter’s pain, and though it’s not an easy time for us, it is, nonetheless, a good time all the same.  We’re all in good health. Our family remains strong. And this, too, shall pass. I was never okay with Tara marrying charles.  I went along with the marriage because Tara promised that she wouldn’t have children until after charles graduated from a Ph.D. program. Long story abbreviated, the guy couldn’t even get it together to apply to a program on his own.

While our daughter’s heart is broken, she, like us, is glad that she’s moving on.  And before it got messier. Even better, she’s promised to go, and stay, in therapy until she can tell my why she would have fallen for someone like him. Other than my own, isn’t it amazing how mothers are always right? (Just kidding, dear mother.)

Okay. That’s done. On to other things. DC continues to be good for us. Being back on the east coast allows us to do more of the things that we love. Andrew attends graduate school only 200 miles away, so we’re seeing him more often and he’s even traveling with us at times. He loves his new school and the professors and students there, and he’s even dated a new girl. Some 30-year old hag. (What’s wrong with my kids?) More good news is that Nick is moving to DC in June. He stayed back in Kansas City because of a girl, but he’s bringing her with him and we’ll finally get to know her. Alex, sad to say, remains in Chicago.

Last winter Funk received an invitation to attend his 45th high school reunion in Paden City, West Virginia. He nonchalantly told me about it, and when I asked if he wanted to attend he was even more blasé with his answer, “I don’t care one way or the other.” However, I could see differently, so I said, “Funk. You know you’re dying to go. Get up the courage and say it already man.” Two weeks before Tara’s wedding we headed for the mountains, stopping for the night at a little bed and breakfast just inside the state line. We got there early so we were relaxing on the bed, him reading and me writing, both of us soaking in the scenery. Eventually, I got up to take a shower. Twenty minutes later with the lights flickering like crazy, I came back to the bedroom and asked Funk what all the racket was about. My man, deaf in one ear, and getting hard of hearing in the other looked up at me dumbly and said, “What racket?” And after pulling the drapes aside to see what was the problem, I saw every tree in the forest bent in half and rain pouring down sideways. Before we knew it the host was at the door with candles in hand, so we called it a night. We slept with the drapes open so we could enjoy the constant lightning, wind and rain. I love a good storm.

The storm remained lovely until we started driving across the state the next morning and found that we couldn’t fill up the car or get anything to eat. As soon as we left the bed and breakfast we stopped at a gas station. There was no electricity, and therefore, no refrigeration for food or ability to pump gas. This should have been our first hint to turn around and go home, but, like I said, someone was embarrassingly excited about the reunion. Before we left, I agonized over whether or not to spoil my 3-year stint of ingesting no processed carbohydrates, but Funk urged me to get a bag of pretzels I was eyeing. And then he talked me into continuing, even though it looked like we were driving straight into a disaster zone, “Glor, this will clear out the closer we get to Paden City, let’s keep going.” And being the loving wife that I am, I didn’t say, “Oh. You mean to the reunion that you don’t want to attend?”

It took us all day to get to there, the destruction growing wider the further we drove. Along the way, we saw many West Virginians sitting on their front porches in the 90-degree heat. The thinnest of them being only 200 pounds overweight, they were red-cheeked and panting from the heat. With their food already consumed or spoiled, they had a look of desperation on their face. I took them in as we passed. Our gas gauge hovering on E, I had my bag of pretzels clutched to my chest with one hand, and a pretzel stick gripped in the other. Seeing their distress, I felt almost maniacal biting off another tip as we zoomed by them.

We got to Paden City a little after six, only to find that the reunion had been rescheduled to 2017. And still, there was no gas. Or food. It was then that I started to panic. At the time I thought, “What if we can’t get home for the wedding? Oh how I wish we hadn’t. Think of the money we would have saved. We eventually found a working gas station, and after waiting in line for 2 hours we made it back across the state. By the time we got home, we’d been driving for 16 hours straight on nothing more than a bottle of water and a bag of pretzels split between us. But to tell you the truth, Funk and I haven’t had that much fun in a very long time.

And so it goes with the Funks this year. We hope you and yours are making lemonade from your lemons and having as much fun.


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