Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)
TITLE: Standing Reservations
By Catrina Bradley
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Each December, she and Adam participated in the ritual exchange of greetings, and by Christmas day, cards bearing scenes of winter’s wonders and declaring season’s greetings would fill the long narrow space.
Her friend Jenn actually started the interchange on the day before Thanksgiving. Even if Terry & Jenn’s card wasn’t the first they received, Rebecca and Adam knew it would be the one bearing Santa astride a motorcycle.
Motorcycle Santa’s status as first received granted him a site at the forefront of the shelf, just as Terry & Jenn themselves owned a prominent spot in her heart. The two couples had met years ago, and, in the youth of their friendship, had spent acres of time laughing, crying, or just hanging out. Now they managed to get together only a handful of times a year, but Rebecca knew she could count on their Christmas card.
Coming in on Santa’s exhaust would be a silly kitty card from Ed & Donna. Ed and Adam met in military school, and the four had navigated a decisive sector of their young lives together. Adam had also learned to navigate around Ed’s cat. A welcome reminder of their uncommon bond arrived every year along with the kitty card.
Rebecca had come from a big family, but they weren’t close in the Brady Bunch kind of way. Their love, however, was undeniable. She could count on cards from her three sisters: a colorful nativity scene from Annette, a cutesy snowman from Sharla, and an understated elegant card from Kristy. Her brothers’ cards came faithfully each year too. Each card from a family member enclosed pictures of Rebecca’s nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.
Just as the Christmas cards have a special place in her home, each card on the mantelpiece represented someone with a special place in her heart. Every time she opened an envelope, a piece her heart was dusted and polished as she took its owner out of her memory again.
Rebecca positioned a crystal votive holder on either side of the figurine of Mary and Joseph adoring their Son, and stepped back for a last examination of the bare mantel. With expectant love shining in her eyes, she went out get the mail.
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