Published on December 8, 2020

Christmas presents come in all shapes and sizes – and cards

By Jan Edwards
The Bulletin

I read something somewhere that made me stop and think, referring to Christmas gifts. It said, “This is not the year to ask for everything we want. This is the year to be thankful for what we have.” I think that is right.

What we already have does not have to be costly. It can be peace of mind or just a memory from a long time ago to remind us how blessed we are (like an old Christmas card) or something that hasn’t even happened yet (like the dredging of the mouth of the San Bernard River).

This has been a tough year. COVID made people sick, and many have died. People have lost their jobs. Too many have food insecurities. They can’t afford their rent. Millions of lives have been turned upside down.

Roy and I have had to isolate. Looking around me, though, I see we are luckier than a whole lot of eople. We are blessed.
Presents come in all shapes and forms.

If you know Roy and I, you know that we have been active in getting the mouth of the San Bernard open again, this time with the R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Act.

The process has been: Start. Hit a roadblock. Start. Go like gangbusters and hit another roadblock - for four years now.

But we got a call from our County Commissioner Dude Payne on Nov. 23, updating us that the last permit we needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been signed and sent back to the county for the County Engineer’s signature.

Then it will have to go back to TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) for their blessing so the funds can be released. (This is a short version of remaining hurtles.)

That puts everything in place to seek project bids the first quarter of 2021 and have a dredge in the mouth of the river sometime between March and May, which would give us a completely open mouth for fish migrations before the next hurricane season.

This would be a big present from Santa, although delayed a little, but we’ll gladly take it. We’ll be very grateful.

On a more personal note, I am also grateful for a Christmas card I received 35 years ago.

Roy sent it to me, and it still gets to me. It brings back bittersweet memories (first bitter and then sweet) from a time of my life that had more downs than ups.

I had the worst day at work, and the guy I had been dating had just become the jerk I used to date. Then I opened my mailbox to find Roy’s Christmas card.

I knew Roy from the Houston Canoe Club. I helped him wreck his new boat that spring, but really hadn’t talked to him since.
There was the card - a solo trapper paddling a birch-bark canoe, and inside it read: “Times change, and we with time, but not in the ways of friendship.”

I sat down and cried, then I sent him my Christmas card with a Shakespeare quote, that read: “One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin.”

The next thing I knew, he called me and invited me to his Christmas party. That was the beginning of Jan and Roy.

That was a nice present.

I don’t want anything fancy this year (except for that dredging project). I’ve already got a lot to be thankful for: friends, family, roof overhead, money in the bank, food on the table - and a Christmas card from 35 years ago.

Roy still has the one I sent him.

Christmas is not about things, but about wishes coming true.

And, we have lived happily years after - the best present of all.

(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)