Over Time & Distance

Christmas on the Ranch

Thursday, December 26, 2019

I grew up in a family that had no habit of sending greeting cards. Upon becoming a young adult I did send cards, spent hours looking for perfect ones. We co-workers enjoyed exchanging greetings by mail and in person during casual office parties. My selected cards needed visuals and messages that meshed with my moods and feelings during those complex stretches between the Thanksgivings and New Years. Some seasons, I created cards to send, and others didn’t send anything. In these later years, I’ve not sent cards.

Card-sending seems to have diminished because we have newer ways of communicating. Instant messaging and the internet have discouraged communicating via snail mail. Plus, there are costs associated to postage. Early on when I mailed in bulk, postage stamps cost maybe a dime, and since then have become astronomical.

Over the years, my mail has contained diminishing numbers of greeting cards. In these days, finding one card or more surprises, delights, even makes me feel special. I look at the envelope, “Gee, this has been through an entire process: selected, addressed (maybe an added handwritten note), stamped and mailed. Sweet!”

I collect the non-commercial envelopes to set aside, unopened, in a little box that over days may become a colorful collection of envelopes and tickles fantasies. And finally, on Christmas Day, in an atmosphere of wonderful seasonal music, and with my dogs lounging around, I settle into a comfortable rocker. I’ve cracked a beer (yes, a Coors lite), and have setting on my lap the box of cards.

The Handel chamber musicians, the sopranos, tenors, and baritones, soar in delight, joy, and wonder, as I open envelopes one by one. I take time to examine closely the artwork, read the messages. I think fondly of senders, friends reaching out to share joy and affection through time, and often, across miles.

Dear Friends: “Your presence” makes the season lovelier. Thank you so much! Diana

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