Ghosts of Christmas Cards Past

I recently told some Russian friends about something I did before I moved to Russia, and they asked if I’d post it on the web:

Years ago, when I was an old bachelor, I had the idea that it would be funny to have a different family each Christmas on my Christmas card.  One year at a church cookout I decided to go ahead and do it.

A friend from church was my ‘wife’, and we had three children.  I can say that it was quite a surprise to people when they got my card that year.  Several people thought I’d gotten married and hadn’t told them. (If you look closely, you’ll see that I have half a mustache; that was my way of saying ‘this is a joke’.)

The second year, I had a different wife and different children, a LOT of different children:

When my cousin got married, her mother (my Aunt Rose) asked if she could be on my next card.  We took this picture immediately after the wedding; the bride and groom are our best man and maid of honor.

As you can see by the groom’s expression, he was a bit befuddled as to why we were taking this picture on his wedding day, using the official photographer.

My church was located in an old movie theater in a strip shopping center.  One day after church, as I was walking to my car in the parking lot with many people going to and from the nearby shops, one of the ladies at church yells across the parking lot to me, ‘I want to be your wife this year!’  I yell back, ‘you’ll have to ask your husband!’

Later I thought about how very strange that must have sounded.

The next year, I was on hard times —

But by the last year, I had a trophy wife and a nice house!

And that was really my dog, Hank.

The story behind the last picture is fun.  I had scouted out this house to use for the card; it was on a large piece of property and quite imposing.  The day of the picture, we showed up and knocked on the door.  It took a little while for the owner of the house to understand exactly what we were asking, but once he got it he was pretty entertained and gave his permission.

I was soon to be married, and so the tradition ended.  Now I’m very happy to have the same wife each Christmas.

7 thoughts on “Ghosts of Christmas Cards Past

  1. Tom Umstattd says:

    I remember actually getting the card with Trixie and Hank. I knew Mike had not gotten married, but this really through me for a loop. But if anyone would pull a stunt, it would be Cantrell. Isn’t “trixie” one of the twins: Sylvia or Cynthia?
    Almost as good as these cards were Mike and his roommate’s outgoing answering machine messages. I would call to let Mike know when the softball game was, and there were these 2 frustrated actor comedian guys doing this amazing routine.
    We all used to send out Christmas cards, although, not as outlandish as Mike’s. The tradition has been largely abandoned with the advent of the internet and postage prices out pacing inflation.


  2. Mike says:

    Yes, ‘Trixie’ was Sylvia Tate. Olga and I have been talking about how we might start sending out funny cards again. We’re trying to think of a ‘theme’.


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