their family Christmas e-mail. He has assured recipients that this is the "LAST TIME". He has, he informs us, compositions to write in English and Chinese and his own blog - as well as all the other things he has to do, such as care for his garden and pets, go swimming, take photographs and... the list runs on. He is now nine and a busy child.
My mother used to write one of those Christmas letters too. She would get me to type it up and print off multiple copies and then add more for each recipient.
The Senior Cat refuses to write one. He refuses to write Christmas cards. That, according to him, is my job. He sees no point in sending cards to people he sees.
I send cards to people I don't see - or don't see on a regular basis. It used to be fun but I have just been through the list and realised that I need to cross yet more names off this year. Oh yes, they would still be friends but they are no longer with us. Cancer has taken two of them, heart disease has taken another. I know. It happens.
I wish I could find the first serious address book I had. It was an ordinary school memo book, the smallest sort. We did "mental" in them - "mental arithmetic". How I still came to have it I am not sure but I remember tearing out the two used pages and using the rest of it because I could not find one of those indexed books.
I had it when I went off to university in England. Most of the addresses in it then would have been for people Downunder. I doubt I contacted many of them. People I worked with offered me their addresses and I politely accepted them. The reality was that I did not socialise with them outside work and I was unlikely to remain in touch. I suppose we both knew that.
There were other people too of course. We did correspond a little but there was no e-mail. Corresponding meant getting one of those flimsy blue air letters from the post office and typing it on a typewriter. The only people who were regular recipients of these missives were my parents. My mother had warned me that, if a letter did not arrive every week one of them would come and forcibly return me home. I might have been over twenty one but that was not an empty threat. It was easier not to argue but that did not mean I told my parents precisely what I was doing!
But, the other people in the address book? I know some of them are no longer here and I still miss them. Some of us have just grown apart and moved on. That is inevitable. There are some I am still in touch with. That is good.
But, I wonder about some of the other names that would be there. Who were they?