By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Oops. So, I was just cleaning up my work space Wednesday. It had gotten piled high with documents and dozens of notes I’d written to myself about stuff that needed doing.
They clearly required chucking or filing. In pursuit of space for the latter, I began to rifle through my file cabinet to determine what I really didn’t need any more.
As I moved to the book shelf to place a file, lo and behold, I noticed two small boxes. They looked like they needed retrieving, and maybe throwing away.
There, before my startled eyes, were last year’s Christmas cards, all stuffed neatly in their addressed envelopes.
The flaps were standing up, as if anticipating the newsy, fascinating and perhaps – for some – annoying “letter” I probably planned to insert into the card before I mailed them.
Here we are, one year, 12 months later.
Oh, the social stigma! The forgetful faux pas!
Dinah and Terry, Ellen and Don, Dick and Sally, Peachy and Charlie – and so many, many more.
Forgive me. I am a scatter-brained lout. A failure at upholding our decades-long traditions of swapping stories and incremental updates on the Fam, the kids, the job, the spousal breakups, the shingles. Whatever.
That puts me in mind of more than 30 years ago. (Why is my more distant memory so clearly better than my more recent?)
My sister, Suzy, and her longtime, hometown high school beau were getting married. It was the first wedding in our family, and a small but significant percentage of townspeople actually cared. Or, in reality, actually owed payback to my beloved mother for all her kindnesses and favors to them throughout the many years.
And, so it was, that Suzy etc. were the recipients of all those things new couples could wish for, or perhaps not, back in the early 1970s. China, silverware, crock pots, woven place mats, crystal glassware, electric griddles. You know what I’m talking about.
The gifts simply poured in after the obligatory invitations were mailed.
My mother properly received them and took great pains to catalog each item, its giver and the return address. Of course, she purchased the appropriate quantity of nicely done “personals,” those lovely small folded notes on which socially adept people write their thanks.
Flash-forward, oh, let’s say, 20 years. Maybe longer.
My mother had occasion to conduct some kind of massive clean-up. She was pulling everything apart and getting down to the nitty gritty, as we were wont to say back then.
And what, to her wondering eyes should appear? No, not Santa Claus and his tiny reindeer.
It’s those darn lists and “personals.”
Oh, the shame, she realized. All those years, no one had been appropriately thanked for all that stuff.
And so, dear friends who did not get a Christmas card last year, just look at it like I’ve been spared a lot of work in 2010.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.