January is more than half over now, and the weather here seems to have been a preview of what’s coming. So far we have had snowed-in days, rainy days, windy days, and balmy days going rapidly from one condition to the next.
Just now I returned from jumping into the car to take a letter down the lane to the mailbox. Our previously frozen lake is half clear but the other half still has white patches of ice floating on it. The outside temp was 46, and I was grateful I’d worn a warm jacket. More days than not this month, I have gone without my coat when driving because I did not need it even outside when I went from the car into Katherine’s house or into the grocery. I carried a coat in the car in the passenger’s seat in case it turned colder before I left and I had an accident driving home. (I used to urge my daughters to carry a blanket in their car in cold weather in case of an accident—and, of course, to call me when they made it home safely to their apartments. They would apologize when I woke them up later for forgetting to call, and I doubt they carried the blanket. Ha. ) Except for the snowed-in days when the school buses did not run and I conscientiously stayed home, I have been grateful for our spring-like weather because I knew what much of the nation was going through.
Yet just last evening when I went to town early to complete some late afternoon errands before going to Katherine’s, it was snowing hard during the brief period that I was going in and out of the post office, the bank, the gas station, and the grocery store. The car told me the outside temperature was 21 and I believed it when the biting wind chilled me quickly. I realized I had yet to look up warm gloves and a hat from the hall closet. So I better remember to put them in the car with the coat.
Finally this week I got the downstairs tree put away for next Christmas, and those ornaments boxed up. I think this is the latest I have ever been completely de-decorating, and I put out fewer things than in previous years. So I guess that was a good decision, but I missed some of the lovely decorative items that I only see once a year.
The post master smiled yesterday when I bought a roll of the Forever stamps (before the price goes up) and I told him they were for my Christmas cards. I mailed the last of the ones I plan to send this year—but I still have a short list of people I want to drop a note to. Because of a time crunch, I really did not think I’d send cards, but as they came in from friends and loved ones, I realized anew how much that yearly contact meant. I loved reading the notes and letters and thinking about the people from the past who are now so far away from our present lives. Cards have always been one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I wanted to respond and keep in touch, so on the afternoon of December 24, I started writing cards to my siblings and to those on the list of addresses I have for Gerald’s family. A week or so later I began writing the Martins (my family), and finally recently began trying to complete cards on what I have labeled “Far Away Friends List.” I did not quite finish that, and those are the names on my to-do note list. I sent almost no local cards this year although many local friends I seldom see anymore—and they too are still dear to me, and I so appreciated the local cards we received. This week I loved it that we received two more cards—both from young folks that I desire to keep up with. Now I have to make sure I have those new addresses recorded for next year. Late cards allow me to savor them more since the Christmas rush is past. I hope those receiving my late cards next week feel that way too.
I also ordered two belated Christmas gifts this week, so as I told someone, I am ready for Christmas now that January is well on its way to being over.