As I opened our first card of the Christmas season, I was reminded of my mother-in-law who is truly one of a kind. At the wonderful age of 91, she still has more life in her than some twenty year olds I know. When looking back on what makes her so full of life, I have come to the conclusion that it’s because she truly LOVES people. Some people read, others paint, still others love working with flowers but Mema, she socializes.
She spent many years writing what we call her “Dear All” letter every Thursday as she sat under the dryer at the beauty shop. No matter what was going on in her life (or the world for that matter) Thursday mornings at 9:00am Mema was at the beauty shop getting her hair done. I get the feeling that had any of her children tried to come into this world on a Thursday morning, she would have politely told them to wait… and I’m also quite certain they would have obeyed!!
But I digress, Mema’s “Dear All” letter went out to an untold number of people. One lucky recipient would get the original each week, while all the others would get a mimeograph copy. (I have to mention at this point that her handwriting, while a lovely script, was challenging to say the least and there was an innate sense of pride whenever I was able to decode an entire letter…yay me!) As technology advanced, she migrated to a “Dear All” email that while not written under the dryer was still sent out to scores of people (most I knew but some… still no clue) I loved the fact that she signed her letters “Ruth, Grandma, Mema, Ruppie” denoting the various names she was called by the multitudes in her life.
Yes, one thing Tim inherited from his mother is her love of people. If Ruth Reeve became your friend, she was your friend for life. She kept up with you and your children and your children’s children. Whenever we visited her in Carrollton, there was always time in the study for her to catch me up on all the goings on of the people in her life. In fact, Christmas was my favorite time to visit because I got to look at the hundreds of photo Christmas cards she and Papa received every year. (Not even exaggerating here people, HUNDREDS!!) So every year as Christmas cards begin to arrive, I am taken back to the kitchen in her house and all the time I spent over the years looking at all of the Christmas cards taped up on display. And Mema would not only take the time to tell me the names of every person on every card, she would also tell me about their relatives not on the card.
So I guess in my own way, this is my daily Dear All letter. Here’s hoping I can make half the friends in my lifetime that Mema made in hers.