Belated Holiday Greetings in a Letter From Joe (by Robin)

Summary:  A REALLY Lost Episode

Word Count:  2450



                Belated Holiday Greetings in a Letter From Joe



January 10, 18something or other

The Ponderosa Ranch

Dear Mitch,

Belated Holiday Greetings!

Glad you are having a good time visiting your grandparents and Aunt Ebellum. It’s too bad you aren’t here to see what went on but I’ll try to fill you in.

It all started with me trying to have a swell New Year’s Eve. You know that I had made plans with my latest doomed girlfriend, Preema Choordeath (though I didn’t know she was doomed at the moment). I invited her to a quiet romantic dinner in Virginia City’s hottest new restaurant, Chipotle. It opened a couple of weeks ago, right down the block from the feed store, across from the not-yet-invented Starbucks. Who could predict that not only would Preema fall off a cliff but also get food poisoning and be gone by the next day? But that’s a story another letter.

Anyhow… I wanted to find Pa a lady friend for the big New Year’s Eve shindig at Doc Martin’s, a fund-raiser for the horizontal butt crack fund in Carson City. Those poor folks really suffer from that affliction and can’t wear store bought long johns or use most of the outhouses in town! So, I figured if my Pa and my brothers were otherwise occupied, I could stay out late and have lots of fun on New Year’s Eve, ringing in the New Year with dear doomed Preema with no Pa or older brothers cramping my fun.

First thing was that I figured to use my new not-yet-invented lap top that I got from “SANTA” (aka Pa)  to surf the not-yet-invented web and find one of those online dating sites that catered to older singles. I planned to set it up for my father and find a suitable date for him. I found “Box Lunch dot com” and posted a profile of Pa, saying he was a silver-haired widower with one exceptionally handsome son and two other grown sons, and that he  was looking for a gal to walk in the moonlight and share evenings by the blazing (like myself) fire and count the stars over Lake Tahoe and maybe more. I added that that he even drove after dark and had all his teeth too. I said that he had snow on the roof but fire down below, and could dance like not-yet-born Fred Astaire.

So far, no bites but who knows what might happen in the next few weeks.

Then, I convinced Adam to update his status on his not-yet-invented Facebook page. Since last spring, he had let his Facebook status linger as “engaged to weepy Laura Dayton”. It needed updating as a few months earlier whiney Laura left town with Cousin Will (aka Zorro) and was never heard from again. By the way, I think that her homely daughter Peggy is still hunting for where her Ma and Will moved and became a shampoo girl or a magicians assistant in Vegas or is serving as the before picture for the Botox industry for her sleazy Aunt Lil. After all, enough was enough, and it was time for Adam to move on and find a new girl friend. He reluctantly agreed.

Despite all my efforts, it all ended with a big mess on the not-yet-invented internet when White Buffalo Woman (remember her?) “Friended” Adam and posted all sorts of nasty accusations on his wall and a whole bunch of not-yet-invented selfies of him in a weird leather vest and a funky head band looking like a sad remnant of the Village People. She also posted a link to a YouTube video of him proposing to her beside a rippling brook with a crappolla peach pit ring and reciting Bible verses. (OMG!)

“Adam! Didn’t you realize that ‘whither thou goest’ verse was two ladies talking to each other? A mother-in-law and her widowed daughter-in-law? Ruth and Naomi?” I pointed out. “What the heck were you thinking, brother? You should have recited some of that lusty stuff from Song of Songs or sang “Ring of Fire”, not this girlie-girl mother-in-law verse.”

My older brother, who claimed he knew the Bible pretty well, had goofed up royally once again. You would think he had read the Cliff Notes or saw the not-yet-invented movie.


The not-yet-computer blinked and chimed to indicate someone else had posted on Adam’s Facebook page. It was one of those “like” things for them who suffer from horizontal butt cracks.

Then Adam’s old friend Ross’ sister Monica “Friended” him and posted a few “throwback Thursday” pictures of him from back in the day playing guitar and singing at a frat party at Back East U with good old Ross and their buddy Chandler. What a hoot!

Adam was a bit embarrassed on that one.

Next, Adam got a nude selfie from Miss Abigail Jones. I thought I was going to have to rip my eyeballs out from that one. Who wants to see their bony boyhood teacher neked? EEEEEEEEEEEEEw. I even got a bit nauseous and almost threw up but before I could say or do anything.

That was it for Facebook. Adam went completely and totally berserk and screamed real loud, “DELETE DELETE DELETE!” He started twitching and shoved me out of my chair. He grabbed my new lap top and started pounding keys and twitching and howling and carrying on and shrieking like a cat who’s got his tail caught in a not-yet-invented front loader washing machine and had the spin cycle get stuck. Smoke and sparks came out of my BRAND NEW lap top and Adam kept howling and screaming “DELETE!” until Facebook sort of imploded and the lap top screen cracked and went black except for an error message that said something about malware and FBI warnings and the Geek Squad coming to help if we wanted and horizontal butt cracks and gypsy curses.

As if that wasn’t enough problems for us Cartwrights, the next day Hoss mistakenly got a bride shipped to him instead of fireworks from the Yippee Trading Company website. Yes, a bride! I guess that was better than confusing a mother-in-law kiss-up Bible verse to a romantic passage when you are trying to make time with the only gal in the middle of the wilderness.

UPS showed up with a real attractive but obnoxious and politically-correct white gal posing as a Chinese labor militant. What the heck was that all about? I suppose it has something to do with show biz and having family connections to open doors for you when you weren’t all that particularly talented, but that’s a whole other episode. That gal was just sitting next to that driver who was wearing those real ugly UPS brown shorts and socks that some old ladies in town find real attractive. The dumb driver was making goo-goo eyes at that black-haired gal while he shouted for Hoss Cartwright to come get his package.

My brother Hoss got all flummoxed when he saw her and tried to refuse the delivery of a bossy girl, but the driver flung her out of the not-yet-invented brown truck and shouted he had a schedule to keep and other deliveries and Hoss had to take it up with customer service. So poor Hoss just stood there with that little gal going “ahummma ahummma!” and turning bright red.

Adam, who had recovered from the embarrassing Facebook incident, snickered and said “Har har! Not to worry, Hoss! You didn’t sign for the delivery, and boy, is the driver going to be in trouble for THAT!”

Adam thinks he knows everything, but according to Pa, who saw the entire episode, Adam was right in this particular case. Pa agreed that it was the driver’s responsibility to get a signature from someone for the delivery, even if it was one of our illiterate ranch hands signing with an X  or Cousin Will who signed with a Z or a thumb print from some passerby Paiute or one of Pa’s long-lost jokester friends before he tried to steal the ranch from Pa or start a range war or abscond with one of our best horses or the safe.

I wanted to help out poor Hoss so I went inside and fished my battered laptop out from under the settee where Adam had kicked it. I tried to go online to both the Yippee website and the UPS web site but the cracked screen said the internet was down. I finally figured out it was because Pa had disconnected the wireless router when hooked up the new printer on top of that huge green safe  in his office. When I pointed his blunder out, he said real indignant. “Hop Sing did it when he was vacuuming with the not-yet-invented vacuum! Don’t you get wise with me, young man!”

When Hop Sing heard Pa’s accusation about his vacuuming, he got mighty insulted and walked off in a huff. He announced that he was going back to China and we should heat up our own dinners in the not-yet-invented microwave until he came back. All of us except Hoss know Hoppy is just peeved and wasn’t really going to China; he was just going to take a ride into town and visit with one of his cousins or check out the latest not-yet-invented  Star Wars movie. Besides, Hop Sing hadn’t finished vacuuming the settee where he always found loads of pocket change from all the wounded, dying folks we hauled in and laid out there.

Hoss (who, for your information, still believes in the Tooth Fairy, Santa and the Easter Bunny despite Pa trying to explain that it was him who left coins for the teeth Hoss lost and also bought all the gifts and colored eggs) burst into tears at Pa’s latest attempt to set him straight, and said, “Pa! All these years I thought you was a rancher! And now I find out that you are racing all over the world in the middle of the night collecting spewed out baby teeth and delivering gifts and colored eggs and leaving me and Adam and Joe all alone without a parent in the house!”

Pa just rolled his eyes and glared at me and Adam and said “He’s YOUR brother! You two boys try to talk some sense into him!” He stomped out of there and went into the kitchen to check if Hop Sing had taken off in a huff or if he could get him to make an early supper first.

So me and Adam explained that it Pa was just joshing and not to cry, and that when Pa left for the night, he got us a real responsible mature sitter.

“Like Miss Abigail Jones?” Hoss sniffled. Well, Mitch, after me and Adam saw that neked picture of Miss Abigail, both of us kind of swooned and smiled and nodded. I was sort of afraid to say a word just in case I had to puke. Hoss figured that meant yes and was satisfied with that explanation. So was I and so was Adam.

Anyway, it didn’t look like UPS was going to make good on Hoss’ fireworks and we were stuck with that bossy, pseudo-Chinese labor organizing gal. Then she started spewing ridiculous stuff about getting the ranch hands better working conditions and not-yet-invented video games in the bunk house, but that was real stupid as everyone knows. The cowhands on the Ponderosa are treated better than any cowboys anywhere and have great medical coverage and profit sharing and get to use our condo at Disney and Sky Box in Dodger stadium if they stay for more than three episodes.

Then the Chinese gal now was making up yarns that her real Pa was Lebanese and sold carpets and told jokes in a New York night club.

“A night club back east? The Tropicana with Ricky Ricardo?” asked Adam, who claimed to be really sophisticated.

“I wonder if your Lebanese Pa knows Adam’s pal Phoebe? She sings in that coffee bar club that Ross and his sister Monica go to? Central Perk?” I said trying to be friendly but Adam decided it wasn’t quite the thing I should be saying and poked me in the side with his pointy elbow.

My brother Adam has the sharpest and quickest elbows in Nevada Territory. I think he sits up at night doing elbow sharpening exercises and practicing his cynical sneer in the mirror and making quick elbow moves. On the other hand, Adam does have a real tender side that he occasionally let’s come through. He once confided in me that he thought Kane, that insane guy who held him prisoner in the desert, had died as a result of being elbowed by Adam.

Don’t tell him I told you, Mitch.

Before all this elbow-poking business went on too far, we heard a clatter out in the yard and realize the fool UPS driver had shown up to straighten out the delivery. Good thing Hoss had stopped crying about the confusion about Santa and Pa and the Tooth fairy. He was chewing on his fifteenth apple from the big bowl on the coffee table Hoss’ Ma got from IKEA.

All of us, including that gal who hadn’t stopped ranting about foolish stuff, strolled out on the front porch to see what was going on. The UPS guy jumped out of his wagon, did a little two-step jig in his brown shorts and grabbed that fool girl. Then he flung her up on the wagon seat and tossed a wooden crate labeled Yippee out on the porch. They rode off in a cloud of dust toward the hills where we later found out that Phil, the fellow who inherited the old Donahue place, had sent to Yippee for a pseudo Chinese/Lebanese mail order bride.

I suppose it all worked out for them as I ain’t heard otherwise. Like Hop Sing said, there is a cover for every pot.

Well, my New Year’s Eve didn’t turn out like I had planned… But that’s a whole other story for another time.

I’ll write more next week, Mitch. Hoss is calling me and asking if Pa was a leprechaun as well as the Tooth Fairy, so me and Adam have to straighten that out.

Your pal,

Joe  Cartwright


The End

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