By Anne Sullivan
“Look out, Sylvia. Watch where you’re walking,” I yelled at her.
“Where can I walk?” she retorted. “There are boxes and papers all over the floor.”
“I’m getting the Christmas boxes ready to go out,” I said. “You’ll just have to watch where you walk for a week or two.”
“Or forever. There is altogether too much stuff in this house. Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, no matter what the season,” she grumped while trying to disentangle a length of red ribbon from her paw.
“You’ll sing another tune when Santa fills your stocking with treats and joy.”
“Treats I’ll accept. Joy is something I do not associate with Christmas.”
“No joy to the world?” I teased.
“None whatsoever. Christmas is simply something to be endured like winter’s endless snow and cold.”
“However did you get to be so cynical, Sylvia? If you continue to repudiate Santa like that, he’ll be loathe to put anything in your stocking.”
“Pshaw. Santa is a myth.”
“Don’t let Gordo hear you. He still believes.”
”Ah, youth. As they say, pity it’s wasted on the young.”
“As well as cynical, you’re very philosophical these days.”
“I think it’s the cold,” she said. “It gets in my bones.”
“Mine, too, I must admit. Could I warm up a biscuit for you? It might help.”
“Sounds like an excellent idea, boss. The Vitabone ones should take the heat well. A warm biscuit on a cold day. That’s a good title for a book, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is. Are you thinking of writing another book?”
“A real author always has a book in the works – or up the sleeve, so to speak. The only problem is: I can’t think of anything to write about.”
“The writer’s lament,” I commiserated with her.
“Too true,” she said, an all-too-prevalent tear forming in her eye.
“You mustn’t let seasonal depression get the better of you, Sylvia. You must fight it with all your might.”
“By joining it. By decorating your doghouse and the surrounding porch. By putting up a tree. By sending cards to all your friends and fans. By giving presents to everyone you know – especially me.”
Sylvia’s expression was a combination of sorrow and stubbornness. “I can’t send cards to all my friends and fans,” she complained. “I don’t even know who some of them are much less having an address the post office will accept and I have to use the money I earn for dog and cat food. I haven’t any left over for stamps which are so expensive these days.”
“They certainly are, “ I said. “I remember when you could send a postcard for a penny and a letter for three cents.”
“You do?” Sylvia sounded incredulous. “Did the Pony Express deliver your mail in those days?”
“No, we had mail carriers who walked carrying heavy bags full of mail all over New York City. What’s more, they had deliveries every day. Why, you could mail a letter in the morning and it would be delivered across town that very afternoon.”
“I guess things were different in the Old World,” Sylvia said with a sigh. “Do you think it would be proper if I wished all my readers and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in my column?”
“I think that would be very proper and much cheaper than sending cards.”
“Consider it done. That way, I’ll get my cards out before anyone else.”