zaterdag 12 december 2015

An Empty Gesture?


This year we decided not to send Christmas cards to anyone.
More and more people send their best wishes for a nice Christmas and an even nicer New Year on social media or mention them in a mail.
So no more need to sit together at the table and write the cards out. "How many left to do now?" Pfff.

Every year we would count the cards and there was always less than what we've sent out. What to do? Check lists? A bit like "Who unfollowed me on Twitter?" We never could be bothered to do that. If I'm honest it was more annoying to see people sending the same cards as they did in previous years, realising they probably bought them in bulk at Aldi's or Primark. Some cards would be too tiny or too ugly to hang them on the string. It always led to the discussion that we maybe should not send these people a card any more. In the end nobody would be erased from the list and on the contrary even more would be added, us being in a shame because we were certain we never had sent these people a card.

This morning a car stopped in front of our house and a woman got out. A man, maybe her partner, waited behind the wheel while she walked up to the front door. We waited for the doorbell; it never rang. The woman had gone back to the car and they had driven off.

The card was addressed to Alice and Ken. We know the names, they are the old couple who lived here till around Christmas last year. They were both in their nineties, she was seriously ill and he was her carer. That became impossible after a light stroke that struck him caused him to lose the feeling in his fingertips. The children of the couple decided they were better off living in a nursing home. The old lady died a few months later.

The sender of the card mentioned on the card was just Violet. It was obvious that this Violet never made the effort to visit the old couple in the last year and never tried to phone them. If she had done so, she would not have delivered the card in person. I think it is a bit strange to just put this card in the letter box; she could have tried to visit, but could not be bothered to do such.

The card was a Christmas card on which was added "a happy new year".
Why oh why did you decide to write and deliver this card Violet?
I'm afraid we'll never know.

One year later

A car stops in front of our house and a lady gets out, holding an envelope in her hands. She walks towards our front door and my wife gets to the door, asks her who she wants to give this envelope.
"To my friends Alice and Ken", she answers, "I live around the corner". She points in the direction.

My wife tells her the couple moved two years ago to Kent and that Alice died half a year later.
The lady thanks my wife and takes the envelope back into the car. It takes a few minutes before she drives away.

Maybe we will not get another Christmas card for Alice and Ken...
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