Christmas card time

Unless you never venture outside your door this time of year, you are apt to be asked, “Are you ready for Christmas?”

I’ve never been ready for Christmas. It always comes around too fast and catches me off guard. How can it be Christmas when I’m still writing Aug. 6, 1997, on my checks? The roses should still be blooming. I should still be thinking strawberries instead of fruitcake. Yes, I am one of those rare birds who enjoys fruitcake.

I’m still thinking spring daffodils instead of poinsettias. Nevertheless, what I should be thinking is the Christmas card list. With postage costs and the time involved, I keep thinking of cutting down the list. But it just doesn’t happen. Sure as I drop someone from my list, I will get a beautiful Christmas card with an endearing handwritten wish included.

Each year we receive a card from a family who lived four houses down from us for two months in 1967. Other than welcoming them to the neighborhood with a plate of cookies, I never saw them again. Not only do we receive a card from these short-term neighbors, they include a lengthy handwritten letter outlining the lives of people we don’t know or ever knew.

I admit Christmas cards are a nice tradition and it is great hearing from those we don’t come in contact with on a day-to-day basis. When I was a child, I waited in great anticipation for the mailman to arrive with the Christmas cards. Mother seldom opened them before she looked at the rest of the mail. One day I asked her why — fear, she said, that one day she would open a card from someone she had forgotten and she would feel guilty. Is it any wonder I feel guilty over the most inconsequential things. I was taught by a pro.

This year it is going to be different. Tonight, in plenty of time before Christmas, I am going to address the envelopes, stuff the cards ... oh, wait a minute. I don’t know where I put the cards I purchased last July from a kid down the block. And when I do find them, do I send one to the family I knew back in 1967?

Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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