'Tis the season

Thirty percent off coupon in my purse, I was on my way to the department store when my phone rang through the car speakers. The display announced Dad Dad, his first and last names—haha!

“Hi Dad!” I answered.

“Hi Gail.”

“What’s up?” I asked. Whenever I ask How are you? he replies, Still sucking air.
Haha! :)

“I’m calling to wish youse a Merry Christmas.” Youse is plural for you in Northern Wisconsin. “I’m not sending cards this year—too much hassle just for an impersonal wish. Instead I’m calling everyone in my book. That way we get a little conversation.” My dad rarely wrote a personal message beyond Love, Dad. He and I are on a first name basis.

“Well thanks Dad! Merry Christmas to you, too! I’m pretty sure we’ll see each other before the holiday, right?”

“Yeah…I don’t know what our plans are yet. We’re going to Jean’s daughter’s on the 21st.”

“You know, I was thinking that less people are mailing cards these days…or, maybe we’ve been eliminated from some people’s lists because we haven’t sent a cards for a couple of years now. How many people are in your book?”

“Oh, about 150 or so, but some of them are—oh, the car dealership and doctors—places I won’t call.”

“Am I your first call?” I asked with a smile.

“No…I talked to several others already. You’re near the end of the Bs. I already called all of the As, and I got a lot of machines—didn’t reach any of your nieces directly.”

“That’s too bad. I hope they call you back…”

I do enjoy receiving Christmas cards and feel a little guilty about not sending any.
If you’ve dropped me from your list, I understand.
No hard feelings.

I appreciate my eighty-three year old father’s choice to reach out and touch instead.
Is there accumulated wisdom in that choice?

Why did I stop sending cards?
I didn’t like that the card’s focus was on my family…was our photo good enough?
Did I incorporate a pithy caption?
Why was I sending cards to people I saw on a daily or weekly basis?
Where was the connection in this seasonal mass mailing?

One of the cards we received this year was made by a company called {simplytoimpress}.

What does that signify?
To sender and receiver?
To you?

To send or not to send?
I took a break to sort that out for myself.

Yesterday I went to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
In an email to a friend this morning I said, “Fred Rogers was intentional, lived in the moment, listened attentively, gave, loved, and impacted many lives for the better.”
The movie tells the story of a reporter who interviewed Fred Rogers intending to find a false persona.
Instead, he found himself.