On the cards

By David Jolley

We like our daily paper to be on paper/newsprint. Some parts hardly get a glance, others take time and may need to be revisited. Special bits are clipped out and kept at least for a while. It is the rhythm that makes the receipt, the unfolding, and the visiting of each page so attractive.

Cards at Christmas have the same virtue of currency but potential permanence, clues from handwriting, a colourful stamp and the postmark. There is the added dimension that we will be the reporter and editor of a communication toward these friends and family near and far – near and far in time as well as geography.

We do have emails and electronic cards, and some of these bring welcome entertainment and warm messages, links that go on then for a while after silence of months. But the sending and receiving of cards in envelopes – some by post, others simply delivered round the corner, is a pleasure with history. We have a system for sending which shares responsibility between Sue and me. There are some exceptions to the main routine – special care here to try to avoid missing someone – or sending twice over. Messages may be short, but every one has thought behind it – and associated feeling. In doing this we have conversation across the dining room table that relegates radio and television to some other time. This is time together with people from our earliest days – family still who shared a childhood, a few who were at junior school, more from the teens and secondary school or other activities. Then there is the series of lives lived through work, the neighbourhood, children, more schools and church.

The list of contacts, ‘individuals of interest’, continues to grow though some are lost. Some who wrote last year are not with us for this. They are remembered.

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