Tuesday, December 8, 2015

If a greeting card could speak

It is 33 years old this year.

When I bought it in 1982, Hallmark charged 75 cents for it. Today it costs nearly four dollars.
There's nothing that noteworthy about the card... a guy with a Santa hat and red bowtie in red elf slippers with bells on them... flinging his arms open wide, saying, "Merry Christmas to a really wonderful, witty, charming, intellligent person!"

Inside, it reads, "Save this card! You can send it to me next Christmas!"

I sent it, way back then, to Michael DeNardo, a young Temple student whom I'd followed during his years at Edgewood Regional High in Winslow. Mike was studying to become a radio broadcaster, which he did most successfully. His voice still can be heard on KYW news radio.

In 1983, much to my surprise, the card reappeared, returned by Mike as a typical joke.
I saved it, and sent it back to him in 1984.

Each year, as it traversed from wherever I was living to wherever Mike was, we appended a one-line comment by way of greeting.

Gradually, we ran out of space inside the card (even writing sideways one year).
So we graduated to the back from 2004 to 2012.
That being filled by then, the following year, Mike inserted a plain white piece of card stock with the words, "This should carry us for a few more decades!"

Today, December 8, 2015, the card arrived again. It was Mike's turn this year and he did not disappoint. He said, "Our card endures. It'll be eligible for Social Security soon!"

The last time I saw him in person was at my 60th birthday party, 14 years ago. He looked like the teenage Mike I remembered and his infectious laugh hadn't faded.

But whether we are able to meet or whether our only contact is the Christmas card, we know our friendship has given us a wonderful tradition.

When the inevitable Christmas sadness settles on my heart at the absence of so many people I've loved and lost, I can look at the card Mike sends and get a boost of joy.

Little blessings mean so much and Mike is always there to provide one of my favorites.


At December 8, 2015 at 5:11 PM , Blogger mstaton51 said...

Wonderful tradition you and Mike keep going. Sadly, I haven't sent Christmas cards in years. I do have a subscription to Hallmark's email card branch, and have been sending animated cards for relatives' birthdays, etc.

At December 8, 2015 at 6:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, ?Mike. I love this tradition and the more Christmases I experience, the more it means to me. I enjoyed your Christmas stories... they remind me of my own life and experiences. Happy Christmas to you and your family!

At December 9, 2015 at 5:26 AM , Blogger Linda Berrier said...

What a beautiful tradition! Thanks for sharing.

At December 9, 2015 at 6:19 AM , Blogger Dorothy Bodoin said...

It's wonderful to have a tradition like this and a long time friend. I keep every birthday and Christmas card I've ever received. It's heartwarming to read messages from friends and relatives long gone.

At December 9, 2015 at 8:12 AM , Blogger Jeanne Smith said...

I will be posting again on Monday, the birthday of my oldest friend (just chronologically, not really older!). I agree, Dorothy, friends are the mainstays of life. Don't know what I would do without my buds from way back, although there are fewer of them still with me than I would like. I don't have a house big enough to store all the cards I've gotten over my 74 years, but I do have special ones from my mom and dad and departed friends that I cherish.


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