Christmas Eve Letter Box
Every Christmas there is a small box wrapped in gold under Arthur’s tree. He wrapped it himself just a week before that special evening came. Arthur had lived alone for four years now. His wife passed away and they never had any children. Their love was deep and abiding. There was never any question that their love would survive the years, they just knew it was eternal.
Georgia, his beloved wife, had started a tradition the first year they were married. She saved a shoe box and put holiday stickers all over it. She called it their Christmas Eve Letter Box. Inside she saved their first Christmas cards to each other and continued the tradition for fifty-seven years till she passed away. Every card they gave to each other had a loving letter written inside. After Christmas she wrapped the box in gold foil and put it in the hall closet with all their tree decorations. Every Christmas Eve, after their special supper, the box was taken out from under the tree and all the old letters were read to each other. Then the new letter cards were exchanged between them and placed lovingly in the box.
Arthur never stopped the tradition. He would read all the letter cards then open the new one he wrote to Georgia and that, too, was placed in the box. It was a spiritual bond of love they had for each other, so even though Georgia had gone on before him, he still read the letters which filled him with love. When he closed the box and sat it back under the tree, a moment of sadness would come over him, and just for a few moments he felt lonely. Then he would go fix himself some hot chocolate and watch “Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street”.
This time, just as he sat down to get comfy, he heard a scratching at the front door. That delighted him, for he knew it would be Woof, his neighbor’s dog. The neighbor’s had moved in next door six months earlier. Arthur became acquainted with them and fell in love with their little boy and Woof. Quite often Woof would come over and scratch on the door to be let inside. Arthur always gave him a biscuit and lots of ear scratching. This time when he opened the door, Woof’s whole family was there with a plate of cookies and a gift for Arthur.
Joey and his parents looked so cheerful and happy. “Merry Christmas, Arthur,” said Lilly. There was a round of greetings and they sat down, Woof at Arthur’s feet. “We all have grown so fond of you, Arthur,” Todd said. “So, if you don’t mind, we would love to start a new tradition and spend a few hours with you on Christmas Eve.”
Arthur was thrilled. When he got up to make hot chocolate for all of them, Woof and the whole family followed him to the kitchen. When they all sat back down the talk and laughter was so enjoyable. Arthur got up, pulled his Christmas Eve letter box out from under the tree and said, “I would like to share this box of memories with you.” Lilly and Todd were so touched when they began reading all the card letters which brought out their own memories to relate to Arthur. The evening lasted a long time, they all were having so much fun talking as Joey and Woof lay on the floor watching the movie.
Thus began a new Christmas tradition for Author and his friends that lasted many years.
© 2016 Phyllis Doyle Burns
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