The Best Gift
Ma Bell reigned supreme and long distance calls were something our parents made only on very rare, special occasions or in cases of emergency. The postman was the most anticipated visitor of the day because he brought handfuls of Christmas cards from friends and family from the beginning of December right through to New Year's. A parcel was a special event, wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine. Together, these two entities kept us connected to our loved ones far away.
My parents opened each card with happy anticipation. Every one contained a few words of joy from the sender, and very often a letter. People took the time to tell us how they were and what they were doing. It was their gift to us. In return, my parents would sit for hours at the big walnut dining room table, writing their own good wishes and reporting on our progress. I licked two and three cent stamps to stick on stacks of cheerful greetings before I slid out on the ice and snow to the closest street corner and listened to them plop down to the bottom of the mailbox.
Some cards were even more special than others. One came from the Bowes-Lyons, a couple my parents befriended in their younger years, who lived on Canada's west coast. Their card was special because, my mom told me, they were cousins to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum. Of course, my little eyes popped when I saw that card. It was the closest we would ever come to royalty.
Another card came from a gentleman who always drew an original pen and ink sketch on the front of his card. I can't remember now who he was or where he lived, but his artistry stays with me. He would sketch a modern Christmas scene and always hide a baby Jesus somewhere in the picture. Every year I wanted to be the first to spot it. It was nothing short of a work of art.
Today, some of our greetings come via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter, but are no less special because every sender takes the time to think about us and wish us well. And our time, it seems, is becoming not only our most precious commodity but also our greatest gift to others.
So to all of you dear readers, thank you for taking the time to read my little stories. You make me strive to improve my writing skills and story development. I think of you when I'm staring at a blank screen, wondering what will appear on it when I'm done, and whether you will enjoy reading it. And of course, it's such a pleasure to hear from you too.
From our family to yours, we wish you a lovely, cozy Christmas, a bright, cheerful New Year, and love in abundance.
Jean, George and Waldo