© Another Day in the Country
It’s the new year and I am going through the Christmas cards that I received — SO GLADLY, by the way. I love getting cards. I had two stacks — the ones I’d received before I left for California setting on the side table in the hall and the ones I received while I was gone that Jess sent to me in one big happy envelope! I went through them all again.
“I’ve got to answer her card,” I said to myself as I reread Miriam’s missive.
“We didn’t get back to Ramona this year,” she said in her card.
We know! We missed her presence. She no longer has her little family home at the crossroads, so we said, “Come stay with us! We still have room!” But then again we say that rather often and on holiday weekends we are often “full up.”
Another card added to the pile labeled “answer” in my mind was Rita and Quinn’s. Reading their Christmas letter felt like we had gone on a trip ourselves as we went skiing with grandkids and trekking the Cathar Way in southern France. I’m sure I’ll never make it to that trail in this lifetime, but it was fun imagining the high rocky pinnacles, crisp air and the flat-out joy of doing this venture with family.
My friend Norman, who used to be married to my best friend Jan, now deceased, has gotten himself another wife! He smiles grandly from the front of their newly-mutual Christmas greeting, standing beside a lovely lady on their wedding day this past year. I’m really glad for him. There’s lots of life ahead!
In my “this year’s” stack is a card I got from Nesa last year. I kept it with the new cards because she died in 2015 and I miss her contribution to joy in so many lives!
Also in the “answer” pile is a card from my cousin Georgia. She’s the best card-sender all through the year for any and all occasions. This year she tells me she’s been ‘helping out’ at the Christmas tree farm in Lawrence. That woman never stops! Some days I wish I lived in a bigger town so there were more options for getting involved, and then I suddenly recall my Aunt Gertie talking with me on that same subject. She was ready to set out for Colorado and the big city, be near her kids, long before Uncle Hank was ready to leave Ramona — those were the days.
Here’s a card from friends since college days that I hadn’t been keeping track of. How sweet to hear from Fred and Merline, and I’ve got to write back because Christmas cards and old friends are on a spiraling decline.
Kristina and LeeRoy sent me two cards this year — both versions of their Christmas greeting since one of them was particularly funny. Over Thanksgiving I took pictures of my cousin Gary’s family and about 200 shots later, there was quite an accumulation of hilarious photos when one or another of the children or adults was doing something unacceptable. Two-year-old Clayton, picking his nose, was one shot that made it on a version of their Christmas card. That was pretty brave of Mommy. Usually we want our kids and cards to look perfectly idyllic!
My hand hesitated over the “answer” pile with Bennie and Marie’s card. “Should I answer or will I be seeing them?” I wondered. Their card, replete with Flint Hills beauty and a family shot finally went sadly into the wastebasket. I’ll give them a hug in person. Maybe we’ll go out for dinner.
Did you know that over 30 percent of Americans keep their Christmas cards indefinitely? I learned that the other night playing a new table game called “Wits and Wagers.” Meanwhile, it’s another day in the country and I’m trying to NOT add to those statistics!