Campbells (and Vaughns) at Christmas!
Casey's tearing up the lanes -- a
legend in her own mind!!
No, my Mom is not making an
obscene gesture!
She just has consonant
confusion. It's "duckpin
bowling," Mom not . . . well . . .
you know.
Lori: "Damn I'm good. And I look
maaahvelous! Why else would I
wear a necklace to duckpin
Scott: "Why am I even doing this
when there's a perfectly good bar
in the building! This is way to
much like exercise!"
Auntie Reeta! She didn't actually
roll a ball. She stared the pins
down and they dropped of their
own accord. (Smart pins!)
Ethan is having an existential
moment: "Why am I attacking
these poor pins? They've done
nothing to me. I say let the pins
Does Jamie seem blurry? Well,
she's just having a Kurt Vonnegut
trans-time, Billy-Pilgrim
moment. (It's also the best
picture I have).
Finally! The bar! Yaaaay! From
left to right: Billy, Jamie, Mom
and Dad. (Hey wait! Billy doesn't
even drink. How'd he get into this
Casey and Mom: This looks
sweet, but look closely.
Casey: "Grandmom, there's a
popcorn machine right behind
you and I am ever so hungry!
Seriously! Get me some
Lori holding forth in the
bar with Jamie and Reeta:
"So I sez to him: "Yeah,
you and what Army!"
Casey: "Ahhhh! All the
major food groups in one
Jamie to Lori: "Nice shirt!
Love the color
Lori to Jamie: "Back at you!"
Wow! These walls are really
blue. It reminds me of the
Florida. But I'm not in
Florida! I'm in Indiana! In
December! Why? I think I'll
just stare at the walls and
pretend I'm in Florida.
Reeta: "I too will stare at the
blue walls and pretend I'm in
Florida. Now I'll click my
heels three times: "There's
no place like Sarasota."
Wow! This is like a seriously
lame Christmas present. I
think Uncle Scott was
shopping at the airport
again! Jerk!
"Go Speed Racer Gooooo!
I'm not making this up. This
is a philosopher
finger-puppet show my Dad
forced Casey to participate
in. I remember something
about Goethe and Nietzche
and then my brain froze
over. Oh well, that which
doesn't kill me makes me
So this is the Campbe ll Family Christmas of 05 in Indianapolis,
Indiana. You may wonder: "Why not Christmas of 06?"

Here's the reason. Lori and I have a kitty by no kiddies, so we go to
where the kiddies are, and
Moo-the-Cat gets left behind. (Moo's
grumpy about this and you can read about it on her blog, which is
coming soon).

But the kiddies are spread out. My family gathers in Indianapolis
because that's where one set of kiddies are. In fact, members of my
family, who live in Florida, leave the Sunshine State in the middle of
winter to make this pilgrimage to Indianapolis to see the kiddies.

But Lori's family and a separate set of kiddies lives in Alabama. So on
alternating years we go to Indianapolis or Alabama. 2006 was
Alabama and you can see those pictures on Lori's family she ever
gets around to it.

Indiana was a culture shock to me. I've always lived on the East
Coast -- from Fort Lauderdale to Boston -- never more than a mile
or two from the ocean. Indiana is one of those land-locked "in-there"
states that I had only seen through the windows of an Amtrak train
as we traveled to some western destination. My first glimpse of
Indiana was back around 2002 when we pulled up to an Amtrak
station in a small Indiana town as we traveled to Glacier Park.

It was summer. A single person got off at this stop, but there were
people lined up in lawn chairs, sipping from tall glasses -- I assume of
iced tea or lemonade -- who waved us in and then watched us go.
Many waved tiny American flags.

I wanted so badly to jump out and ask: "Why did you bring lawn
furniture to the train station and just hang out? Why did you bring
flags to wave at us as we pulled in and when we left? Why do you live
here at all?" But it was a short visit. A young woman got off, hugged
her parents, the doors to the train closed and -- "pfffffft" -- we were
outta there!

But in my visits to Indiana since then, it all kind've makes sense.
They have a sense of community not enforced by the closeness of
space -- like Boston or DC -- but a genuine neighborliness borne of
the harsh conditions of an "in-there" state where you simply must
look out for each other.

And they like their duckpin bowling in downtown Indianapolis, where
most of this takes place. So now meet the cast of characters:

  1. Casey, my niece, is this bundle of both mental and physical
    energy like some weird Newtonian mutant. Newton said: "A
    body in motion will remain in motion unless acted on by an
    external force." Casey is never at rest and there seems no
    external force that can slow her down. Even asleep, I don't
    think she's a body at rest. Oddly, Jamie (my sister and Casey's
    Mom, who you will meet in a moment), seems more tired than
    I remember. I think she is stuck in a weird "Conservation of
    Energy Loop," since Casey's infinite energy has to come from
    somewhere else if the universe is to stay in order.
  2. My Mom is a retired airline employee. I can sum her up this
    way. Once, driving back from her job at Eastern Airlines, she
    picked up a young male hitchhiker from England. It was raining
    and he looked hungry. She brought him home, fed him and
    made him our guest for a week or two. As it turned out, he was
    a very nice guy, but she couldn't have known that at the time.
    (He challenged us to a "name the states game." None of us got
    all 50 U.S. States but the FREAKING guy from England filled
    in all of our blanks for us). But this kind of sums Mom up. She is
    kind. She trusts people. And the god of Unitarians, Quakers
    and general believers in the goodness of mankind seems to
    protect her. Nowadays, she is a library volunteer, a card-
    carrying member of the ACLU and a chef extraordinaire!
  3. Auntie Reeta is a 21st-Century soul in search of the
    stimulation of the 14th Century Renaissance -- and finds it
    wherever she goes, from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico to Hawaii
    to Italy to France to Japan to upper New York state to Florida
    and other destinations to drool over. She's an artist, jeweler,
    fashion designer, store owner (where she showcased her own
    designs), health care worker, opera spear carrier, language
    teacher, den-mother for actors, world traveler and inveterate
    reader and thinker. A conversation with Reeta is always
    demanding, but never dull.
  4. Ethan, my nephew, loves his sport jerseys, loud toys and
    terrorizing my Dad (who you will meet in a moment as well).
    He combined most of these particular fascinations on this
    particular Christmas, to wake up me and Lori on Christmas
    Day. (Casey helped as well, following Ethan to our temporary
    basement abode playing the violin. This is why Lori and I
    DON'T have children!)
  5. Uncle Billy is this weird force of nature. He's retired Navy,
    retired firefighter and now inveterate roller coaster rider --
    preferably wooden roller coasters. He travels around the
    country and world to ride roller coasters spreading the gospel
    that roller coaster's could 'beeeee' the new mass transit
    because this would add a certain 'weeee' factor to the morning
    commute. Makes sense to me!  
  6. Jamie's my sister and one of my best friends. When we were
    kids we had this incredibly competitive uncle who loved games.
    One a game was "Password," where partners give each other
    one-word clues to guess a certain word. If you got it on the first
    word, you scored a 10. Jamie and I scored 10 so often, he
    wouldn't play with us any more. We don't see each other that
    often, but talk on the phone about our jobs, politics and life in
    general. Jamie's passionate about here work and can swear a
    blue streak when provoked. (I used to work on a commercial
    fishing boat and Jamie can -- and has outsweared -- my
    captain, Billy. You'll meet him later).
  7. My Dad is a study in complements and contradictions.
    Depends how you look at it. Do these things go together? He
    has the body of a fullback, which he was, but the heart of a
    poet, which he is. He was born and raised on a farm and had a
    horse named Rex. Yet his preferred mode of transportation
    was always classic British sports cars -- an MGB, TR3 or
    Jaguar. (Don't see those on the farm). And the occasional
    muscle car (Pontiac GTO convertible) and even now, a VW
    convertible. Loves Wagner. Hates rock music. Yet when my
    sister and I were still listening to AM bubble gum music, he
    brought the Beatles' Sgt. Peppers into the house -- pronounced
    it good -- and suddenly The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Tull, the
    Stones, Zeppelin etc., all followed, much to his regret.
  8. Joe, my brother in law, is not pictured here. SORRY JOE! I
    don't have any good photos of you from Christmas. But go over
    to the Joe and Jamie page and there you are!