William Allen White
Positive Inspirational Stories
Positive Featured Inspirational Story - February 1 to February 29, 2008
Birthday Cards with Secret Codes
I looked at the scrawled handwriting on the envelope. I blinked and read it once again before tears began to tumble. My birthday card had been addressed, sent, and signed by Dad.
I'd not thought about, or expected, a card that year. The prior months had been dreadful as we watched Mother's health spiral downward. At Dad's age, the ordeal eventually took a terrible toll on him as well. Especially when he realized Mom's only option was to live out her final days in a nursing home. She would never come home again and soon Dad would be alone for the first time in his life.
Yet, there it was . . . birthday card, and the only one I had ever received without Mom's familiar handwriting. I didn't even feel the need to open it, for Dad's efforts told me all I needed to know, and more. I cradled it like a priceless breakable and wept buckets of tears. Some for a card I would always hold dear, others for the sorrowful changes taking place in the lives of those I love.
When I did open the card . . . the sentiment was lovely and it was obvious much thought had been given to the selection. Although it was signed 'Mom and Dad,' never had I seen my parent's names written by Dad . . . another gloomy reminder of what was to come. Mom would not be with us much longer.
Six years later, with Dad rapidly approaching 90 years of age, I smiled when my birthday card came today! It always arrives several days early and the birthday check inside holds a brainteaser Dad concocted when greeting cards became one of his duties. The 'memo' line at the bottom of the check is where his now-infamous secret code is found. Using capital letters he leaves a birthday message.
An example: H. O. A. Y. T. Y. When I call to thank him for my card, you can bet your boots I will be quizzed on the answer.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A year after Mom's death I was on an extended summer visit at Dad's. I yawned as I plodded to the coffee pot one morning, poured a cup, and sat down next to Dad at the kitchen island. He was addressing a card to an old family friend.
'Dad, how do you keep track of all the birthdays and anniversaries? And, your cards are never late. You do a really good job!'
The look he gave me with those big, blue eyes suggested I might be dumb. 'It's simple! On the first of the month I get my calendar and write down all the cards I'll need to send that month. The next time I go shopping, I buy them . . . then I place them in order in the file cabinet drawer.'
I grabbed Dad's calendar and yanked open the file drawer. Sure enough, the cards were in perfect order, from the first of the month to the last.
'Wow, you've got quite a system here!' I exclaimed. 'Maybe I should set up one just like yours.' I teased.
'After Mom died I had to figure out something! I didn't realize how many cards we sent out in a year's time.'
I've never asked Dad about his secret codes for I know they began as a witty distraction during a sad and emotional time. They've continued because he's a wise man who knows life goes on regardless of our circumstances and that a new comical twist along life's path can always lighten our load.
(Code = How Old Are You This Year)
Written by Kathleene S. Baker
Kathy resides in Plano, Texas with husband Jerry, and two precious pups, Hank and Samantha. She enjoys writing, needlework, and fishing. As a freelancer, she has contributed to newspapers, anthologies, magazines, online ezines, Chicken Soup for the Soul and writes a weekly column entitled The Heart of Texas.
- Finding a Forever Home
- Grandma's Thimble
- When you thought I wasn't looking
- Left Behind
- Enjoy your nectarine
- The Old Phone . . . How do you spell fix?
- You make a difference
- Lessons from Geese
- The Richest Man in the Valley
- The Making of a Memory
- Why The Elephants Dont Run
- The Sandpiper . . . to bring you joy
- They don't walk in your shoes . . . Click, Click, Click!
- The Happiest Day of My Life
- Courage - Despite the Odds
- You just never know
- Learning to Listen
- If it is meant to be, it will be
- The Learning Tree
- The Red Marbles
- The Weeds of Our Lives
- The Distinct Sound of Purring
- Flowers for the Teacher
- The Red Ribbon
- Santa's Love
- All The Good Things
- Yusuf - He's My Brother
- Extra Good Luck
- Hoo Hoo Fraks
- Stand tall like the Sunflower
- Unique Words of Forgiveness
- I Got Back On My Seat
- Brick Wall
- White Envelopes
- Love and Music in Their Hearts
- Birthday Cards with Secret Codes
- Gift Exchange - lessons about life!
- When the message light doesn't blink
- Tenant Farmers
- I know you by heart
- In Clay Vessels
- Letting Go
- When the nest emptied
- When the birdies came
- Broken Eggs and Shattered Glass
- After the applause, make time for words of praise!
- Are you a bucker filler or a dipper
- Choosing Confidence
- The Stone Soup Story
- A Mother's Job
- Hugging Life
- The Perfect Partnership
- Acknowledging a Special Treat
- A Different Perspective
- Life is meant to be lived
- Treasured Traditions
- Rules for a better way to live
- I Just Get Started
- Memories sustain us on Fatherís Day
- Creating Opportunity
- Forgiving without condoning or forgetting
- Nothing is long or short, hot or cold, good or bad!
- The Power of Discipline
- Sentry of the Homestead
- You deserve an Academy Award!
- All in the Family
- What is your Passion?
- We danced through life
- A choice to make
- Five ingredients of personal growth
- Acres of Diamonds
- If you look like a duck . . .
- The Secret of Happiness
- Harvesting Love
- It's music to your ears
- A Special Brand of Luck
- They are just empty cars
- Thou Art An Eagle
- Encouragement Works
- When you're in the cement mixer
- Plant Annually
- Life and Its Legs
- No Barriers in Life
- Getting Started
- Good Leaders are Good Followers
- How much do you want it to be
- How to improve your vision
- What forgiveness will buy
- Why let that hold you back
- Letting the yeast work its magic
- 9 things that make good employees quit
- The Beginning of Positive Thinking
- Giving Back
- May you be known by your love
- Expand your vision of possibilities
- We are meant for the skies
- Mr Belser died last night
- Are you dead on the job
- What makes us happy
- Motivating Others
- The clock is running so make the most of today
- Calming the muddy waters
- Keeping New Yearís Resolutions - the secret additive
- You are unique
- Web of Love
- Is happiness around the corner
- Seeing Life Through New Eyes
- An enriching action
- The Road to Significance and Success
- The real purpose of your life