When I was a kid, my parents would open each day's haul of Christmas cards at the dinner table. We'd sit around, eating dessert, and everyone would get a share of the cards to open and read aloud. One of Dad's old Army buddies always sent a long, detailed letter describing everything everyone in his family had done that year. For some reason, Sid's letter was the highlight of Christmas-card-opening and we all wanted to get his letter.
Well, sadly, one year the letter, in addition to describing every trip, every score of every high school football game his son had played in and every note of every concert his daughter had played the clarinet in, Sid also announced that he and Nancy, his wife, had separated. There were long paragraphs about how he hoped that the separation was only temporary, he wanted to get back together, what he was doing to ensure that would happen. It was all so completely out of the blue and unexpected that everyone was stunned. And Sid, who usually just reported the year's events in a very matter of fact way, revealed himself to be a very emotional and romantic kind of guy.
I must admit that we all waited eagerly for the following year's letter, to see what had happened. The divorce wasn't final, Sid was still hoping, Nancy was reconsidering, etc., etc. For years, we waited with bated breath for Sid's Christmas letter and the next installment in his hopeless romance with his eventual ex-wife. All through his kids' marriages and the later grandkids, Sid kept up hope of a reunion. Dad got to the point where he'd save Sid's letter for Christmas Eve dinner, when most of us would be home.
Dad died a few years ago and we all thought the Sid saga was at an end for us, but Sid somehow got our oldest sibling's address and is still sending the letter! Somehow, it isn't really Christmas until we have heard about Sid's struggles and successes for the year. He's still friends with Nancy, but since she's remarried, we don't think they will be getting back together, by the way. And as far as we know, none of us kids has ever met Sid or Nancy--we think he is an Army buddy from before our parents were married.