Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Aurelie Jane McPherson. I knew her middle name was Jane. Of course I knew. She is my granddaughter after all. I didn’t actually need to page back through three months of Amber’s Facebook timeline looking for that first post with the full name. “Jane”. Of course it is Jane. I knew that. I just panicked when I saw the cursor blinking after “Aurelie”.

Aurelie is a French name. I’ve been to several web sites to try to learn the French pronunciation. It is Oh-RAY-lee but you have to say it really fast… and sort of gargle it… like you have a bit of cheese stuck in your throat and you are trying not to cough while saying the name. I can almost say it the French way if you give me a minute to prepare but I’m not sure that will be fast enough in real-life grandfather situations. In the time it takes me to wrap my mouth around Oh-RAY-lee I can say “You there, small person, don’t put that vile thing in your mouth!!” which you’d think would take longer. Fortunately, I can say the anglicized version that sounds like “Aura Lee” as in the popular song that was a hit during the Civil War.
As the blackbird in the spring 'neath the willow tree
sat and piped I heard him sing praising Aura Lee.
Aura Lee! Aura Lee! Maid of golden hair
sunshine came along with thee and swallows in the air.
(Tune is same as Elvis’ “Love Me Tender”)
Aurelie was born at 10:21 pm. on July 24th, weighing in at 8 lbs 14 oz and is already quite accomplished for a three month old. She holds her head up like a champ. She looks at faces. She laughs when her mom pretends to sneeze. She gains weight to the satisfaction of her pediatrician (a talent that comes from my side of the family.)
Aurelie’s brother and sister, Liam and Eva McPherson will be four by the time you read this. They are shown here with their newborn sister, for scale. I don’t have any song lyrics that go with their names. As far as I know there are no “Liam” songs and the best I’ve got for “Eva” is “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” which doesn’t seem that Christmassy.

It is boastful for grandparents to go on and on about how smart their grandkids are so I will spare you*. But I did see a scientific study that suggested that women with adipose bottoms have smarter babies, presumably because the infants are slightly better nourished in utero. And based on that study people who spend some time with my grandchildren might imagine that Amber’s posterior would be huge... but, really, that’s not the case.
Chris and Reid have sold their house in Cary and, if all goes to plan they will have bought another house by the time this card is delivered. The new house they are buying will take ten minutes, each way, off of Christopher’s daily commute without increasing Reid’s. That’s the “official”, sensible reason they chose it. The actual reason is that the new house is not part of a Home Owner’s Association. They had rented out the previous house for several years and Chris grew tired of getting cranky-grams from the HOA whenever his tenants fell behind on their grass mowing. The new house sits on nine rural acres, of which Chris can mow as much or as little as he likes. Perhaps he should go to a local salvage yard and buy a rusty old junker to put up on blocks in his yard… just because he can.
Irene and I are fine and we continue to do the usual stuff. Please refer to previous years’ Christmas cards for details. We did get a new dog – Gypsy Rose (shown here with yours truly) - to take the place of Ms. Cello who passed away. Jaxon, our other dog continues to do well. I suspect he would be getting old and slow and fat if it weren’t for Gypsy who chases him around the back yard ten hours a day.
Our Cockatiel, Sugar, (shown on Irene’s shoulder) is quite an elderly bird being more than 20 years old. She seldom comes out of her cage but apparently she wanted to be part of this year’s Christmas letter and she came out to pose for a photo this morning when Irene was filling her seed cup. My father, Allen, continues to do well. He recently celebrated his 89th birthday and is in reasonable health and good spirits.

*What? Don’t all the Christmas cards you get have footnotes? Anyway, Irene insists that I mention how well Liam reads for a three year old. Since that conflicts with my promise not to boast I have hidden her grandmotherly boasting in a footnote which nobody will read and for which I can blame her.

A few additional photos that didn't make the cut for this year's newsletter are available here (

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