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Got a good reason For taking the easy way out

Thursday, December 25th, 2008
2:50 PM

We had a very nice, peaceful Christmas so far. I haven't been online for nearly two days now with the automatic posting feature, and I missed 'chatting and visiting' with y'all. Two days ago, I got word that my aunt Marjorie had passed away. She was the last relative from my mother's side of the family of their generation. Marjorie had been a widow for many years [my mom's brother], after Arlo died of cancer....when I was a very young adult. Right now, I can't even remember if Irene was born at the time of his death or not. But, you can see just how long Marjorie outlived her husband....Irene will be 40 in April of 2009. We won't be going to the funeral as we don't like to drive long distances any more, and the town she will be buried in, is having blizzard-like conditions. Bud and I sent flowers.

In other news, we exchanged gifts early this morning. As always not much. I bought Bud some new sweat suits, a DVD of "Victory at Sea" ---a 26 hour program ---or maybe it's 13 hours...dunno...but the program on TV years ago [and a favorite of his] was 26 episodes. Santa left in his stocking a new pocket knife. Bud was stupid not thinking when we attended the Obama Rally back in February and was carrying his knife, naturally, they made him either leave the premises or throw it in the trash....he threw it away. Santa knew it broke his heart, so left him one today. Bud gave me the new "The Dark Knight" dvd, a resin wood-carved-looking Santa for my collection, a Road Sign that I love...with the Wicked Witch from Wizard of Oz...and for the stocking stuffer Santa left me a new figurine of Scarlet O'Hara in her BBQ dress!!!

I've also received some gifts in the mail from blogger friends...Mary sent Bud and me a package of goodies!!! Loaded with fun things!!! [I got the biggest kick out of the Snowman Poop!!!!] Denise sent me a card with a beautiful red cross bookmark, and Lisa sent me...all the way from Denmark, some Danish traditional decorations!

I'm dredding tomorrow tho, I'll be absent online again probably for the next couple of days. It's now time to begin packing away all the Santas and getting the house back to 'normal'. It's becoming a chore. But still, I WILL enjoy decorating as long as I'm able bodied!!

- - -

I am compelled to share this's beautiful and what Christmas other words can I say:

    The Simple White Envelope

    It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

    It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas --oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

    Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth.. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.

    Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.

    These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

    Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

    Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, 'I wish just one of them could have won,' he said. 'They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.' Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.

    That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition --one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

    As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknown to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's giving spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

- - -

for you....I give just a little card graphic to all who celebrate the season!
May today find you and your loved ones in the arms and spirit of happiness and joy!!!

One, and ALL!!!

love, Hootin' Anni, Bud and the kitties!!!


  1. ~Merry Christmas Anni!

    Sounds like a good one for you all!

    LOVED "The Dark Knight" as well!

    Warmly, Melissa ;)

  2. Merry Christmas sweetie, love your new blog header.

  3. Just stopping by to wish you a Merry Christmas!

    Jan & Tom

  4. Loved the "White Envelope" piece, Anni ... what an inspiration to us all!

  5. Hi Anni... Wishing your family the bestest Christmas ever... We have a fun filled day with our family... Gald to hear that you like the Dark Night... I would love to see that one too...


  6. Touching story - Mike and his lady knew the real meaning of Christ's birth and taught it well to their children. Thanks for sharing the story. And Happly New year!

  7. aaah, your day sounds good to me. and i share your sentiments of some normality again. but, time will take care of that all by itself, right? lots of love to you!

  8. Hi Hootin'Anni,

    Sounds like you had a lovely, peaceful Christmas. The Simple White Envelop was a sweet story.

    I hope the new year brings many blessings your way. Happy New Year !



  9. I love the mice! I adore the Scarlet O'hara! So pretty! Tell my hubby where to get one! lol
    Happy New Year!

  10. Merry just a little after Christmas!

  11. Sound like Santa was good to you.
    I don't what it is but guys just love pocket knifes.
    I know one Christmas I think every teenage boy got one.

    I'm sorry to hear about your Aunt that passed on. My heart and prayers go to you and your family.

    Coffee is on.

  12. Anonymous12/26/2008

    Loved the White Envelope story. It made my eyes water.

    Your giving, loving nature continues to amaze me!!

  13. Sorry to learn of the death of your aunt. Lovely story about the White Envelope ... thanks for sharing. Nifty new header too. Glad you had a good Christmas and thanks for the Christmas Card graphic.
    Hugs and blessings,

  14. I got the White Envelope story again this week and just love it. I googled it and learned that it is really true, and that the writer died a couple of years after her husband. Very touching story.

    We had a great time with the large family gathering, but I'm tired. I need to start putting stuff away, too. I like that uncluttered feeling, but I love the decorations, too.

    I hope to get a post written before we head for Estes Park.