Well, next time we talk, Christmas will have come and gone.

We won’t be around Monday or Tuesday, the rare three-and-a-half day weekend. We will make a paper Saturday, also a rare occurrence.

News people get the full day off only on Christmas and New Year’s, a fact I was not made privy to when I accepted my first position here at the Banner way back in 1980. I suspect that it originally was just Christmas Day employees were given off, but they added New Year’s Day when, giving us crusty old news hounds’ propensity for bringing in the new year with a bang, we probably weren’t showing up for work Jan. 1 anyway.

Every other holiday, we make a paper if it’s a weekday. We have to come in and get your news and daily fare out. Thanksgiving, July 4, Labor Day, you name it, your dedicated newspaper team is here, making a paper.

This year, with three-and-a-half days off, it feels like a mini-vacation. Yes, they do give us vacations. I get two weeks a year, which I usually spend fishing. Notice I did not say "catching." Sometimes I catch, sometimes I don’t, but I’m always fishing.

When I wake up this Christmas morning I would like to find under my tree:

– An eight-foot, five-weight bamboo fly rod in three-piece.

– A Fox Sterlingsworth in 16-gauge, 28-inch barrels and real American walnut, not that Brazilian junk.

– A Chris Craft runabout, 1940s vintage,

– Four puppy dogs. Make it five.

– A box of Snickers Dark candy bars.

– A note revealing the truth about the assassination of JFK, the Roswell incident and Amelia Earhart.

– An eight-foot, five-weight bamboo fly rod in three-piece.

– Properly working Christmas lights on Main Street.

– Better government on the fifth floor of the courthouse (this may be coming in January, slightly late, but better than never.)

– A 1968 Shelby Cobra GT-500. Baby blue, please.

– An appaloosa.

– A box of Padron 1964 Anniversarys, Coronas in Maduro. Please. (Probably cost more than the Shelby!)

– An eight-foot, five-weight bamboo fly rod in three piece.

– All seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. I’m not kidding. Stop laughing. Quit it!

– A pet bed for Patches so I can have mine back.

– The Rocky Mountains.

– A signed copy of Harry Middleton’s Rivers of Memory.

– A phaser from Star Trek. Then we’d have good government, I guarantee!

– A best-selling novel idea, already written with my name on it, and totaling more than 170 pages.

– OK, fine, an eight-foot, five-weight bamboo fly rod in two-piece, ya cheapskate. Jeesh.

All this will be a bit difficult, since the tree in the living room is only about 30 inches tall, but I’m sure you’ll all manage fine.

I don’t have a fireplace for Santa to come down, so I’ll leave the shop door open and lock up the attack cat Christmas Eve.

Listen, have a great one, y’all hear?