Christmas cards are not really on my agenda any more whereas they used to be a huge part of Christmas.
However, the other day a big thick old fashioned card arrived for me and I didn’t recognize the handwriting.
It was from a woman I met just once in my life about 4 years ago.
I was back in West Clare on the pavement across the road from where my late father grew up. I had heard all about the house from him but had never been in it because it was gone out of the family.
A woman saw me looking across at the building and asked me if I was okay. I explained that it was my father’s home place and that I just wanted to soak it in. She insisted that the owner, who was a friend of hers would be more than happy to let me see around and went and knocked on the door before I could say a word. It was near enough to 9pm in the summer.
I was greeted like a long lost relation and the woman, who had bought the house from my relations, was incredibly generous in terms of showing me all the rooms that I had heard so much about from Dad and also the back yard where they had kept dogs and horses.
The friend left before a cuppa appeared and the lady and I chatted very late into the night.
I couldn’t believe I was sitting in the same kitchen with the same lovely tiles my father had described.
I left that night feeling like I had been given a very precious gift of connection to my father’s youth.
I wrote a thank you letter when I got home and often thought of that special evening in the intervening years.
Then the Christmas card arrived on Friday and a letter fell out full of cheer and an invitation to visit again.
It has left me with the warmest glow and hope for a trip West when Covid allows.
I found a card that I think the 91 year old lady will appreciate and I hope it brings a smile to her lovely face.
We have a huge amount left to talk about and, for now, maybe we will settle for letter-writing. Hard to beat it!