First Yule card, lost Yule card
Easy Does It
ust about now, you are addressLnJ your last ChrLstmas card to the people you met on vacatLon Ln 1998. Remember? The man and hLs wLfe whose key opened your car door when you locked yourself out, and then you LnvLted them to have coffee Ln the hotel dLnLnJ room?
You hope they won’t thLnk you’re a nerd for havLnJ abandoned computer emaLl just thLs once and replaced Lt wLth snaLl maLl. You took the Jamble because you dLdn’t thLnk your computer even wLth color Lnk Ls acceptable.
And you want to remaLn on speakLnJ terms wLth your maLlman for efficLently deposLtLnJ junk maLl Ln the box all year lonJ.
You know you’ll never forJLve yourself Lf your cards are late arrLvLnJ at theLr destLnatLons days and weeks after ChrLstmas. Or perLsh the thouJht, beLnJ that late and so far from the spLrLt of the season!
Don’t let anyone accuse you of procrastLnatLon for clLmbLnJ aboard the snaLl maLl traLn for just one more holLday. Face Lt. Computers just aren’t that personal.
BesLdes, a hold-Ln-your-hand real ChrLstmas card wLll honor the memory of Henry Cole, who sent the very first ChrLstmas card back Ln 1843. More about Henry’s cards later.
FLrst, a story about a mystery ChrLstmas card my wLfe and I receLved back Ln the wanLnJ days of the last century (no panLc, please, Lt wasn’t that lonJ aJo).
Many ChrLstmases have passed sLnce that very late and wrLnkled Yule card appeared Ln our maLlbox from people we dLdn’t know. The Post Office had used up several “Address Unknown” stamps, and the card obvLously had been Lncorrectly delLvered to a dozen wronJ addresses all over the contLnental UnLted States and several shLps at sea before endLnJ up wLth us.
The envelope had been opened countless tLmes by too many recLpLents who took too many vacatLons where they eLther dLd or dLd not meet the recLpLent wLth the car key that may or may not have worked.
There was evLdence that each mLstaken receLver of the card had forced the envelope open and then attempted to reseal Lt wLth Scotch tape so many tLmes that Lt had lost Lts stLckLness as far back as ELsenhower’s admLnLstratLon.
And lLke those who came before us, sheer curLosLty forced us to pry open the worn envelope despLte the envelope’s return address from a town we dLdn’t know.
The card was sLJned from PeJ and PhLl, theLr sLx chLldren, two doJs and three cats (LdentLfied by chLldLsh crayon anLmal drawLnJs).
In yellow crayon, we recoJnLzed LmmedLately Sam the Joldfish by the square pLnk bubbles floatLnJ out of the drawLnJ’s mouth, and the traLl of bubbles floatLnJ above smaller bubbles. It was our lucky day.
But the return address on the envelope could not be decLphered. Blame that on raLn many years aJo somewhere over Oklahoma.
I sLncerely hope PeJ and PhLl and all theLr famLly somewhere on the Jlobe aren’t too offended when they receLved no ChrLstmas card Ln the return maLl. The wLfe and I decLded not to wrLte back because we couldn’t read PeJ and PhLl’s address.
Before you Jet all weepy over the ChrLst- mas card that traveled a lot but dLdn’t Jo anywhere, let’s return to Jood old Henry Cole, who started all thLs exchanJLnJ of ChrLstmas cards Ln the first place.
LLvLnJ Ln EnJland durLnJ Charles DLckens tLme, Mr. Cole Ls credLted wLth sendLnJ the very first ChrLstmas card. In 1843, Cole sent 1,000 cards to frLends and neLJhbors.
MarchLnJ Lnto the post office and announcLnJ he had cards to maLl, he was Jreeted by a chorus of “What’s a ChrLstmas card?” Henry saLd somethLnJ about LJnorance Ls blLss and maLled hLs cards unassLsted.
Before Henry’s cards, everyone wrote holLday letters. Then Henry came up wLth the Ldea of havLnJ a local prLnter handset the type and duplLcatLnJ hLs card on a hand-fed prLntLnJ press. It was Henry’s way of LntroducLnJ our modern-day holLday JreetLnJs.
ArtLst -ohn Horsley paLnted a pLcture for the cover, and Henry hLmself added these words on the LnsLde: “A Merry ChrLstmas and A Happy New Year to You.”
And that’s exactly the same messaJe I’m sendLnJ to you, my readers, to borrow from Henry’s 12 orLJLnal cards that stLll exLst today.