The Gifted Underachiever

My life so far

Psalm for the family

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And lo as the days of the year are as numbered as the hair on the father’s head, so it has come to pass that the man should take an accounting of his brethren and sistren for the word to be spread to distant lands of the happenings in the house of Coleman and Graves.

2. Of the father it is known this much, that he toils in a land away from his home and his name is Thomas. The land of his ancestors is his home for now, where the people speak in a tongue unlike any other, but yet he understands them and speaks as them. Are these not the eaters of crawfish and gumbo and the dwellers of the swamp? 3. Yea, he harkens from the forests of the state of the pelican where he has freely chosen to work in buildings of glass to put the bread and wine and barley and hops on the family hearth.

4. And while his wife and child remain in the land of the mouse and citrus, where the water runs clear and not brown, they tend to the fire in the hearth and await his return. 5. And he comes for a half of a fortnight with each moon and stays with his wife and is a good father to his children lest he be forgotten by them. And it is good again for the while.

6. The fair wife Pamela tends to the family but also knows it is good to keep oneself fit. To the gym she presents herself where she walks without traveling on carpet that moves and lifts heavy stones without moving them away. 7. In this fashion she is a blessing in his eyes and makes herself in fine health.

8. Their home she keeps in conditions that are pleasing to the people that wish to see lest they buy it from them. 9. Though she has offered their home to strangers for a long time she loses not heart for she knows she will soon be in the land of the Cajun with her betrothed.

10. For the children she travels morning and evening to insure that they are proper in their presentation to teachers and leaders of cub scout.

11. In music does the older boy toil in his studies. It is Spencer making a pleasing sound with his horn of brass. 12, The baritone resounds throughout the land despite his good efforts to quieten its mighty sound. 13. On strings of electric does his sixteen years urge him to pluck making the noise strange to the elders ears but yet pleasing to the youth.

14. The youngest being of nine years appears to others as if aged and wise without being thought of as the aleck who is smart. 15. He is Graham who blesses his father in his advancing years with a countenance so pleasing as to avert a parent’s wrath. And his song is that of a bird and he joins in voice with his school choir and they make a joyful noise unto the ear. 16. And the father and the mother heard it and it is good.

17. And of their eldest who is named Haley, she is betrothed to the one Layne and together they make their home in the land of the Braves in the place of Atlanta in their house of two bedrooms. And here she has returned to her school so that she may teach the young. 18. Yea, she is to be the educator of youth come the late Spring of the next year. 19. And together they live with the animals of the earth – the two dogs who appear to be stricken with spirits that they run without heed of their masters, and the cat who appears wisest of all yet also heeds not man or beast.

And it came to pass that the daughter Brandice did complete her medical training and receive her degree of physician. 21. And the instructor saw it and said it was good so unto her he presented the Ross Award for Pediatric Excellence. 22. He is a mighty judge wise who knows good. And her fellow healer Bryan did take her hand in marriage and together they will tend to the health of the men, woman and children. 23. And they traveled East following the beckoning of their residency in the land of neck that is red. Birmingham is the name of the land which they have taken their new home and paid the man for its keep.

24. And the eldest son and his spouse begat a son the year before, and together with family they celebrate Thomas Alexander son of Thomas Jon-Michael and his betrothed, Patti, on the anniversary of his birth. A mighty celebration was held in the village of the king in the land of the cowboy and backs that are wet. And the mother did travel as did the sisters to tend to the festival. 25. And Patti did receive the invitation to teach the young during the day. And it is good. 26. And the father of Alexander himself did finish his schooling in the matters of business and takes to himself the parchments proclaiming his wisdom. It too is good.

27. To the north in the land of the crimson and cream dwells the son of handsome looks and easy tongue. It is Theo who also has earned the parchment telling all men of his learned ways in the use of the pen. 28. He toils in the hall of records as the man of the land seeking the riches of the soil. And for this the man gives him his daily coin with which to buy the flat screen and fruit of the vine. 29. And he stays in the land of elephant eye corn and beautiful mornings. And they call the land Oklahoma.

30. She who appears as a little girl is older and wiser than she seems. Yea, though her hair be the color of the sun the daughter Kristen has knowledge and receives knowledge to pass that knowledge on to youth. 31. Yea, she is to become also a teacher as her sisters. She is becoming learned in the ways of the educator in the halls of the orange that is burnt. 32. And she shall not rest until she hooks them because she also dwells in the land of the cowboy but in the very place where the cowboy leaders meet and the music flows in the street of six night and day – and it is called Austin.

And verily they shall gather from distant lands to the home of their family for the feast of the King where they shall dine on dishes of pasta and shellfish and platters of meats and sweets while presenting their brethren with gifts from afar and break bread and enjoy wine and spirits as they talk until the dawn. Yet they know not where they will lay their head it does not concern them for they know they will be home.

35. And the mother and father saw this and said that it is good.


The Christmas letters, Psalm for the Family and Mike Gumbo, were written in 2007 and 2008 when the family was in transition from Florida to Louisiana. Tom had moved to Louisiana living in temporary quarters, while Pamela stayed at the homestead in Florida with the children in school waiting on the sale of the home. They were reunited in 2009.

To see who’s responsible for this foolishness read Tom’s Bio.

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