It’s antelope season at my house again. Another child has reached the age where he can print and sound out some words so writing letters to Grammy and Auntie are high on his list. So are antelopes.
"Momma, I need an antelope for my letter."
Aw. It takes me back. Little does he know that his older siblings needed antelopes as well or the even more rare ombilope a direct cousin of the antelope.
Antelopes are fascinating. They have a strip of glue on them that, when wet, makes a perfect seal securing the letter safely inside. Unless you’re a five-year old and drool like a Saint Bernard.
"Don’t worry. Momma’s got a hair dryer and lots of tape. It’ll dry completely before it reaches Grammy’s."
The next step is to cover the back of the antelope with stickers. It doesn’t matter if they are from the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes or if they are Mom’s special stationery stickers, each antelope needs at least three stickers. The more stickers you find on the back of an antelope, the more love there is inside.
The card inside harkens back to caveman days. There are hieroglyphics of square people with stick legs and a message written in a strange language that, if read from left to write reads:
A TO GRAmmY
The best part is running to the mailbox and stuffing your antelopes inside. Now begins the slow agony. Every day for the next week it will be, "Did I get an antelope?"
"No, not today. Maybe by Friday."
"Is tomorrow Friday?"
Sigh. Antelopes come and go. Most of them are from Bill. Why does he keep writing to Momma? She doesn’t like his antelopes very much.
At last an antelope arrives with my son’s name on it. But he doesn’t tear right in. An antelope from Grammy or Auntie Jenny requires careful dissecting with mom’s antelope opener because we don’t want to accidentally tear any stickers.
Older Brother enters the room. "What did you get?"
"I got an antelope from Grammy. If you send antelopes to people, they send antelopes back!"
"It’s not ‘antelope.’ It’s ‘EMBALOPE.’ It’s the illiterate leading the illiterate.
Still this is all good practice. In a few months children will be writing letters to Santa. The older ones will ask for world peace, the middle ones will ask for every high priced item ever conceived by the elves and the youngest will still ask for a lollipop, some cake and a book.
"If you behave, Santa might send you a letter back."
"Does Santa have antelopes?" I can just hear the youngest ask innocently only to be swiftly corrected by an older sibling: "No, Santa has reindeer."