Merry Christmas Day!

By Mickey Dunaway

December 25, 2022

Dear Kinfolks, In-laws, Outlaws, Auburn and Alabama Faithful, Long- and Short-term Friends, Former Teachers and Students wherever you are, and Especially Readers of my stories in Southern Exposures, Currents Magazine, LinkedIn, and Facebook

🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄 

I suppose you all fit into more than one of those categories.  In that case, I will sip my afternoon dram of Glenmorangie’s 18-Year-old Single-malt Scotch a bit more slowly as I write this and think of you with every sip.  Yes, I became a Scotch drinker recently. 

I must have been influenced subconsciously by watching my streaming English, Scottish, Aussie, Kiwi, Irish, Welsh, French, Italian, Swedish, and Norwegian detective shows.  There is always whiskey (or whisky) in the detective’s desk drawer, and it is almost always a nice single-malt Scotch.

I have always wondered how those folks get away with having a shot of whiskey (or whisky) at work.  I strongly considered it a few times as principal, but I valued my job, so I abstained.  I bet I could have gotten away with it as a professor.  I found that beer and wine are typically served on special occasions at the university.  If I had complained to the faculty council, I bet I could have had Scotch or Bourbon added.  The university is often a little hoity-toity at the drop of a hat for reasons only known to the provost.  It is probably some ancient and obscure policy hidden in the IT department’s computer code

 depths.

This will be a rambling Christmas letter/email if you haven’t noticed.  If I don’t mention my children, you’ll understand that I got distracted by some random thoughts like why fruitcake is so severely maligned.  I love fruitcake (if that bitter green citron is not included!) Sandy makes wonderful fruitcake cookies like mini fruitcakes, but not this year, darn it.  They do take a lot of effort, especially this year, with our two—very large—grand-dogs visiting while Christian and his family are in balmy Hawai’i. Do you see some off in that picture?  We love the dogs, but four dogs in our small house often resembles a zoo.  I am not sure what Christmas morning will be like when we open gifts.  Thankfully, they have not eaten any Christmas ornaments or knocked over the tree.  We count our blessings so far, and I will let you know about Christmas morning.

I think I finally got the retirement thing down.  Sleep late.  Coffee.  Watch the morning news shows.  Complete morning ablutions.  More coffee while doing the crossword with the wife—it takes both of us to complete one successfully.  Lunch of cottage cheese and fresh fruit.  Put on an English detective show and take a nap in the middle of it.  Wake up.  More coffee and finish the rest of the detective show! 

Read the email, Facebook, and 1440 (the news in an objective and condensed form).  Correspond as email requires.  Begin writing an essay for my webpage, www.Southern-Exposures.  Leave it when writer’s block attacks, and begin on my monthly column for Currents Magazine (https://www.currentsmagazine.com) named “A Moment in Time.” Usually, I will start the column a minimum of three times before I settle on a topic! 

The column for December Currents Magazine is found at https://issuu.com/lakenormancurrents/docs/lnc_issue_1222?fr=sOWMyZTczNDQ and scroll to page 50.  It is called “Look to the East” and blends some Alex City small-town memories and the need to remember the Shepherds and the Magi and their presence in our modern world.  NOTE: you can also find “Look to the East” at Southern Exposures and on my Facebook page.

I have a lot of fun with the Moment in Time columns, and I get paid.  Me?!  I was 74 and had a new life as a freelance writer!  I am thankful for an online program called Grammarly and a wife who was a founding member of the “grammar police.”  I can focus on coming up with a new off-beat idea for the column that is somehow related to the column’s name— “Moment in Time.” 

As I write this, my Apple Watch says it is 26 degrees and going down to 17 degrees tonight—one of the coldest Christmas mornings on record in Charlotte, NC.  Thankfully it will be 36 tomorrow, so when those children with their first bicycles can get them out of the house.  And the parents won’t have to worry that Social Services might drop by with accusations of child abuse!

Back in the spring, I was sitting on the sofa watching my pre-nap detective show when my Apple Watch, thumping my wrist, got my attention.  When I checked it out, it indicated I was having atrial fibrillation. WHAT?  I am the one in my family who never had heart problems.  The Almighty knows I had plenty of opportunities when the Alex City Police called me at 3:00 a.m. to come to the school because the backdoor was open.  I always wondered why they didn’t just close the damn door!  One night it happened twice, and I was still at school the same morning at 6:30.  Now, that would have been an excellent night to develop a heart problem!  No.  Not me.  I just went on like nothing happened until I figured out that I could legitimately assign “responding to police calls” to my Assistant Principal.  In fact, Jim was a military policeman with the Alabama National Guard.  Why the hell did it take me so long to make this connection?!

Well, Sandy is calling me to breakfast.  Adam is here with us for a few days, and I guess we will find a good streaming British detective show for after-supper viewing.

Here is wishing you the love, peace, and joy of Christmas.  And thanks for the friendship and love I have been privileged to have you send my way through the years.

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