Even though I have done so little to hold up my part in keeping alive the long tradition of sending them, I’m darn glad that greeting cards have not become another casualty — at least not yet — to the digital age.
It is so easy now to send a text or write an email, or comment on someone’s social media page and think that takes the place of a printed card that involved effort in selecting, writing on and then mailing the old-fashioned way.
While easy and nice in their own way, none of the digital stuff really replaces a card. Of that I’m now more certain than I was.
I indeed have taken for granted so many people who have been faithful to the tradition. In recent weeks I have sorted through stacks of cards we have received and kept over the years. I’ve tried to establish some order to how I intend to keep on keeping them.
There have been cards related to the losses we’ve experienced in the family, many from people whose funerals I have since attended and from which I have kept their brochures.
I shudder to think of how few such cards I have sent over those years, a failure that I at least intend to correct going forward after experiencing how it feels to read them again many years later.
And there are cards of congratulations for honors and accomplishments along the way, for birthdays, and even for no special occasion, just reminders that the senders had us in their thoughts and prayers.
There are piles of them, often from the same people who kept doing it despite the lack of reciprocation.
One such faithful birthday greeter did receive a hand-delivered birthday card from me recently. I carried it with me to central Minnesota, finally keeping a promise to visit. And what a visit it turned out to be.
Some readers will recall my references to Aunt Lois and the funny stuff she has shared with me over the years, which I then shared with you through this weekly offering. Some of those were funny enough to have been lifted by the late Paul Harvey for his national radio broadcasts after he read them in his subscriber copies of the Herald-Free Press.
Aunt Lois is now 89 and seven years back in her native state after living in the Ozarks for several years and California before that. Imagine being 82 and moving back to where temperatures dropped to as low as 56 below zero last winter. And into a new energy efficient house she managed the construction of from more than 800 miles away.
Then imagine her falling victim to a spinal issue at age 88, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down as of last Oct. 16. Specialists, one after another, reviewed her case and declared the damage as permanent. She would become a nursing home resident for the short remainder of her life, they said.
But they didn’t know the woman who from childhood on has found disfavor with being told she couldn’t do something. Can’t do that? Just stand back and watch.
She was back at home and walking before Christmas, less than two months later. About 10 months after her dismal diagnosis, she led me on tours of her magnificent house and rural lakeside property. She climbed up and down flights of stairs to her basement and second story, showing me the fruition of some of her plans and then what is to come next, all while demonstrating her prowess with new technology, including asking “Alexa” to deliver the blessing for one of the many meals Lois prepared for us.
The family’s genealogist, who began those tasks when all of it was done old-school, clearly demonstrated that she is just as adept at looking forward.
I made her another promise. For as long as both of us keep having birthdays, I’ll keep on hand-delivering birthday cards to her.
Her goal is to live beyond 100. I’ll not bet against her outlasting me.