The Last Christmas Letter 2012

Greetings from the Parker Ferguson’s.  It is with a heavy heart that we write this year’s Christmas Newsletter knowing that it may well be the last.  We’re doing our best to to get this out before the inevitable end of the world on December 21, 2012 as predicted by the 5125-year-long cycle in the Mayan Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.  We have yet to provision water and food, buy our RV, ammo, or guns, but did buy orange safety whistles for the whole family. Hopefully those 12 year old cans of spam and vienna sausages leftover from Y2K we have in the pantry are still edible.

We admit we started the year as skeptics.  After attending a secret government auction, however, we acquired an ark of the covenant, crystal skull, mayan calendar (w/ map,) and tickets to a Kelly Clarkson concert.  Kyra, who’s a huge Kelly Clarkson fan, convinced her Aunt Jen-Jen to stop knitting metallic threaded radio-wave-blocking hats (which she is selling on ebay to preppers) long enough to take Kyra to the concert.  Kyra and Jen partied like it was 1999. (Previously predicted to be the end of the world by Prince- who was obviously not in the know, or Mayan.) Kyra loved her first Kelly Clarkson girls night out concert. Alas, it may have been both her first and last concert.

In addition, to attending her first concert, Kyra played competitive tennis for the first time this year for Legend High School- mostly at the insistence of her paranoid parents.  Replacing the tennis racket with machete or chainsaw should allow Kyra to make quick work of any zombies. While the Mayan calendar doesn’t specifically mention zombies, everyone knows the end of the world and zombies go together like cheese and crackers.  At the end of the tennis season, Kyra’s doubles team had lost and won a few games, but her forehand was looking killer. A bit more work on her backhand and no zombie will stand a chance.

After Kyra’s extensive tennis training finished, the Ferguson’s decided they couldn’t just sit back and do nothing.  After studying the Mayan map obtained earlier at auction, and ignoring the “made in China” markings on the back, the Ferguson’s stood convinced that it might be possible to activate an ancient underground asteroid-deflecting pyramid somewhere in Santa Fe, NM.  Byron’s sister Diane, and her husband Rick, agreed to meet the family in Santa Fe in a crazy last-ditch effort to save the world from a possible asteroid strike, and to celebrate Easter (a distinctly non-Mayan holiday) together. After a short drive, we all donned fedoras, leather jackets, and whips to meet with local artists, collectors, and restaurateurs.  We discovered finding underground pyramids in Santa Fe is much harder than shown in Indiana Jones movies, however. At every step of our exploration, enemies of humanity sought to distract us with their indian watercolors on antique ledger pages, carved rock skulls, petrified shark’s teeth necklaces, new-mexican food, and most distracting of all- Maria’s margaritas.  We admit it Mr. Jones, we fell into the Temple of Tourism and were doomed.

After our first failed expedition, the family was not too keen on taking on another.  Byron, discovered, however, that by cross referencing the chapter numbers of The Da Vinci Code against the Mayan Months that they yielded an actual GPS coordinate in the center of Lake Mead, NV.  No doubt Da Vinci had been a member of a super secret Mayan illuminati and these coordinates could only be revealed in the end times to a guy mildly good at puzzles with absolutely no Mayan ancestors whatsoever.

In June, enlisting local expertise in our search for the Utah Atlantis, we contacted Toni’s Aunt Christel and Uncle Don, as well as Christel’s sister Ursula and her husband Craig.  Craig and Ursula already have a moored houseboat named the “Redneck Yacht Club,” and Christel reserved a “Floatella” for the rest of us. A “Floatella,” we soon learned, is a houseboat permanently docked at the marina.  Byron a.k.a. Jacques Cousteau suddenly had to leave minisub and support crew behind; exploration would be via the much smaller surface based speed boat and jet ski. Working a search matrix from the marina out, Kyra insisted on executing her search while pulled from a tube.  Nolan set out on the jet ski, solo. To Byron it seemed unlikely that either could find the lost city bouncing up and down and laughing hysterically. At least they were in the water ostensibly searching. Toni claimed she was searching while drinking a “There’s No To-Maya” from the comfort of a hot tub on the upper deck of the houseboat.  Hell, she wasn’t even using binoculars.

After an “extensive” search, the Ferguson’s came up empty handed in their search for Atlantis.  Byron, rechecking his extensive back-of-the-napkin calculations discovered his mistake. He’d been using the Aztec calendar instead of the Mayan calendar which as anyone knows based their calendar on base 11 instead of base 20.

In August, Nolan resumed his end-of-the-world training by starting another season of football at Legend.  Nolan prefers the up close and personal offense of pushing, tackling, and piling that football affords. Nolan, now on the JV team, had his playing time increased this year, and hours of working out have created a lean mean fighting machine.  Byron’s extensive research of horror flicks and zombie movies reveals, however, that the football player almost always gets it first (either preceded or followed by the swift termination of a cheerleader) leaving us worried for Nolan’s safety.  Hopefully, we can get Nolan enrolled in a last minute ROTC course or bladed martial arts class for a few weeks before the final end.

Nolan, unwilling to be left out of the first and last concert offer, submitted his coupon to the parent store in August.   Having heard that Steven Tyler was part Mayan on the Internet (where all reliable information hails from) Toni called in a favor from friend Jennifer Herl whose brother once road managed for Cheap Trick to see if she could get tickets for Aerosmith / Cheap Trick appearing in Denver.  The Mayan gods were smiling and Jennifer supplied tickets for Toni, Nolan, Toni’s brother Rick, and even herself. The four rocked out to both Aerosmith and Cheap Trick but could not get backstage to confirm or deny that Steven was part Mayan. But hopefully “Love in an Elevator” will act as some sort of Mayan charm.  

In October, as our own personal “make-a-wish” for Kyra, the Ferguson’s headed to Orlando to meet up with Byron’s sister and her husband Rick.  Kyra, a huge Harry Potter fan, didn’t want to die in a fiery apocalypse without taking in the wonder that is Universal Studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  We must admit that TWWoHP was quite amazing with some fantastic rides and attractions. Kyra, in particular, loved the attraction where one person is chosen from a crowd of hopeful wizarding wannabes to have a wand magically select them.  With entire family regaled in homemade Kyra-knitted Gryffindor scarves, it seemed almost inevitable that Kyra would be chosen (a true honor amongst guests in the park,) and she was. In real life, however, a magic wand is an almost useless weapon.  The most damage Kyra could hope to yield with her newly acquired wand would be to poke someone’s eye out. Might as well arm the whole family with Red Ryder BB guns.

After drinking all the butter-beer we could hold at TWWoHP, the Ferguson’s made a brief side trip to St. Augustine Island.  An island’s naturally defensible, and serves as a much safer place to live than the suburbia home the Ferguson’s occupy now.  A learning expedition seemed in order. The Ferguson’s viewed the centuries old St. Augustine fort, and the island’s lighthouse with keen relish.  Apparently the park service and lighthouse committee are unaware of the impending doom, however, and refused to accept Byron’s offer to take the place off their hands for a meager sum.  The family, led by Toni, then landed up at a waterway vacation home with, you guessed it, a hot tub. Toni insists the safest place to be during the end-of-the-world is a hot tub. Apparently the second safest place is a pool.  The kids seemed content to let her think so and splashed in the pool with their Aunt Di and Uncle Rick.

Nolan and Kyra’s biggest disappointment at impending doom is that neither will learn to drive. Both had been looking forward to getting a permit at 15½ years old (and don’t we all know that ½ makes all the difference?) in January.  Nolan started saving allowance already to upgrade the crappy stereo in his Dad’s car, and Kyra now comments disdainfully “this car is a mess.” Dad mocks them with “guess you’ll be driving those bikes when the end comes.” Unfortunately the more we think about it; a car is pretty darn useful in the end days as long as you can scrounge up gasoline.  We can picture the Toyota Echo tricked out with roll cage, push bar, and welded steel aka “Road Warrior.” Better yet, maybe we can pick up a surplus Herkimer battle jitney. Maybe we’ll start training them to drive just a bit early after all. We might need them to steer as we lean out the window and fire off rounds at aliens. Better yet, we may need to get them a pilot’s license, too.

Toni’s school will be producing “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus,” and performing it on 12/18 with the assistance of a grant from Macy’s.  Byron will be “helping Santa,” by appearing in the Jolly Old Man’s suit after the play and handing out candy canes to the younger kids. To the older ones he’ll be handing out C-rations as a much more practical gift.  Hopefully Santa driving up in the new Mad Max spiked Toyota Echo or Herkimer won’t scare off too many of the young-uns.

Normally, the Ferguson’s are listening to Christmas music this time of the year, and hanging Christmas lights for which they are famous (or infamous).  This year, however, we’re stringing garland carefully woven with barbed-wire. We’re listening to “Silent Night,” but adding to our playlist R.E.M’s “The End of the World As We Know It,”  Muse’s “Apocalypse Please,”and the Doors’ “The End.” Most importantly of all, we’ll be opening our presents on the 12/21. On the off chance that we’ve been led astray about all this Mayan calendar business, however, we’ll return our gifts of shotguns, bullet-proof vests, and fruit cake and trade them in for some less apocalyptic clown sweaters- but fruitcake is good either way.  

P.S.  A quick search on Amazon before sending out this newsletter has made us sheepishly have to reconsider sending this newsletter out.  Apparently, for $13.95, one can now receive a “Mayan Calendar II – 5125 Years of Cute Cat Pictures.” While huge and weighty (it is after all hand carved in stone), one can still receive it with free shipping using “Prime.”  We suspect all of our extensive planning and worrying about the end may have been for nought! We wish you and yours and uneventful no-asteroid, no-zombies, no fiery inferno, Merry Christmas.