Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 — Late, as usual

I wasn't always late with things. I learned early (from a teacher of mine) that I should be on time every time and the only time not to be on time is to be ahead of time — a favorite saying she required anyone late to class to copy off the board 100 times. Though I don't recall ever having to write it myself :), I memorized it, repeating it to myself these days when I find myself scurrying to get somewhere when I should have been there by now.

A childhood friend of mine used to be so perpetually late that when we planned to take her with us somewhere, we told her we'd pick her up 30 minutes  — sometimes an hour — earlier than we actually planned. Sometimes even then she would be late.

About 15 years ago, this same friend sent me one of those Christmas newsletters we all hate — the ones about children who play the violin with Isak Perlman or who write best sellers at age 8. That year, angered by all the bragging, I put together my own little newsletter, Vol 1 of which promised to be "The only one!"

"And then there are the Rountree," I wrote in 1994. "Stumbling and fumbling along, our story is one of generally average kids, extremely minor achievement, tepid success and quite boring activities in keeping with our average pedigree... though we did remove the overturned, abandoned car and refrigerator from our front yard this year." Our children, then 11 and 8, "spent much of 1994 doing average kid things like burping at dinner and fighting over the remote control."

A year later, when Christmas rolled around, one person ask us to do it again.  And anyone who knows me at all knows that I will write anything for a fan, and so the tradition continued. 2009 was our 15th year in the lampoon business, and reading through the old copies today gave me a pretty good glimpse of my life and a mother, wife, writer and dog owner. If I couldn't laugh while life was happening, at least I could when I remembered it in writing. For those of you not on my snailmail list, I'm including a copy of this year's edition. Your job is to find all the typos!