When I wrote my annual letter to Santa Claus for the previous edition of the newspaper, I forgot to ask him to bring my six regular readers a rainbow or two — or something equally spectacular — during the next year. I always think they deserve special consideration for sticking with me week after week, and I try to make a request on their behalf. I hope Santa took care of that on his own, and I send my apologies for forgetting to include them.
I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. We had fun at our house. For a number of years we have enjoyed exchanging unusual, useless, and tacky gifts with one another. We do try to mix them with appropriate offerings so that if friends or co-workers should ask about our holiday, we can provide a suitable answer.
However, the Daughters, What’s His Name, and The New Guy are good sports when it comes to getting stuffed chickens, vintage clothing, tin signs, yard-long pictures of people they do not know, architectural salvage, really ugly souvenir items, and other wonders not available in any mall or big box store. During the past decade or so, they have become expert yearlong shoppers themselves, and they ratchet up their creative shopping every year.
One of the high points this year was my honest request for a couple of large stainless steel serving spoons. The Married Daughter hustled off to a kitchen store, made the purchase, and promptly forgot the request was mine. Come Christmas morning, the package was addressed to the Youngest Daughter. And will I be the recipient anyway? No, she wants to keep them, and so she will. I rest my case!
However, the Youngest Daughter just might get off scot-free because she found me my very own street sign — Susan Avenue. How about that? And it is an honest-to-goodness street sign, not one of those pretend signs that just anyone can order in some mall or gift catalog! I bet that probably makes me one up on just about everyone in the country in the gift recipient category. Do you think anyone else made such a score? She bought it at an antique shop on some rural highway in Arkansas when we all went south to a family farm meeting in October. Wow — what are the chances?
I will admit to being a bit confused about just where to put it. I think I have probably outgrown the desire to have such an oddball item on my fireplace mantle. Perhaps it would be suitable on the wall in the kitchen or maybe at the newspaper office. I thought about installing it on a pole at the end of my driveway, but I expect there is a city ordinance of some kind against such behavior. I will have to ponder this one for a while.
At any rate, not only did we embrace the holiday traditions, we enjoyed our memories and each other. I hope all of you did as well.
— Susan Marshall