Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Cards

Let it Snow!
Idaho got dumped on and I can hear my son outside taking care of the Mom and Me shoveling business. Minus Me.
(I am now simply CEO.)
And he isn't shoveling, Padre got out the snowblower. Kids have it so easy these days. 
Okay, back to my original thought for a post!
Due to time and technology we do not do Christmas cards like we used to.
Most of my correspondence is in the form of 'letters', typed to make it 'easier' on my arthritis! So, my friends get more then they wanted,  instead of signed cards they get stories and updates! And becaue I don't do my Christmas Cards in one sitting- they trickle into loved ones' mailboxes.
And keep trickling, like a broken faucet, into the coming months to the point that my letters look like just that- a letter. When it was originally a Christmas Card!
Actually, all kidding aside. Back in the day I can recall my grandparent's door. It held the original
that they would put on the horses before hitching it to the sleigh, used during winter months to get to destinations. Can you imagine hearing these bells ring as you sat in your cold, fire heated home, wearing your thread bare stockings? The sound of a visitor! Ya-hoo!!
Now imagine this whenever the door is shut at your grandparents or loved one's home. The smell of fresh monkey bread, lathered in butter, sitting amidst a bunch of other goodies on the small round table of my Grandma's is aching my heart right now.
The door to their home would have numerous cards, all hung at an angle covering it that the wood could barely be seen and the windows were covered so you couldn't see who was coming to visit. The cards were thick, rich shimmery cards that sparkled or begged to be looked at from afar.
She now has a magnet board that holds the updated picture cards that are sent.
Times change....
So this whole card correspondence thing  had me thinking all of this the other day when
cards from two loved ones showed up and they were of the OLD FASHIONED variety; handwritten. 
Ouch. Once again two older ladies were upstaging me on the physical arena.
There is nothing like seeing a loved one's handwriting.
 Especially a Grandmother's.
Sorry, Nothing. (I am so glad that most grandmas are not online.- for the most part) 
Both of the women who wrote me had tried their very best not to shake- I could "see" the careful effort they were putting into the cursive they penned. And I could tell that each had lovely handwriting back in the day.
And now, their imperfection was perfection. Tears came by what they wrote in a few sentences, words not minced but to the point.
They had written me the old fashioned way.
Meaning: They really wrote; no computer, just pen and paper.
I could see that person in each swirl of the pen.
I have a lot of friend who have held on to tradition but to see the older ones hold onto them...
My Grandmother's was the most difficult, emotionally, to read.
She and I have been pen pals for some time now. I have taken efforts to make the letter interesting to look at so that it could be looked at time and again if desired.
My Grandma kept every letter sent to her, I believe. All of my father's letters sent to her from Vietnam.
The most difficult ones to read were ones that had been opened and re-opened so much that the crease in the thin paper was beginning to fade the pen. I knew a scared mother read those. That a stoic father who worked hard at his job would sit up to the table and read it.
Siblings would listen to or read the letters. Most of them at least.
Norman Rockwell has made me think this was like one of his paintings.
So Grandma and I wrote back and forth. Well, I mainly wrote. And told her NOT to.
Because I didn't want her to stress out.
After one such admonition she said she may surprise me.
And she did!
I hadn't seen her in a long time due to illness. So a bit ago I got to spend time with her one night and
then one afternoon. I got to talk on the phone with her a few times.
Her card is only a few lines but they are better than any Hallmark words can pen!
Like her, I keep all my letters. It does take up space. But it is history to me.
Her once beautiful, perfect handwriting is diminished. Recognizable. But written by a tired hand.
A heart after one sentence reduced me to tears!
Again, time goes so quickly. And things change quickly! As wonderful as it is that she is HOME for Christmas- well. You wish a nurse was in her back pocket and a Dr. on the sofa.
Her life and my dear friend's, the ones from the old fashioned time period of runner sleds, Filson wool hats on boys playing in the snow, and home made fudge that can't be duplicated even though you have the recipe, turn my thoughts to why I need to be so grateful
for Christmas.
The symbolism of Christ in a lot of the traditions.
Well, this post is like my letters... it drags on and is in need of an envelope, stamp, and placed in the mailbox for the new mailman who is quite opposite of what the old one was like; he is young and in shape and doesn't wear an old confederate flag bandana around his face during the winter.
Retired mailman, Ralph is like a Rockwell painting in
different sort of way.
 I need to also post my picks for the year.

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