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MARILYN HAGERTY: Christmas cards keep connections across miles

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Dear Ron Oltmanns,

The mailboxes around Grand Forks are full of incoming and outgoing Christmas cards. I think those people who declare national days and weeks should name this National Christmas Card Week. Or Holiday Greetings Week. Whatever.

I got your card on my computer. Thank you. I know you have many friends in Grand Forks from the years you taught here and sang in choirs. Now you live in Las Vegas and do some singing around there.

Cards on the computer are nice. The ones I like best come in envelopes with handwritten notes. Or they bring pictures of their family members in 2016. I post those cards on the mirror in the living room and look at them a long time.

Well, maybe through January.

Among the cards that have floated in is one from Sandy Mason. She and Earl moved to Tucson this year. Now outside their windows they see no snow. Instead they look for quail, cardinal and hummingbird families.

Stuart McDonald is retired and living happily in Loveland, Colo. Rick and Geri Ouradnik are still in Billings, Mont.

Marilyn and Derek Alexander are waiting for Santa in Winnipeg. And waiting for Boxing Day up there. That’s the day after Christmas!

If there was a prize -- maybe a box of chippers from Widman’s -- it should go to Tom and Jackie Saddler. Their Christmas greeting is the first to arrive each year in my mailbox.

To me, the greeting cards are much of the magic of Christmas. I was reading a story in the Wall Street Journal about the birth of the Christmas card in England in 1843. And the first commercial Christmas cards were printed in Boston in 1875.

As I sit at a table covered with notes, envelopes and stamps I talk to myself, Ron. I tell myself not to despair. Those cards reap returns from people near and far.

This is the time of year when I feel sorry for the letter carriers. I know the cards must be a burden. But they are a blessed burden. Before you know it, they will in January be bringing the bills piling up in December.

Well, life is full of its joys and sorrows, Ron. I am hoping the joys outweigh the sorrows.

Your friend, Marilyn