Jackie Curry, 80, of Darlington, owns one Christmas card that has accumulated more frequent flier miles than some of the most noted jet-setters.
Every year, almost like clockwork, either Curry, or her sister, Mary Fatler, 76, who lives in Oregon, heads to the local post office to mail a very special Christmas card – a card the pair has been mailing back and forth for 49 years.
"I was rocking the youngest boy in front of the fire... and my youngest daughter was addressing the cards," Curry recalled of the first year she sent the card. "I told her 'let's write on the card for Mary to send the card back next year and we'll see how long we can keep it going.'"
Years of mailing the card back and forth have caused tattered edges and barely enough space to write a message. Now, the sisters lay the card flat and send it in a plastic bag to keep it from getting damaged. They keep doing it to feel closer to one another during the holiday season.
"It's just a plain card with a Christmas scene with a mailbox," Curry said. "It's no special card. I wish it had been a Hallmark."
Curry and Falter were the youngest of four children. Although they are polar opposites, Curry said they were always close.
"I'm the creative one; I've always had many interests, but never found one to make a lifetime on," said Curry, who was a stay-at-home mother. "She was different than me. She was quiet; she loved to read and to cook. My cookbooks still have plastic on them."
She said the girls grew up on a farm in Dublin and spent years playing together in the woods and having lots of fun, which brought them close.
Eventually, Falter got married and moved to Seattle, Wash., and Curry, also married, moved to Darlington. Although the sisters talked regularly on the phone, the distance between them made the holidays difficult. The card became a tradition that excited family and friends on both sides of the country.
"It's a tradition and my family and my friends wait on the card every year," Curry said. "They would say 'did you get the card, did you get the card?'"
This year, Curry has the card and was planning to mail it from the Darlington Post Office, the same way she does every other year.
"I'm so thankful for the Postal Service," Curry said. "The card has never been lost in the mail and it always makes it before Christmas."
She said she plans on thanking the post master general for the great service she has received over the years.
Curry said she wants to reach out to the Guinness World Records about the traveling Christmas card. She said the sisters will continue to mail the card for as many years as they can.
Next year, Curry said she plans to fly to Oregon to visit her sister, whom she hasn't seen in person for four or five years. But, for now, Curry is content with sticking the card in an envelope and mailing it 3,000 miles.