Hello - most of you who are reading this don’t know of my existence – or that I am a member of the Barajas Family. My name is Steve and I am the eldest of the Barajas children. I was sent off to Switzerland at a young age – long before any of my younger siblings could form attachments to me – and I have been a ward of the severe but loving Father Schnautzum for the last many years. It is a hard life, full of toil and danger, but also of beauty and the satisfaction of hard work and a job well done. I delight in the knowledge that my family here in the U.S. may take their ease and pursue the American dream. I send regular missives to them – via the abbey’s carrier pigeons, which represent the finest Switzerland has to offer- and they return the birds to me bearing greetings and the occasional gift of toilet tissue or perhaps American foodstuffs.
I was asked to write this year’s annual letter because Russell, my dearest mother and Adolfo, my honored father, are quite busy with their three wonderful in-residence children whom I am proud to still call my brothers – although as I have said, I am not fortunate enough to see with any regularity. Or at all. So I shall enumerate each of their achievements from this past glorious year –recounted to me via carrier pigeon letters - so that you, too, may rejoice in their many accomplishments.
First, my brothers:
Sebastian delighted us all when he broke parole and arrived on the doorstep of the family home needing nothing more than a hot meal, a warm hug and $35,257 cash to pay off some friends. He shows such resourcefulness and an enviable sense of self-preservation. His gift for fiction writing has garnered him a lucrative array of identities, and has enabled him to live a luxurious, exciting and ever-changing lifestyle that encourages him to travel the world – sometimes at a moment’s notice! We love to guess from whence he will call next, and to what name we are to send letters, packages and money orders. A few months ago, he even sent me my first ever carrier camel, with explicit instructions not to return it lest the authorities track him down! When the poor beast froze to death in the bracing Swiss winter, Father Schnautzum mounted its humps on the wall, adding to the brightness of our reading room! Ah, the life of a carefree young man!
Julian thrilled both the family and the USOC with his acquittal on “abusing the dope”. His latest time in the100 meters, which he valiantly lowered by 13 seconds from one race to the next, is now assured to be believed, and his recently acquired musculature accepted as a natural part of his runner’s build. We never doubted him for a moment, and more importantly nor did Nike (his parents admitted to me that they are thrilled not to have to return the twin Porsches!) His enterprising nature made college applications a breeze through the bold method of enclosing envelopes stuffed with what he called “chump change” from his recent wins. We are all so proud of his initiative!
Gabriel continues to excel in his entrepreneurial pursuits. He is the type of hard-working young man who snatches life’s opportunities when they arise – after all, there is always time to go back and finish High School! It’s just that sort of youthful gusto that got him accepted into his top-choice gang! He is now well placed to take over as head of the youth marketing division should – God forbid - Skinny T perish from his recent injuries. Gabriel’s attorney is confident that he can make the racketeering charges go away, the RICO act notwithstanding. Our little businessman!
As regards our family dogs, in April we were lucky enough to have an addition to the pack: Sammie, a wee 8-year-old Rat Terrier (so he says) who travelled from California to join the East Coast Pack of ten-year-old Mocha and Chili, to whom Sammie refers consistently as his “bitches”. As a threesome, they are not as sedate nor as dignified as one might expect, given their maturity.
Now I’ll tell you about my parents Russell and Adolfo – who sent me here to Switzerland and gave me the opportunity to live in this magical place, a place thick with good wet earth and happy cows, a place where I am lucky enough to work from dawn until nightfall for the darling old Father Schnautzum who grinds my nose in the dirt only when I fail to harvest the wine grapes fast enough and who tweaks my earlobes good-naturedly if I neglect to fetch the right Toblerone for his evening after-snuff treat. These same parents reward my every carrier pigeon greeting with informative notes filled with gossip and wishes for a happy Vernal Equinox or Autumnal Wine Solstice or even good luck wishes for the running of the groundmuffins at St. Venia’s Corking Festival. My wonderful parents - who love me so much they sent me away to better myself and honor the family, to learn to do without the vain comforts of the modern world, such as the softness of a mattress and the loving embrace of a mother’s arms.
They’re both fine. Just fine.
Yours in servitude,
Steve (grateful member of the Barajas Family)