Each year we make a solemn pledge, tradition has to end,
Smithology will get the flick, no more the tomes we’ll send.
But sentiment still wins the day, just one more’s not too much,
That once-a-year brief expose that keeps old friends in touch.

We talked last year about the jobs”, Lee’s never-ending list,
The tasks, repairs and maintenance (you know — the ones Mike missed).
Add tiling to accomplishments, a quintessential feat,
Laid twenty five square metres, never once she skipped a beat.
Ripped carpet up, squared up the room, a mission to behold,
With tape and level, trowel and grout, the gloved crusader bold.
The end result’s amazing, now a cool and transformed space,
For fifty bucks an hour she’ll come out and do your place!
No sitting back with feet up, Lee now looks to the next task,
The bathroom, downpipes, list goes on — Mike’s just afraid to ask.

And where was Chainsaw Mike when this creation did ensue,
A most important factor must be stressed — he mixed the glue!
But music and the magazine take hours of the day,
Or the air-conditioned office might just have a little sway.
The trips away to festivals still happen now and then,
And Darwin hit the list this year, a time to catch old friends.
With Summer here the yard becomes priority it seems, 
An excuse to grab the chainsaw, any noisy mean machines.
The mowers and brush cutters showing age, but plain to see,
Like Mike, just need a service or a little TLC.

Mr Independence goes ahead in leaps and bounds,
Our Ben has really found his niche, a world of sight and sounds.
His first year doing graphic arts has brought us smiles galore,
He’s doing what he loves, a creation, not a chore.
In terms of straight encouragment, one teacher takes the prize,
When marking Ben’s assignment, praise from keen and practised eyes. 
It’s funny how a simple quote can help define life’s plan,
The mark almost irrelevant, he wrote Ben, you’re the man.”
Came home last week for R&R, some time home on the range,
Lee washed and cooked, Ben watched TV, well some things never change.

Alex has a real job, nine to five to be precise,
A first for her (post-honours), and the hours are just nice.
After years of fitting study with the tutoring late at night,
Griffith Uni nabbed her, good to see they got it right.
The rats are gone, but now it’s chooks (not in the house, okay?)
Not the smartest pets, but then there’s fresh eggs every day.
She and Tim are renovating — heard that tale it seems,
But when you think about it, simple fact, she has Lee’s genes.
It’s strange how some things tend to run along family lines,
The bark, the pebbles, plants and mulch, like destiny defined.

Another down (the year that is), reflecting where it went,
The usual combination, time well wasted, time well spent.
But here’s a new one coming, there are good things in the air,
Have a terrific Christmas, and a wonderful New Year.

Mike, Lee, Alex & Ben