Christmas 2006

Greetings from your favorite Fergusons- Byron, Toni, Nolan, and Kyra; We realize, of course, that assigning ourselves the “favorite” tag does not come without risk: It s possible that your favorite
Fergusons are the more famous ones. Searching Google for Toni Ferguson (our resident Mom, and
photographer) reveals a more famous Toni who plays violin on The String Quartet Tribute to
Santana,” which I heard recently at the Dentist office. And Byron Ferguson, our resident Dad,
computer guy at Richmond American homes, and part time magician, learned some time back ,of
archery savant Byron who shoots corks out of bottles at 100 yards. For the record, our Toni doesn t
play the violin, and our Byron can barely get a cork out of a bottle even With a corkscrew.

Toni and Byron are extremely proud to report, however, that Nolan is the #3 Nolan Ferguson only
slightly outranked by a prep school football player in St. Louis, and Kyra is the #1 Kyra Ferguson,
outranked by no one! Both owe their recent Google ranking to their first appearances at this
year’s Presto-Digitator magic club banquet. Since we now live daily with Nolan and Kyra’s fame,
we feel it is fair to capitalize on that fame by changing our standard greeting of ‘Greetings from
the Parker Fergusons” to “Greetings from your favorite Fergusons.” By the way, fame is not all it’s
cracked up to be; the paparazzi are driving us crazy.

Of course, there is one Ferguson in our family that easily outranks the rest of us with real fame, even
appearing on television this year at the Westminster dog show- Gus, the Saint Bernard. For those of
your who didn’t already read about Gus and Toni’s trip to the Westminster dog show in Toni’s brag
letter, brag email, brag postcard, brag sky-writing, or brag t-shirt containing the entire 5000 word
story in 6 point pica font, we include a slightly abbreviated version here.

After filling in the 20 page Westminster application, submitting the requisite fee, and being selected
by an elaborate lottery process; Toni hit the dog show jackpot and she, her brother Rick (who
shows Gus), and Gus himself were headed to New York City (yes, where they make that other

Airline personnel completely saw through all of Byron’s attempts to save a buck by noting Gus’
breed as Chihuahua, or by making Gus his very own “service dog” vest from a left over Day-Glo
orange hunting vest; requiring the Ferguson’s to pay more to send Gus to New York than they paid
to send Toni- and trust us, there ‘s no champagne, in flight movie, or other luxuries in cargo class.

Gus’ newly purchased crate, standing 34″ high at center, would only fit through the cargo door of
a Boeing 757 with the largest cargo door of any plane in its class. With only one 757 leaving
Denver the weekend of the show, Toni left a full day early to be on that 757. Most people choose
a flight for the on-time service, the low-low airfare, or even the cute animals on the plane’s tail; we
choose a flight because it has a big cargo door.

Toni’s brother Rick did not have to leave early. Not needing the larger cargo door for his wife
Jennifer, Rick had booked a flight on a smaller plane; one with a cute animal on the tail.  Unfortunately, a huge east coast blizzard cancelled their flight. Rick and Jennifer then dashed madly across country in their own personal version of the amazing race- trying to make it to New York in time for the show. First they flew from Denver to Seattle to pick up a connecting flight to Newark. Just as they arrived in Seattle, Newark closed. Next, they flew to Washington D.C. to catch an Amtrak to New York. As they arrived, even the trains stopped running. The two got a room and took their forced pit stop waiting for the trains to start running again. Both Rick and Jennifer were cold, tired, and hungry; and now figured the chance of seeing their luggage equaled the chance that Kevin Federline makes it big now that Britney is no longer holding him back.

Amtrak service started again at 7:00 am. Rick and Jennifer tiredly boarded the crowded
commuter. still on track to arrive at Madison Square Garden by 11:00 am- just one hour before show
time, At 10:30am, Rick called Toni- the train was running late. At twenty till noon, Toni abandoned
hope that Rick would arrive in time to show Gus. Slipping Gus’s number on to her own arm, Toni
prepared herself for the inevitability of showing Gus without her brother. Toni watched each of the
previous show ring winners take their ribbon and photograph with the judge. Each seemed to be
oblivious to the Saint Bernards waiting to show, holding things up one at a time. Finally, just as the
St. Bernard’s were ready to be called, Rick came up behind Toni and tapped her on the shoulder.
Toni was overcome with emotion. Gus, still oblivious, did his whole, “Yup, uh, huh I’m a St. Bernard,”

Gus competed admirably, but ultimately didn’t take home the big prize- of a buck and a quarter.
To hear Toni tell it, however, an Award of Merit, essentially 3rd out of 8 champions, is more important
than a Nobel Peace prize. The giant purple ribbon, Toni’s arm band, show photo, Westminster gum
wrapper and other memorabilia are all professionally framed in a Gus shrine in the Ferguson living
room- Byron refused to allow it in the bedroom. For those of you who care more than Byron, you
can still see the show video by typing in this insanely long web address into your favorite browser
(Rick and Gus are third in line): video=work I st

Byron notes that the center of Madison Square Garden sits conveniently at 40° 45′ 01.56″ and 73°
59′ 36.76″ W; less than one mile from a geocache, and Toni completely ignored the opportunity to
go geocaching. Geocaching, a hobby Byron adopted after receiving a Global Positioning System
(GPS) , is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which participants use a GPS to hide and seek
containers all around the world. Nolan and Kyra join Byron on his geocaching adventures. Toni
seems to dislike geocaching, apparently hiking around in the brush, then searching around for
what seems like hours to help Byron find a hidden cache is a tad too similar to helping Byron hunt
around at home for lost keys, lost phone, or lost organizer.

Surprisingly, while Toni balks at hunting for geocaches- which ultimately might be found, she’s
fascinated by hunting for ghosts- which “Byron the Skeptic” believes will never be found. A huge
fan of shows like “The Ghost Hunters,” and “Haunted,” Toni helped start a paranormal group, the
Colorado Paranormal Society (COPS) this year. Appropriating most of Byron’s electronics, Toni and
the other members of COPS (mostly other family members and friends), traveled to the Stanley
Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, for a ghost hunting conference and ghost hunter training by Jason
and Grant, “professional Ghost Hunters,” from “The Ghost Hunters” show. For other interested ghost
hunters, visit Toni’s new site: Byron reminds everyone that crossing
ghost hunter beams causes life as you know it to stop instantaneously and every molecule in your
body to explode at the speed of light- total protonic reversal. Toni reminds Byron that Ghost Busters
wasn’t like real ghost hunting. Byron refuses to be swayed- be careful out there.

Apparently, inspired by the # 1 Nolan Ferguson the prep school football player, our own Nolan
Ferguson took up football this year. Fortunately for Toni, Nolan’s football was the flag football kind,
but even then Toni required Nolan to sign an affidavit swearing under oath that he would not be
injured. Nolan, happily signed the document, but none of us were entirely sure he meant it.
Nolan’s team, The Red Fire Breathing Dragons, played hard and had lots of fun, which is a parent’s
way of saying they didn’t win any of their games. Of the dozen or so kids on the team, only Nolan
passed, ran, and tackled .. , oops, I mean grabbed a flag, with a constant smile pasted to his face.
Now a football star, and apparently beating girls off with a stick, Nolan spent time considering the
future of matrimony. Byron and Toni, who met conventionally while participating in community
theater, did not have the options of today’s marriage minded courtiers. Nolan announced to his
mom and dad that when he gets married he’s decided to use E*Harmony, the online dating
service that matches people by a scientific survey. Byron and Toni contemplated the not too
distant future when Nolan might be married, in a serious way, as Nolan continued. “I think that’s
the best way, You get a 10, day free trial, and if it doesn’t work out, they offer a 30 day moneyback
guarantee.” Based on Nolan’s endorsement, Byron and Toni highly recommend E*Harmony
for all our single friends.

Kyra, faced with absolutely no competition for the # 1 Kyra spot, and so far not interested in
matrimony, tOOK on deCidedly less dangerous and more cerebral activities this year, although she
is cajoling mom and dad to play soccer next year. Kyra, who continues to paint, draw, make
jewelry, play piano, and read vociferously, is already like ayoung Martha stewart without d K-Mart
contract, her own television show, or a previous prison record. Craft Queen Kyra, as we like to call
her, decided, for reasons that remain a mystery to us, to learn knitting. Unlike computer
programming, geocaching, and photography, knit and purl proved too difficult for Byron and Toni.
The two enlisted the assistance of one of Kyra’s classmates, Madison Nash, to teach the younger
Kyra knitting. After some brief lessons, Kyra spent the rest of the year cranking out gifts for her
aunts. So, while we weren’t much help with knitting, we’re pretty sure we can help Kyra undertake
macrame plant hangers next year.

Nolan and Kyra also assisted Toni and Byron with this year’s Challenge To Excellence production of
“Fairy tale Courtroom.” Playing to type, Nolan played the food obsessed Hansel, and Kyra played,
Gretel. The two acted the scripted brother and sister bickering in such convinCing fashion that we
overheard many in the crowd exclaim, “Wow, those two seemed like real brother and sister.”
We’re rightly proud of their acting abilities- honed by hours of Stanislaw, Strasburg, and Meisner
drills by their slightly theater obsessed parents. Of course, it’ll be some time before we see
“Phantom of the Opera” at the school. Not because the kids couldn’t handle it- just cause Byron
dislikes Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals.

Of course, the year was not without disappointment- at least for Kyra and Nolan. If you’re reading
this out loud to your younger kids who still believe in you-know-who, you may want to skip the next
bit. At Easter, Byron and Toni slept in till almost 7:30am when they suddenly remembered the Easter
Bunny needed to fill baskets. Running from goodie closet to basket and back again, Byron
scurried. Suddenly from overhead, Byron heard his two children clearing their throats from the
landing overlooking the living room. Byron should have stalled with, “I’m just helpin§l~~ Easter
Bunny,” or “Hey, look what the Easter Bunny left outside,” but startled and sleepy all n8″cQuld
come up with was, “Uh, uh, um … ”

Nolan, looking down exclaimed, “Hey, Dad’s the Easter Bunny.” Several seconds passed.

Byron answered, “Yep. You caught me.”

Several more seconds passed, and then Kyra asked quizzically, -“you mean the Easter Bunny’s -not real?”

Byron gulped and admitted; “I’m sorry, but yes; that’s it- there’s no Easter Bunny, just Mom and Dad.” Kyra took a few moments, but Byron could see both of their wheels turning as Kyra put two and two together.

Kyra continued, “And Santa? What about Santa?” Every parent dreads two conversations. One of them is the Santa conversation.

Byron continued, “Yes, I’m afraid your Mom and Dad are Santa, too.”

Suddenly a light clicked on in Kyra’s head. “OH NO! NOT THE TOOTH FAIRY! TELL ME THE TOOTH FAIRY’S NOT YOU!”

Byron broke down, “Yes, its true- the tooth fairy too.” Only on learning of our tooth fairy deception did
Kyra finally break into tears- Kyra started wearing braces this year, so apparently she’s formed a
sisterly bond to the tooth fairy. Of course, Nolan just wanted to know if he’d still get presents. Byron told him, “No, now that you know the truth, there’s no point in Santa bringing you presents.” Just kidding- Byron told Nolan he gets two presents since he knows the truth. Nolan responded with, “You know, Dad, you could have just said you were helping the Easter Bunny.” Smart kids.

The Fergusons stayed close to home this year, forgoing travel to Vegas, Rio De Janeiro, Cancun,
and destinations unknown to vacation in Colorado.h Frankly, Lindsay Lohan and her posse ruined
most of the destination resorts for us. Instead, the Fergusons, in their Jeep Wrangler, camped west
of Denver a few times, made a trip down to the Great Sand Dunes of Alamosa, and even
geocached. We learned tons on our trips, like: a Jeep Wrangler barely holds enough camping
gear for four, never walk barefoot on sand dunes in the afternoon, and restaurants call their
special- “special,” because it’s discounted- not ‘because it’s special. Of course, now that Britney’s
hanging out with Lindsay Lohan, we’re a little disappointed that we stopped hanging out with the

After all of our vacationing, Toni took our Jeep in for an oil change. Toni, who keeps up on all the latest automotive news, asked the service manager about the new four door Wranglers coming out in 2007. Surprisingly, the dealer just received their new shipment and offered to let Toni drive one. Toni piloted the Jeep over to Byron’s work, showed it to him, and then headed back to the dealer. Byron laid down the law: “Toni, your-car is only one year old”; “Toni, you swore we’d keep this car for years”; “Toni, WE ARE NOT BUYING THIS CAR.” Hours later Toni called from the dealer to tell Byron to sign the papers. Needless to say, Toni is now the proud owner of a new four door Jeep Wrangler- and we do mean  PROUD. Every time she drives by someone with a Hummer she yells out the window at them, “How do you take the top off of that thing,” and zooms down,the road laughing.

Finally, the biggest news of this year is that Byron finally finished writing something slightly larger
than the Christmas newsletter. Unlike the newsletter which is started sometime before Christmas
and has a firm deadline in place driving Byron to complete it on time; Byron spent more than three
years working on a just slightly longer play. Unlike a novel that might be picked up by a publisher,
printed, and read by millions, to produce a comfortable income for a budding author, a play is
unlikely to be read, must be produced before published, and provides a struggling playwright
solely with their own satisfaction.

Byron’s play is based loosely on Byron’s mom who worked in the funeral industry for a time. Of
course, Byron added a couple Mafia guys, diamond smuggling, and a martial arts scene- but
otherwise it’s pretty similar. Byron invites everyone, even his Mom who doesn’t know about it yet, to
come and listen when Loveland Community Theater reads “You Can’t Spell Funeral Without Fun,”
on January 26th at 7:00pm at the Rialto Theater in Loveland. Tickets are free- if you call us.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.
P.S. Byron’s still debating whether to send this version of the Christmas Letter to his Mom, so let’s keep that our little secret.