Over the years I have written about our Christmas tree and how in the early years there was always a theme. But as time went by ornaments were collected in our travels and beloved friends gifted us with wonderful baubles, and the theme became, and has remained, memories. Memories of places visited, Christmas gatherings past, and people whom we love. It has become our Tree of Memories.
This year there were no exotic destinations visited, Fredericton as lovely as it is doesn’t count. Chances of seeing friends will be restricted to a few within our bubble. I mentioned to Laurent that there would be no new ornament to add this year. I was wrong!
This morning I was going through a box of “stuff” I had taken from my mother’s cedar chest when I was closing up her apartment twenty-five years ago. Amongst the photos, marriage certificates, old passports and newspaper clippings I found an old card that my mother had given to my father one Christmas almost 100 years ago. There is no date on it but given the style of the card I would say it was either in the early years of their courtship or marriage so I’m guessing around 1925. They were married on July 1st of that year.
The front is an embossed heavy celluloid stitched onto the spine of a card paper back cover. Possibly the cover and inside pages were whiter at one time though time had faded them to old ivory. The design is violets and summer trellis-work but the message is Christmas.
The inside pages are held in place by a cord of pale purple – again perhaps it was closer to the colour of the violets then it is today. The paper is thinner and my mother in her haste had not blotted the names. Also below my father’s name is a rather odd set of characters with only a “T” being legible. Some sort of secret code? We’ll never know.
As I held it, saw that familiar handwriting and read the simple Christmas greeting it I knew that I had found our “new” Christmas ornament for this year. One Christmas a century ago my mother sent a fond and loving message to my father. Almost a century later the memory of that message will nestle amongst the branches of our tree – a memory of Isa and Ab.
The word for November 27th is:
Fond /fänd/: [adjective]
1.1 Having an affection or liking for.
1. 2 Affectionate; loving.
1.3 Of a hope or belief: foolishly optimistic; naive.
Late Middle English (in the sense ‘infatuated, foolish’): from obsolete fon ‘a fool, be foolish’, of unknown origin.
I’ve always had a fondness for the word “fond” and end most personal letters/emails/messages with “fondest regards”.