Take time to read your holiday cards

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Now is the time to gather up all the beautiful, humorous, thoughtful, pictorial, etc. etc. greeting cards you’ve received since the holiday season began.

Put them in a neat pile, pour a cup of coffee, select a few of the yummy cookies you’ve been given, and look at each card and read each note.

Marvel

Marvel at the enclosed photographs — how could your former classmate have five — yes, five — great-grandchildren! — and remember when that fellow with the very expanded waistline was your football hero with nary an ounce of fat anywhere.

The cards come so thick and fast that we don’t really have a chance to enjoy them at the moment. We worry we didn’t send a card to this or that person and hurry to get one in the mail.

And we worry when we don’t receive a card from someone — has something happened to them, did one of them pass on? — and unfortunately sometimes that is the case.

A longtime friend enclosed the notice about her husband’s passing in August, noting, “we had 67 years together and I miss him terribly.”

Send your cards

While we’re at it, did you lose the address of a place that will be happy to have those cards after you remove names, personal greetings, etc.? Here it is again: St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, 100 St. Jude St., Boulder City, NV 89005-1681.

I think that’s a much better way to recycle them rather than the Green Team’s recommendation they be thrown into the recycling bin.

Considerable trouble and expense went into them and they are so welcome — much more so than an e-mail or one of the other electronic greetings.

And now is also the time to begin putting away all the “stuff” you dragged out for Christmas decorations. You wonder whatever possessed you to cover every horizontal surface with something Christmasy and hang something Christmasy from every vertical surface.

Restrained myself

Well, guess what: this year I restrained myself, thanks not to willpower but to Bingo, my fun, scatterbrained kitty who can’t resist opening doors, opening drawers, climbing anything higher than she is, racing through the house 90 miles an hour and inspecting anything new.

So this year, for the first time in memory, I did not put up a Christmas tree. I did not get out the little house and barn and farm animals that have been a part of my Christmas since childhood.

Bingo would have pulverized them — she weighs 15 pounds — and I cringe at the thought of what she would have done to my antique and beloved tree ornaments, some of which were my father’s when he was a child.

I should note that a sweet artificial tree Judy let me borrow a few years ago when I was ill and couldn’t do the real thing was placed in the usual place — and Bingo immediately investigated it and lay down beside it. See what I mean?

The good side to this restraint is that it won’t take very long to put Christmas away for next year. I did decorate the mantle with the little red sleigh (my mother had made from cardboard during the Depression years) and reindeer and Santa Claus that has always been a part of my Christmas.

Winnie’s dog license

I sent for Winnie’s dog license today, so she’ll be legal for another year. And opening an old silver cigarette box I had put under the tree for some “shine,” I found within a 1960 dog license.

Searching my memory for which Dalmatian that might have been, I got lost in the past and recalled the names of all of them since 1948 and from where they came and when and why they left.

I should say that Winnie is the embodiment of each and every one of them, having all their good traits and none of their bad ones.

One exception

With one exception: when Maggie and later Ori and Sister went for obedience lessons, they went to Vernon Blazek, and we have kept in touch ever since.

The first time Vern and Shirley came to call after I got Winnie — she hadn’t been here very long — I was humiliated because she growled at them all the time they were here and barked when she wasn’t growling. How awful.

They came to visit last evening, and I was sure Winnie’s behavior would be exemplary as she loves everyone who visits and is almost too glad to see them, so she’s terribly spoiled.

Guess what? It was deja vu. She never stopped growling, never stopped barking and was completely obnoxious. My dear, sweet, lovable Winnie had disappeared, and after the company had left both Winnie and I were exhausted. Can you imagine how embarrassed I was?

Happy New Year

Anyhow, in the afterglow of Christmas, I wish you the best of new years and let us all pray the world will regain its sanity — but don’t bet the farm. Happy New Year to all of you from all of us.

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

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