Merry Christmas from the Clinches!



Have you ever noticed that nothing works properly this time of year? Cars won’t start, appliances break down and, thanks to creaking bones, that first step out of bed is a doozy! My biggest problem lately has been our printer, and it all started back in December when I tried to print Christmas envelopes.

Our printer has a sense of humor, you have to give her that, for every time I inserted an address block and hit print, the printer, without fail, would not print the address but the actual words “address block.’’

I called the printer names, said bad words about her and, much to my mother’s dismay, I cursed like a sailor. But it did me no good and I finally gave up the ship. Sometimes a girl has to just cut her losses and walk away.

Of course the kids thought it was a “user error” and would pat me on the back and say, “As soon as Mom is of age, we’re putting her in a home.” That was reassuring.

But something strange happened during last week’s tax preparations. Something so obscure that I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a divine intervention, a miracle of sorts; a phenomenon perhaps from beyond.

You see, the printer not only printed our tax forms; she did it without complaint. Her numbers actually lined up in the preprinted boxes, she didn’t smudge her ink, and she printed a stack of 1099s without eating so much as a single one of them. Big girl!

You might think me a sucker for punishment, but I was feeling so confident about things that I stuck a stack of business envelopes in the feeder and then I clicked on the address tab that said, “Print.” And she did!

It was the most amazing thing I had seen since the day Huey cleaned the freezer without being asked. I was so happy that I stuck our Christmas picture in the envelopes right along with the 1099s. Merry Christmas to plumbers and electricians alike!

I know it sounds crazy, but with this latebreaking development, I couldn’t help but go for the gusto. I pulled the whole stack of Christmas-card envelopes out of the box, placed them in the printer and then I hit print again. And she did! I was so blissful that I wrote up a quick post-Christmas letter that started with, “Happy New Year. It’s so far past Christmas that I can’t believe it!” I was feeling so lucky that I even went out and bought a lottery ticket.

“Good news!” I said to my younger two sons on Sunday morning as I plopped the pile of preprinted envelopes and newsletters in front of them. “We’re sending out Christmas cards.”

“Oh, Mom,” my Lawrence said as he gave me a look of pity and gently patted me on the back. “You’ve been locked up in the office for so long that you don’t remember Christmas is over?” Then he looked at his younger brother and whispered, “As soon as she’s of age.” Despite their faux concern, I commandeered them to the kitchen table and all but forced them to start stuffing those beautiful envelopes. Oh, how they protested.

“What kind of family picture is this?”

Charlie asked as he held one up.

“Yeah,” agreed

Lawrence, “we look like a bunch of scoobs.”

“We look fine,” I responded as I happily stuffed my stack.

“You look fine, but what about the rest of us?” Charlie complained.

“I told you all that it was the Christmas card picture when we took the picture. Now get to stuffing.”

“Who in the heck are Sal and Pal?”

“They’re your Grandma’s cousins.”

“Yeah Charlie, don’t you remember?” asked Lawrence with sarcasm. “They’re Mom’s seventh cousins, twice removed. We met them that one time a bajillion years ago.”

Oh, how they mocked, but I was not to be dissuaded. I was so happy that I ignored them when they said nobody would want a Christmas card in January. I disregarded them when they said no one cared that we went to Montana in July, and I didn’t dignify it with an answer when they proclaimed that I only put my email address in the letter as a publicity stunt to sell my books.

But we got the cards done and those suckers should be landing in mailboxes all over the nation any day now. I truly feel like lady luck is smiling upon us.

When I win the lottery, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Lori Clinch may be reached by sending an email to