Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Cards. 

This week I received five Thanksgiving cards.  Four are from friends to express gratitude for my friendship, and a good and clever one is from a business.  It is appropriate that Thanksgiving is a time for greeting those who man or have meant much to us, to give thanks for the association.

It is a better time than at Christmas.  Why do we send cards at Christmas, wishing friends merriness and best wishes for the New Year?

A relative told me that she never relaxed to enjoy the holidays until her cards were mailed.  She kept a record of people to whom she sent cards and recorded whether or not they returned greetings.  She was upset when her record book was filled and she could not find a replacement.  For her, sending Christmas cards was a social expectation.

A friend, looking for cards to send, said, “What image do I want to project this year?”  For her, Christmas cards were about showing her friends where she was in life that year.

I like to receive and send greetings printed on beautiful cards, with personal notes added.  Christmas has been a conventional time to do so.  Thanksgiving seems to be a more appropriate time.

I buy two kinds of cards.  I buy Christmas cards for Christian friends, and holiday cards to send to friends who are atheist, agnostic, Jewish, or Buddhist.  At Thanksgiving labels and differentiations are not needed, and Lord knows, we need less categorizing of people.

It’s also appropriate to send cards during the year for any occasion or for no particular occasion.  I have a friend who sends humorous post cards throughout the year, and they never fail to brighten or enliven a day.

I have bought my Christmas and holiday cards for the year, and I may or may not send them.  Next year, I’ll greet friends as I think of them and share the occasion by a card or note through the mail.  If Thanksgiving time seems right, I’ll center there.

Nonfiction.  James Morgan, If These Walls Had Ears (1996).  The author researches the lives of the people who lived in the house he bought at 501 Holly Street in Little Rock, Arkansas, and writes their stories.  Their lives and the changes they made in the house reflect their personal situations and trends in the culture from 1890-1992.  The stories of each of the seven families are told with interesting detail and understanding.  I first read the book in 1996.  I enjoyed the re-reading.

At Trader Joe’s in Chapel Hill. 

The parking lot is large, but traffic is heavy, and the parking spaces are not at diagonal.  People are much more careful in such lots; they have to be.  Outside the store is a stand of live plants for sale.  Across the way are the bright red shopping carts and baskets.

At the entrance there are plants and flowers and produce, both in bulk and packaged.  Against the back wall is a selection of meats.  They sell the only bacon to buy.  It’s the best.

There are several aisles of products, all crowded with shoppers and attended by young crew members.  The crew members answer questions and even ask shoppers if they need help.  One said to me, “Need help, or are you good?”  It’s good to be in the presence of high energy people.  All types of people shop here, and most are friendly and pleasant; there are few grumps.  There is lively music, but no insipid Christmas mix (at least not yet).  The products are eclectic and interesting.  The prices are good.

There are two stations for wine tasting.

At check-out the activity is brisk and friendly.  There is no choice for plastic bags; everything is bagged in paper.  Baggers do not hesitate to double-bag, and they wrap each bottle of water or wine in separate, small bags.  There are no discount cards to serve as coupons or gas discounts.  The crew at check-out are efficient and friendly.  They chat with the customer as they work.  As she handed me my bag, an attractive middle-aged woman smiled and said, “I’ll see you later.”  I will be back.

Christ the King Mass. 

The experience was heightened by the addition of a trumpeter for the music.  The choir, accompanying five RCIA candidates, process with a great hymn by Charles Wesley, “Rejoice, The Lord Is King.”  Both the procession and the hymn recalled my Methodist roots.

I loved reading and singing the bass line of the closing hymn, “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name,” eighteenth century text and music.  Eighteenth century German choral music is a joy to sing; with its logical progression of harmonies, it practically sings itself.

I am intrigued by the text of a French Carol (PICARDY) we sang during Eucharist, “You Lord, Are Both Lamb and Shepherd,” text named “Christus Paradox” by Sylvia G. Dunstan (1955-1993), with the startling appellation of God as “the everlasting instant.”  The thought is good to contemplate.

Thank you for reading.  I hope you will enjoy your Thanksgiving Day and the upcoming week.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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