When your family and friends gather around this Thanksgiving and Christmas, give a gift that is priceless and cannot be bought in any store: time spent with the loneliest person in the room. That’s usually the elderly, but it could be anyone.
Because when the tree has been taken down and the decorations are put away, the shine is off of the presents and you’ve forgotten what you got and what you gave, the gift of your time and attention will still be a warm memory to the recipient.
by Eugene Field
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,–
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,”
The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,–
Never afraid are we!”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam,–
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home:
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea;
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:–
These pages are from the Basic Reader “Fun with Dick and Jane”, by William S. Gray and May Hill Arbuthnot. Illustrated by Eleanor Campbell and Keith Ward. Scott, Foresman and Company, 1946.
So long since I last posted, but my husband has been very ill and my time has been taken up with those issues. He’s home from the hospital now and on the mend, so I plan to post a little more regularly.
Every day when we open the mailbox, don’t we all hope to see an envelope with our name handwritten on the front?
I hope for it every time, but the actual occurrence is rare now that my mother is in heaven.
For many years, my mother wrote me a letter every Monday. At least that’s the day she mailed it; it always arrived here on Wednesday.
Mama was a letter writer. She stayed in contact with her lifelong friends and relatives chiefly by correspondence. Long distance phone calls were usually reserved for my siblings and me. For most of her life, long distance phone calls were a rarity, and were charged to one’s bill in 3 minute increments; veritable luxuries.
Until I was an adult, all calls except local ones were placed through an operator; either person-to-person (the most expensive type but the only way you were guaranteed that you wouldn’t be charged if your intended recipient wasn’t home) or station-to-station. The only times long distance calls were placed or received from our house was when there was important news (usually a death) or an impending visit. I remember one costing $2.47. Converting 1963 dollars to current values, that would be somewhere around $15.00. Even in these freewheeling days, I don’t make $15 phone calls.
We lived in the same city as my parents during the first year of our marriage, so of course, she didn’t send letters then, but I received many in the ensuing years, when we were farther apart.
I don’t know at what point I began saving them, but I’m glad I did, because just seeing one of those familiar envelopes in her handwriting makes me feel good. She had lovely penmanship and wrote chatty, friendly little missives even after macular degeneration made it difficult to write on the unlined paper she preferred.
My mother had many, many admirable qualities. One was taking the time to give of herself and making sure that a loved one had something personal in with their delivered mail.
Because isn’t that what a letter is?
A gift of our time.
Today I hope to make Christmas cookies and get the house tidied for some of the family to come for our traditional Christmas gathering tomorrow. (I say ‘some of the family’ because we won’t all be here. Sadly, I misread the visitation schedule and we had to return our grandsons to our ex-daughter-in-law on Monday. Never mind that she had them last Christmas and the last 2 Thanksgivings.)