Opinion

Christmas cards a font of wisdom, triviality

It’s time to take the Christmas cards down and sort out the ones you want to keep, like family pictures, etc.

I used to put all the cards we got into scrapbooks, which are interesting to look at today because of the way cards have changed.

I have in them, by the way, all the cards sent by the late U.S. Sen. Warren G. Magnuson, which featured his paintings.

His last card, I believe, was of the U.S. seal because he was president of the Senate.

Some cards were homemade, but the practice of newsletters with a rundown of the sender’s activities for the previous 11 months wasn’t common years back.

Now I get 15 or 20 every year. Especially if they had something to write about, which I don’t mind, considering the high point of my year was discovering on Nov. 30 that I had failed to pay the property taxes on my house.

It cost me $490 in interest and a fine.

Here’s a sample of some Christmas news from 2007, each from separate individuals.

“Our first trip was a 30-day voyage on the famous ocean liner Queen Elizabeth II. The trip began in Los Angeles and ended in Sydney, Australia. We stopped at Oahu, French Polynesia, Kingdom of Tona, Fiji Islands and ports in New Zealand and Australia.”

“Last July we went as a family to Germany. We traveled in three separate flights since we didn’t want to cross the Atlantic in one plane. The eight of us went to Trier (capital of the Holy Roman Empire in the 11th century), then on up the Mosel between 70-degree sloped vineyards where they use rappelling ropes to harvest.”

“To commemorate his 80th birthday, we went on a tour of central Europe with friends. The trip was a surprise so he didn’t know until he was on the trip that he was going to Prague, Krakow, Budapest and Vienna.”

“We spent a couple of weeks in Scotland in September. I played the Old Course at St. Andrews and didn’t feel too disappointed to shoot 104. It started off by leaving our passports on my dresser when we went to the airport, resulting in a pell mell $72 cab ride to race home and get them, but at least we did catch the plane. Heading home, we got to the crime center of the universe, Newark, N.J., and someone had already stolen our luggage, which has not been returned nor have we been compensated yet.”

“The end of July we drove to Tahsis, B.C., on the northwest end of Vancouver Island. There we stayed with good friends and went salmon fishing, catching a 34-pounder and a 28-pounder. We went home with over 100 pounds of salmon.”

The one thing these people have in common, other than being well off enough to travel, is that they are in the Over the Hill Gang. One couple who is really loaded and traveled all over the world every year had to concede in their card this year that age has caught up with them, and they ventured no farther that Seattle this year. Twice.

I’ve never done the newsletter bit because I can’t match the adventures of my friends.

Adventure to me these days is hoping that when I go down to the road for the newspapers in the morning I don’t run into the bear with the cub that has visited my house a few times.

Or that I catch the dog before she pees on the rug or the cat before she claws any more stuffing out of my best overstuffed chair in the living room.

Or that the oven doesn’t catch fire again because I haven’t cleaned it. Or that I finally catch the rat in the garage so I don’t have to hang my boxes of cornflakes from the ceiling in bags.

Or that I find my new eyeglasses and spare car keys, both of which disappeared in early December.

Adventure, like beauty, is in the eyes and mind of the beholder. Behold an adventurer.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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