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Remembering the 'Non-Brag' Christmas Card

12/07/2014 09:08 EST | Updated 02/06/2015 05:59 EST

1957 -- a grand year to behold! Thank you Margaret for being such a wise friend, calming me in my sadness and my pain over the past year. My husband Phil has just lost his job. Is your aunt's heart health on the mend? Does she still make those delicious apple cakes? I so miss them from prior Christmas seasons, but this year, owing to our financial ill health, we have forsaken travel to Montreal and other luxuries.

Let us thank God that we are not in the midst of war. Are your children happy? Did they rejoice when the Canadiens bested Detroit in April? That night was gleeful mayhem inside our home, and our rickety radio held up during the game! (I rejoice in such pleasures.)

My weight is still flabby despite my best efforts to control it. Phil is calm despite being unemployed, and reading Hemingway again. Do you read the great writers? Which ones? Which writer calms you most?

I am blessed that Phil has more time on his hands for the kids -- and for me. Life is too short to spend in silly busy-time. Do you know I actually met a couple at a Christmas dinner displaying the gumption to boast in breezy indifference about their travel, their children's sports and scholastic accomplishments? Odd. I am ashamed to admit to finding their character unbefitting. Do you think Toronto values are descending into self-absorption? It is Christmas!

Will Festive Cards Turn into 'Brag' Letters? The Horror!

Will Christmas cards turn into brag letters? Will self-important parents run our schools and social conventions? Will parents speak of their business promotions in Christmas cards? Surely no researcher will unearth such evidence in the future?

I know you are in pain, too. Always remember, I am your friend and will always be here for you. Your mother's grief will pass. Your father was, and always will be, a hero. For him and his comrades' actions in battle we will always be in debt.

And so, let me leave you with the words from our favorite poem, Desiderata:

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."

Let there be peace on earth, and God bless. Thank you for your ongoing kindness to us during this difficult time. I am honoured and lucky to be your friend, forever.

- A Christmas missive between two friends, 1956