The solution: Buy only belated greeting cards

Friday, April 27, 2012

My aunt and grandma lived together and we went into town at least once a week to see them when I was growing up on the farm. Still, when it was my birthday, I would sit at the mailbox waiting to hear the sound of our mailman's junker-car turning the corner onto our road. I couldn't wait to get the two letters that would be addressed to me. They were my birthday cards from Grandma and Aunt Ethel, each with a pretty hanky folded inside. It was the same every year, but year after year I became excited about the mail that would be addressed to me on that day. And I was never disappointed. The cards arrived on the correct day.

One would think that would be the inspiration for me to send cards and gifts to my own grandchildren in a timely manner. It has not worked out that way. I have the best of intentions and even a mode of operation to make it happen but I seem to figure out a way to get those cards out late or without enough postage or I find one of them laying in my drawer of greeting cards, stamped but not mailed days after the fact.

I have a list of names of those for whom I need cards for each month. The middle of the month I put the list for the next month in my purse. I buy cards and then when I get home I have a special drawer for them. When I go to get them from the special drawer I often find nothing there. Then I start searching for a spot I laid them down while on my way to the special drawer. I get distracted way too easily. Just the other day I found Jacob's card heralding his 1st birthday lying on top of the books on the shelf above the special drawer. Today I received the invitation to Jacob's 2nd birthday. I can only hope I gave up looking for that one and sent something else last year.

We have one grandson who is particularly delighted by musical cards. One year the picture on the front of his card pictured a dog that looked just like his dog, Bully. When you opened it, you heard a dog barking to the tune of the song, Happy Birthday. Abram loved it. His parents hated it. But it was, after all, to amuse him, not them. This year I got him another of those cards. Granted, the music is very scratchy and shrieks rather than plays, but I knew it would please him. There was a note on the corner of the envelope saying it would take extra postage. I took a guess and stuck on an extra 25 cents worth of stamps. One month later it was back in our mailbox. The envelope was rather mutilated, but unopened, and there were inked messages plastered all over it saying more postage was needed. There was no way I could just add postage and resend it. I had to find a new envelope that fit the card and put on the correct postage. That way it cost me almost $3 to send a $5 card - and it was late besides.

I do like to shop for the cards. There are so many that say exactly what I wish I was bright enough to say without paying $5 to a card company. I bought one last week for a granddaughter who begs me to tell a story several times a day when we visit her family. Megan has never wanted just any story. She always wants me to make up a new one. Her card this year is decorated in pretty pink and gray graphics. The front of the card says: "This is a story about a wonderful granddaughter." Inside it says: "You were born. The end."

It has got to be the shortest story this grandma has ever told. Megan was on vacation with her family over her birthday this month and I didn't think to mail the card until the exact date of her birthday. That's okay this time. She wasn't home to get it anyway.