As soon as everyone had finished — or, in some cases, as they were still writing — their year-end letters, they began to receive cards and letters from faraway friends and family.
Squirrel checked the porch table for mail at 5 o’clock each afternoon except Sunday. And at this time of year, there was always a stack — sometimes short, sometimes tall — of postcards and envelopes and small packages secured with string. Squirrel’s favorite mail to collect and deliver were the postcards because he could peek at the pictures on the front, each one a colorful painting, a vintage illustration, or a photo of a snowy forest, a faraway city, or a tropical beach.
But he also loved the stamps. And because everyone knew how much he loved them, they had all agreed that, if they received a card or a letter with a fancy, ornate, or foreign stamp attached, they would carefully tear it from the envelope so Squirrel could add it to his collection.
(Early January 2024)