PRE-NOTE: Today is the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914, an expected yet celebrated temporary lull in the horrors of World War I. Madeline sent along a link to a song celebrating that interlude of peace in a time of war: Christmas in the Trenches, by John McCutcheon. It may take a while to access it – it will be viewed tens of thousands of times today. Just be patient.
All best wishes to you and yours at Christmas, 2014.
Christmas letters seem to be slowly going out of favor, which is sad. Everybody has their own style; each one brings their own unique surprise.
A favorite Christmas letter of mine, for many years, annually arrives from Fran, a retired Iron Range elementary school teacher (Grand Rapids) who I’ve known since the 1980s.
As with many correspondents, I hear from Fran once a year, as she hears once a year from me.
Every Christmas letter Fran writes, to family and friends, brings vividly to life something about the natural world she loves, around her lake, part of the northernmost reaches of the Mississippi River. Most years comes a glimpse of her extended world: this past year, a visit to Easter Island; in just a few more days, a month on her beloved Maui.
Here, reprinted with her permission, is her most recent letter, sent Dec. 15 (simply click to enlarge text).
Fran’s letter concludes:
We all have particular gifts. One of Fran’s, honed over many years, is the gift of describing her environment in words.
Thanks, Fran, and to all the rest of us, have a great Christmas and New Year.
POST-NOTE: This post reminded me of a long ago writing by teacher June Johnson. June taught in the same school district as Fran, in a northernmost school at Bigfork MN. In 1985, editing a newsletter for teachers, she wrote about a 1940s era school memory in rural North Dakota. Here it is. It speaks eloquently for itself.