December 26th, 2009
07:37 AM ET

Dear President Obama #341: The great Christmas washout

Reporter's Note: President Obama remains on vacation in Hawaii. That sounds nice. But I’ve never been that fond of sand, so I suppose I’m happy enough back here in the snow of DC, writing my daily letters to him..

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Well, the Christmas trap I set this year and explained to you in yesterday’s letter both worked and didn’t work all at once. The girls apparently managed to avoid all the alarms, but once they were convinced they had beaten the system, they accidentally stumbled onto that jingle bell tripwire anyway. So we have engaged in a day long debate about whether that constitutes a win for the kids or the adults. Great fun.

The presents were lovely, as were the calls to and from family members, some of whom we failed to catch up with, but you can bet we’ll track them down before the weekend is over. Other than that we spent the day lounging around, watching Christmas movies, snacking and enjoying each other’s company. I chased everyone around with a toy air gun from a nephew that shoots little foam balls, and sported a New York Dolls t-shirt from an old friend. I cooked eggs and sausage for breakfast on a brilliant new griddle from my elder daughter, and savored diving into a new book from the younger. As I write this we are in front of a beautiful fire, just being a family. All in all, a really nice day despite a cold rain outside.

I don’t think I can ever recall a bad Christmas, but I do remember one that was rather trying, and rain was a big reason. We lived in central Illinois at the time, in a house my dad and mom built in the middle of a soybean field, and that December was very wet. Winters in that part of the country can often be long and gray, (Who am I telling? You’re from Chicago!) but this one made it seem as if the floodgates of heaven had opened. Day after day the rain poured, filling the ditches alongside the roads, creating makeshift ponds in the fields through which the stubble of corn stalks pushed up like an agricultural re-creation of the last scene of Titanic.