It is National Dessert Month, and we think a pretty sweet way to celebrate is to share a favorite recipe of Postmark from the Past author, Vickie Phelps. This is an old family recipe for Christmas Fudge that Vickie first shared in her church’s cookbook (A Taste of Heaven, New Horizon Church of God). So, make up a batch, grab a square and a glass of milk, and then continue reading for a taste of Postmark from the Past.
In November 1989, Emily Patterson is enjoying a quiet life in West Texas. She lives in the same house she grew up in, has a great job and good friends. But emptiness nips at her heart. Then a little red envelope changes everything…
* * *
There was something strange about the faded, red envelope in her mailbox. Emily Patterson reached in and gingerly lifted it from the stack of mail. The edges appeared frayed and soiled, but the grimy appearance wasn’t the only thing different.
No return address. No postage.
In spite of the icy wind slicing through every stitch she wore, Emily stood glued to the curb in front of her house, staring at what appeared to be her first holiday greeting of the season. Only when a passing car honked, shaking her out of her curious daze, did she realize she was freezing. She grabbed the rest of the mail and hurried up the walk.
Emily’s numb fingers wrestled with the door key of the stately Victorian she’d called home for the past twenty years. Her grandfather, Sterling Patterson, who made his money in cattle, built the house in 1903. The house, something of an anomaly in the Panhandle, had been his way of proclaiming his status in the community of Redwood. The only Victorian in four counties, it sat just two blocks from the town square.
When she heard the familiar click of the lock, she breathed a frosty sigh of relief and let herself in. It was cold inside too, but nothing like the outside. After her grandparents passed away, her parents moved into the house. They renovated and updated with modern appliances, new velvet drapes, Persian rugs, and some of the finest artwork available. The one thing they didn’t do was install a central heating system.
Every fall, Emily promised herself she would install heat before winter arrived. Now here it was, the twenty-seventh of November, and once again, she had let another year pass without doing so. But this evening something besides central heating occupied her mind. She tossed the rest of the mail on the hall table as she passed, but carried the red envelope into the kitchen. She slid her fingernail beneath the seal, which lifted without any pressure, the yellowed adhesive confirming the passing of time.
The outdated illustration on the front puzzled her. And it looked soiled, like it had been handled a lot or maybe carried around in someone’s pocket for awhile. When she opened the card, a sheet of paper floated to the floor. She ignored it for a moment as she stared at the unfamiliar name on the card. Mark. Finally, she bent down and retrieved the sheet of paper.
I hope you will forgive me for being such a coward. I never had the nerve to tell you how much I care about you. I wasn’t sure how you felt about me, and I guess my pride wouldn’t allow me to speak up for fear of being rejected. And then there’s the matter of your parents. I’m sure they don’t approve of me. But here I am, thousands of miles away, and I’ve decided it’s now or never. When you stare death in the face every day like I do, your priorities change real fast. I don’t know if I’ll get out of this place alive, but if I do, I’m coming back for you. I have to go now. The sound of mortar fire is getting closer. Looks like we’re in for it again. Merry Christmas, Emily.
Emily wrinkled her brow in confusion. Love? And he says he’s coming back for me?