Jessica, my mail carrier, beat me to the mailbox yesterday, so I’m taking Christmas cards into downtown Norfork, population 511.
My delight to drive three miles on a curvy motorcycle road, to take in the view at the Matney Knob overlook, to admire the green pines.
I am grateful for the privilege of living here.
Norfork, Arkansas. My town, my tiny town.
If you’ve heard of Norfork, Arkansas, perhaps it’s because it’s known for trout fishing. It’s the home of the world record brown trout. Says so on the Welcome Sign. (However, the record was broken a few years ago at the Little Red River.)
Easy to start up conversations with the fishermen from out-of-state in the Norfork Café.
I pass Wolf House, the oldest structure in Arkansas, older than the Territorial Capitol in Little Rock.
I pull into the post office, park, sit there, and look across the street at the colorful buildings. I love this town. Small, but no footnote town.
Christmas cards rubber-banded together. That’s why I’m here. I reach for them.
Happy about the cards. Maybe I like writing the notes/letters inside the envelopes like my husband likes chopping wood. It’s my way of connecting with folks I don’t see often enough.
Just wanting them to know we haven’t forgotten them, they are still important, that we love them, that we are still recognizing and celebrating Jesus’s birth.
Sad though to notice how many envelopes are now going to Mr. Jones or Ms. Jones. I think about all those years I addressed cards to Mr. and Mrs. Jones, like they’d always be here, forever together. Now one or the other is gone.
I am losing people.
On opening the door to the post office, I find I’m second in line. That’s normal at 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon in Norfork, a few days before Christmas. One of the big secrets here in this historical town is that there’s never a line at the post office. (Only the locals know this and take it for granted.)
The postmistress is friendly and willing to talk.
I leave and move my car through the narrow streets, looking at simple decorations. I pause at the Veterans monument with flags flying. The wreath says they are remembered.
For some unknown reason, I pull into the Food Bank parking area.
I park and walk inside. This building is old. I am suddenly aware that I know little about the Norfork Food Bank. Our church gives to the Food Bank, but I know so little.
Victoria gives me a brochure as she smiles and says, “This warehouse, part of the old school house, serves nine counties in North Central Arkansas. Just not big enough. That’s why you see canned goods on pallets in the hall.”
She looks down and says, “You don’t have any socks on!”
I laugh. “No, I don’t. Didn’t plan on coming here today. Just meant to run into town and mail some Christmas cards.”
“You want a tour?” she asks.
“I would love a tour,” I tell her. “My family received commodities when I was a kid. I still remember the joy of receiving the cheese and peanut butter.”
Victoria’s voice lifts as she speaks on behalf of the Food Bank, telling who they serve, how the food gets from here to the distribution centers, then to needy families. All, very orderly.
Like Christmas cards. No ribbons or wrapping paper here. Just love and caring.
I’m so proud of Norfork, my little noteworthy town.
God’s love to each of you, to your family, to your kids.
P.S. – Thanks for any Sharing.