My mother remembered birthdays without fail. She’d pre-write cards for all December-borns, penciling the recipient’s DOB in the postage stamp corner. Three to four days later a Hallmark greeting arrived like clockwork. Given the scale of mom’s birthday card sending, a request for backup was reasonable at Christmastime. Dad enlisted to sign cards going to his brothers and sisters.
My father adopted a penmanship habit that resembled stretching before a run. He limbered up with a few air pen swirls, then pen on paper swirls. He completed the first card from our family to his eldest sister’s family.
When mom read the closing, well, I wasn’t sure if she’d throttle him or crack up laughing. It read Mr. & Mrs. John DiStefano. Not the formality you’d expect from a sibling everyone called Johnny.
Mom was not one to waste anything but a ruined greeting card was about as bad as a forgotten one.