Friday - 06/11/2021 — Remember when I told you about the decades-long journeys of the Purple Bag? The winter after my daughter was born, I made a “Grandparents’ Calendar” for my in-laws, featuring photos of their grandson for January through April, the new-born granddaughter for May, and then pictures of the two kids either singly or together for the rest of the year.
Nowadays it’s easy to upload photos to a fancy program, choose the format you want, pay online, and receive a poster, a calendar, a book … all with very little effort.
Back then, I used a ruler to draw the calendar pages in a spiral-bound artist’s pad, notated all the family birthdays with colored stick-on foil stars, ordered large prints of each of the photos, mounted them, and created a fancy cover.
Looking around for the right sized container to pack it in, I found a large—very large—Whitman’s Sampler box. Tissue paper to keep it from shifting around, fancy paper, a lovely bow, stuck it in the purple bag, and it was ready to go from Vermont to the grandparents in Florida.
On Christmas day, as usual, we spoke to them by phone, thanking them for the gifts they’d sent us. Their gifts were always lovely and expensive, although now I can’t remember a single one of what they sent. In return, they thanked us for the book, the macrame candle holder I’d crafted, the homemade candle we’d made, and the candy we’d sent.
Later that night I realized that they hadn’t mentioned the calendar I’d spent so many days (weeks!) creating. I assumed they hadn’t liked it.
Six months later, I got a phone call from Mom and Dad. They told us that they LOVED the calendar.
“Huh? What calendar?”
Their laughter practically rocked the phone line. It turns out their next-door neighbors had given them a large—very large—box of chocolates the previous December. They don’t eat much chocolate, so it took them six months to finish it. Finally, in June, they wanted more candy, so they opened the identical box we’d sent them for Christmas. They’d set it aside in the pantry on Christmas Day. Who after all, needed two boxes of chocolate candies open at the same time?
Somewhere or other I have that calendar, which we brought back home after Dad died. I looked for it so I could take a picture of it to show you, but I couldn’t find it. Maybe I should have hidden it in a Whitman’s Sampler box.