Papa loves mail, he checks the mailbox daily for any letters and one of the first things we hear when we get home from work is, here is your mail. He is a bit disappointed in our reaction at times as we glance through a pile of junk mail without showing the same enthusiasm he displayed when he carried it in. I won a prize! No, Dad, that says you are eligible to win a prize, they want you to order something from them. Well that doesn’t make any sense, I never heard of that. Fortunately between Papa’s birthday earlier in the month and Christmas the good mail has overshadowed the junk mail over the past few weeks. Hooray for greeting cards!
Papa is drawn to Hallmark holidays and enjoys picking out a variety of greeting cards for people. This past January Papa and I worked on a large calendar listing each month’s birthdays, anniversaries or other milestones for his close family. After the important dates were filled in on his calendar we went shopping where he ever so carefully picked out cards for his two boys and their wives; nine grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and three anniversaries. It takes time to pick out the right card. Trust me, when Papa says it takes time he means it! He reads and rereads countless cards looking for an absolute match for each relative and then starts over with the next person. Papa will sneer if you make any suggestions, is drawn to cards with cats or dogs on them, and will never buys a card that plays music. Papa even gets annoyed if other shoppers leaf through music cards while he is perusing cards in the same aisle. A card is not supposed to make noise. Whew, why don’t they have chairs in here? He proudly found 17 perfect cards and boasted that he had not duplicated one. He was exhausted, but it was a day well spent. Success!
Papa keeps his calendar hanging on the back of his door and monitors the upcoming events. As a birthday or special occasion draws near he typically pulls out one of his greeting cards and places it on the kitchen table for a couple of days as he thinks about how he will sign it. Sometimes he carries the card down to his side table and thinks about it some more as he watches TV. After several days he will more than likely he need a bit of prompting to make sure he finishes up in time to mail his letter. Yes, I will get to it today, I am thinking… While Papa has every intention of writing a longer note to each person the words often get lost between what he wants to say and the piece of paper so he eventually writes the same thing Papa loves you and asks me to help him with the address. It is endearing to watch him knowing that just saying Papa loves you truly is special and means the world to each recipient.
This is the first year Papa has had to think about Christmas Cards and he was excited to give them to each of his kids and grandkids. We discussed Christmas gifts and he had eagerly picked out a box of cards for his 14 immediate family members long before Thanksgiving with the intention of completing several cards each day and have them all signed before heading to the bank to pick up a crisp bill to enclose in each card. I heard his old standby quite a few times this month Yes, I will get to it today, I am thinking… As I mentioned, Papa loves mail and was not expecting to receive the number of birthday and Holiday cards addressed to him over the past couple of weeks so yesterday he decided he would like to mail Christmas cards to other special people in his life also. Back to Target we went to get another box of Christmas cards.
Somehow the time got away from Papa during all of his “thinking” and today as I was working on addressing our holiday cards Papa wandered upstairs and realized he better get busy too. He quickly pounded out his grandchildren’s cards when he understood he would not have to address the envelopes. As we moved on to his sibling’s cards he smirked and said, I need a secretary. I laughed and told him I’m the closest thing he’s got right now, and we got busy. Papa signed each card and I read off the addresses for him to address the envelopes. With a bit of sighing as we neared the end of his list he mentioned, Christmas is a lot of work, now do you have any stamps to put on these. I could not resist asking, Papa, how much do you think a stamp costs today? They go for $0.25, right? Ya, if only it were 1988 again…