The Highlands Ranch Fergusons are not throwing away their shot–to send you our Christmas letter. We’re young, scrappy, and hungry, and we’re not throwing away our shot! No doubt our theater inclined friends, popular culture buffs, and history geeks recognize the lyrics from the theater phenomenon Hamilton, a play about Alexander Hamilton told in rap, that Toni and Kyra Ferguson might be obsessed with. For the non-buffs- he’s the guy on the $10. In 2018, Toni fulfilled a lifetime dream (ok, the dream of a couple years) and finally saw Hamilton, not once, but twice, and graciously allowed Byron, Kyra, and Nolan to tag along occasionally.
A few years ago, Toni and Kyra, while visiting New York City (to get salsa), attempted and failed to get lottery tickets for the play Alexander Hamilton. Toni, still seething two years later from her NY failure, committed herself and Byron to an entire season of theater along with their theater friends the “Kounses,” as soon as the season was announced, thus ensuring at least two tickets to Hamilton. Toni informed Byron he’d be “allowed” to see all the shows- except Hamilton; Toni’d be taking Kyra to that one.
As the countdown for public ticket sales approached, the Ferguson/Kouns group decided everyone in the family needed go, and that they still needed an additional four more tickets- along with just about every other living soul in Colorado and every surrounding state. Immediately, as the ticket sale site opened, Byron fired up eighteen browser sessions, begged all the Ferguson friends to log in too, and hired a Russian consulting firm using Facebook analytics to “do their worst,” in an unsuccessful effort to “improve his chances” at a few more tickets. Fortunately for Byron and Nolan, both Toni (with only one browser) and a Kouns friend came through with all the needed tickets, and everyone (even Byron) in both families got to see the show. Nearly everyone agreed that the show was amazing, with Nolan the only dissenting opinion saying “It’s no Cats.”
Toni Ferguson, spread the word via social media that a) she’d seen Hamilton and it was great, and b) that she was somehow special now since she had managed to see Hamilton and it was great. Byron’s sorry about all the posts, and now sorry that most of the Christmas letter is the Hamilton letter. In Washington D.C., reading Toni’s posts, Andrea Perez, wife of Toni’s cousin Dean, decided to see Hamilton at its premiere there, and she wanted Toni to come see it with her.
Toni, fairly certain getting hit by lightning would be more likely, promised Toni and Byron would join Andrea if she managed to get tickets- “It’s that good,” Toni said. Andrea, cunning and devious, employed a little used ticket purchase method: the old stay-on-the-telephone-ordering-line-for-10-hours trick to snag the apparently
not-that-difficult-to-get tickets. Two of the Fergusons were now going to Washington D.C. for the Fourth of July and Hamilton.
As July neared, Toni felt more and more guilty about going on vacation without Nolan and Kyra. Kyra spent more and more time guilting Toni. Eventually Toni broke and invited the twins to go on a free all expenses paid vacation to Washington D.C. for their “early birthday present.” Not surprisingly, both said “they’d be delighted to attend.” Byron refused, however, to sit on the phone for 10 hours trying to snag a couple more tickets for the two- they would be on their own while the parents were seeing Hamilton, at least if Byron didn’t get bumped for Kyra.
The Four Fergusons (one for all and all for one) played full tourist while in D.C. The group toured the Smithsonian, watched fireworks, and even climbed the Exorcist stairs in Georgetown. All four (and Andrea) visited Madame Tussauds; which, unlike the wax museums in other tourist towns had only political and presidential figures from the past. We have no idea if those figures are accurate. We know what Beyoncé looks like, but have no idea if that stocky short and balding guy really does look like Millard Fillmore. We did, however, take our picture with Alexander Hamilton (who bears no resemblance to Lin Manuel Miranda).
At Mount Vernon, in addition to taking the tour, we watched a “George Washington” impersonator speak to immigrants being sworn in as newly minted citizens. What could have been kitschy, to those immigrants, was most certainly not. And at the Kennedy center (poignant by itself) we watched a diverse cast of Hamilton continue our trip’s theme of immigrants in America by portraying our Founding Fathers as the young, scrappy, and hungry immigrants they were, not stodgy old guys in history books. Byron’s allergies are acting up again just typing this.
In September, Byron and Toni celebrated a milestone. Over 25 years of sending out this Christmas letter. Also, their anniversary. Sitting across from Toni, Byron realizes that he has typed these two things in the wrong order. Byron and Toni revisited the scene of the engagement and wedding, had a lovely stay in Ft. Collins and celebrated the night with a surprise “magic convention,” where many members of the Ft. Collin’s magic club who Byron is honored to call friends, helped roast him a bit, and did some magic. And with a great event like that, Toni obviously didn’t need any additional celebration. Byron’s pleased to announce nearly all the Ferguson Christmas Letters- including this one, are now ONLINE @ his new website www.mychristmasletters.com. Some of ‘em hold up quite well, others don’t, and a couple are missing. If you happen to have the missing ones- let Byron know!
Rounding out our news of the year is that Kyra, aka two-term President of the CSU Residence Hall Association and recipient of two free years of room and board (aka Dad’s favorite), is now only one semester away from graduation. If you get this letter then you should consider yourself invited to the graduation party we’re forcing her to attend. Mark your calendars for May 19, 2019. Time TBD. We’ll let Kyra communicate the details, she’ll have a communications degree after all. Might as well put it to work.
Nolan, aka using-all-of-his-sister’s-savings-and-then-some, will be taking an extra year to graduate. As far as we can tell, Nolan studies hard and doesn’t just make his funny snapchats. So, we’re currently chalking the extra year up to the complexity of the aerospace engineering curriculum. Byron is seriously looking forward to when Nolan’s done and can finally design and build the airplane he’s always wanted right in our own garage.
We unfortunately have to use this year’s Christmas letter to communicate a bit of a Debbie downer. Byron’s mom, Carolyn Ferguson, suffered a stroke near the end of October, spent 3 days in the hospital, more weeks in acute therapy, and then transferred to sub-acute therapy where she remains today Carolyn will, sooner rather than later, require 24/7 skilled nursing based on all the medical opinions given so far. Carolyn’s short term memory is shot, long term memory is barely nominal, and most days she doesn’t know where she is, when it is, or who you are, but is in pretty good shape otherwise. Since nearly every day is a complete reset, Byron, who visits often, either tells his mom that he was the favorite child, or will occasionally teasingly tell her he’s President Donald Trump, the Publisher’s Clearinghouse guy, or Bond, James Bond. While she’s not entirely sure who Byron is–she is sure he’s not these guys. She will occasionally buy, however, that he might be Millard Fillmore.
Having one of our own temporarily down makes us appreciate our time with friends and family even more than usual. Best of all is being able to be home with our kids over their Christmas breaks. We hope your family can spend time together, and certainly, if you’re in the area, give us a holler and stop in! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!
Toni, Byron, Kyra, and Nolan Ferguson 2018