It’s Christmas card time. I got that funny feeling in my stomach when I received the first one November 19th. What are they, sick? Trying to make me feel bad perhaps? I know there is still time, and I should be prepared, but these past few years I just haven’t gotten around to sending many out. Am I busy? Sure, but no more than most I know, and they all manage to get their cards out. When I lived in Ontario my job included many “critical” teleconferences. If the call was long and boring I would break the Christmas card box out of my drawer and work my way down the list. I always sent my cards out early, everyone got a personal greeting and I was never rushed. My life has changed since returning to Newfoundland and whenever I am on the phone now I either am writing notes, folding laundry or cooking supper. (Thank God for cordless phones.)Two years ago I began a nasty practice. I sent cards out only as I received them. One in, one out. The bad thing is that there are others out there who do the same, and because I didn’t send one, I didn’t get one back. There are also those (you know who you are) who mail their greetings just in time, so you get them the last mail day before the holidays. They received our card back in January. I tried to convince my mother to add "& the Ghents,” to the end of her card salutations, but she scowled and gave me "the look."So, this year I will be creative. I have a forum to reach the masses, do I not? So, if you live in the province, and you know me, keep reading because this is your Christmas card. If you don’t know me, you can still keep reading and be thankful I’m not on your card list. If this doesn’t shame you into finishing your own cards and getting them mailed, nothing will.Dear (insert your name here)The holiday’s are just around the corner and I’m writing you to wish you and your family (if you don’t have a family, just stop at “you”) the best for the season and the New Year to come. I hope 2006 was good to you and yours. (If you had any tragedy that I know about, please insert condolences here. If you had any monumental successes or any new additions to your family then please add your own version of what I might say at this point to make you feel that I care.)We had a great year here in Harbour Mille. Dad and I are still partners in the shop, though he punches in more time that I do. When I work I’m lucky I remember how to cut the cheese, but dad is an expert. Dad’s health has improved overall. He feels sick when he wants time off, and I usually concede and give him a few hours to nap or see a doctor. I tried going on his behalf. I do, after all, know his symptoms since he whines about them so much. It didn’t work. Doctors apparently need to have a look at the “baddies” to fix them. Oh well, I tried to save him a trip. Mom and Dad got a new dog. A “Shi Tzu.” This dog has created quite a stir. They spent more on P.J. than they did on my wedding and education combined, and the beast isn’t even a pure breed. A drawn out battle resulted in them getting half their money back, which is a good thing because I guarantee the cost of braces for this mutt will cost me my inheritance. He has queer looking teeth, but they do work because he has eaten two pairs of my sneakers and has bitten my arse on more than one occasion.Mom is doing great. She loves to travel and has been around a bit this year. Mom, Kim, Reneta, Kelly and I took off for a week in Nashville in June. No kids, no spouses, just honky tonks, touring, wine and laughter. I got hit by a car while there, but the good news is Kim and I did get away from those muggers. I wasn’t hurt, physically anyway. This years plan is for “the girls” to visit Bob Barker and “come on down,” though the jury is still out on if we can “come on up” with the cash. Mom spent some time with Roo and visited her kids. Kelly was down for a week and we met her new man. We tried to have something bad to say about him, but the only thing we could come up with is that he is frugal with money. Kelly’s ex-husband was generous and would buy us sisters rounds. We shall miss her ex, but Tim, welcome to the family. You seem like a great guy and Kelly has never been happier.Kim and family are great. Tracy still does all the shopping. If you see him at Wal Mart or Dominion, say hello. Reneta’s husband, Mr. Elixir, is doing well. We aren’t sure what concoction he is taking at the moment, but he is even you-know-what while doing dishes, so keep “up” the good work Don. Mike has started a new job, has a girlfriend we all like and has lost weight, though I’m sure you’ll still recognize him.From what I hear, the Ghent side of our clan are fine. My in-laws are still the out-laws, but I can’t elaborate because my darling husband will string me up with the Christmas lights. (Love you guys, save me some turkey.)Speaking of my beloved, Blair and I had an interesting year. Yes, we were separated, and I don’t just mean because he was working in Alberta. We thought we were a done deal after 16 years of marriage, but we found something worth saving (no, not just money for lawyers) and are actually like a couple of newly weds. Must be something in the water and I'm liking it. He has changed, I have changed, and we both like the new “we’s.” Wish us a happily ever after.Brody is doing great. He earned his purple belt in karate. He has dabbled in piano and guitar lessons and loves to sing. He is doing well in school, adores life in outport Newfoundland and is thrilled his dad is home from Alberta for Christmas.I’m well, thanks for asking. I’m busy with the store, my writing and school. I’m the provincial council rep and one of the regional rep’s on the Rural Secretariate and do my part for the community whenever I can. I taught the confirmation class and proudly saw my group of 7 take their first communion. I started doing promotional work for Dynamic Air Shelters, a Calgary based company, and am thrilled to be involved with the corporate world again. I did some travel around the island, I met some amazing new friends (insert your name here if it applies) and I have enjoyed absolutely every day since returning home.I hope this letter finds things well with you there in (insert place name here) and please know how honored I am to consider you a friend (or relative, or co-worker, or whatever you happen to be) this Christmas season.
All the best,Pam, Blair, Brody and Jack (the dog)
P.S. if you are mailing a card to someone I know (or even might know) who happens to live outside Newfoundland, just cut this out once you are finished reading and mail it to them, with love, from me. It will save me the hassle, and the stamp.
God bless, and Merry Christmas.