“If make it through December,” Merle Haggard sang on the car radio, “things are gonna be alright I know.” It was quarter break in the early 1980s, and I was home from Auburn to spend the holidays in Jernigan. I was driving the Pontiac Catalina to the Post Office in Cottonton to buy Christmas stamps so I could mail cards to friends. For some inexplicable reason, that specific short drive to the Post Office, a trip I made many times over the years, stands out in my mind and revisits every year about this time.
One of the highlights of Christmas for me in those days was, first, choosing my Christmas cards every year. White’s Book Store in Columbus was my shopping place of choice. After choosing the perfect card, I absolutely loved sending them to friends on my list and waiting to receive cards back from them. Even though most Christmases were what Dolly Parton described as “hard candy Christmases” for me back then, it didn’t faze me when the price of cards went up, up, up – followed by the price of stamps. The expenditure was worth the payback.
At some point, the “Christmas letter,” listing an entire family’s accomplishments, started to root the pretty cards out of the forefront. While I had enjoyed receiving photographs of friends with their pets or humans, something about the pay raises, golf scores, bonus rooms, and GRE results didn’t warm me the way a picture of a baby or a schnauzer on Santa’s lap had done.
Today, more and more folks email or send greetings over social media, and I realize that doing so may be more environmentally friendly than actual paper cards with stamps that must be delivered in a truck fueled by gasoline.
But I miss the excitement of waiting for the postman, of opening the mailbox to find it filled with envelopes containing good wishes from friend far and near.
Marian Carcache welcomes
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