I am surrounded by small mounds of Christmas cards.
Oh, someone shoot me. Shoot me now. I’ve sprained my brain. I’ve forgotten the word for that thing, that thing on your pants, at the waistline? The loop, the one that you run a belt through? What was that word again? Forty-five cards into the address book, my once-nimble, slightly moist brain is now the consistency of lumpy pancake batter.
My once-pink, slightly dimpled right hand is now a crabbed shadow of its former self.
Maybe there’s a pill. Surely there is something wrong with someone who writes out this many cards. Why do I do it?
Ha! I know why I do it.
I do it for the colored envelope.
I do love to see those colored envelopes in the mail.
Cards, envelopes, address books, stamps, address labels: from my perch on the couch – also, at this time, now accurately referred to as a “slouch” – I am an island of red and green.
They go out tomorrow.
Chez Pearl, we have three Christmas cards. We tape them up, the cards we receive, to the doorways. So far: a Santa, a Redlin, and a frosted winter wonderland shedding twinkly little bits absolutely everywhere.
My face will be sprinkled with tiny, stubborn patches of glitter until January.
Where I’m from, the cards are meant to be hung. But what does one do with the letters? Should we tape them up as well? A friend recently shared with me a letter she had received from an elderly relative. “I am always so impressed with your life, my dear. So busy! I never know where you are from one week to another. Of course, since that botched operation, one week is just as painful as the last. Oh, well, at least I won’t be around that much longer.”
“Would you believe,” she says to me, “that I’ve been getting variations of this letter since I was six?”
Cards will never challenge you like that. I feel perfectly within seasonal guidelines, in just writing “Merry-Merry!” or “You know it, baby!” It’s understood, I think, that if you’ve done, say, 45 cards in the last two hours, a mere signature is as good as a hug.
And so I do it. I do it every year. I do it because that’s how I grew up, it’s what I want to see, it’s Americana, and I’m doing my best to represent.
I do it for the children.
Now if you will excuse me, I’m going back to my cards, back to the marathon-like watching of “What Not to Wear”.
The end of the alphabet is in sight.