In 2003, Clayton Rookes went to the mailbox of his Edmonton home to find a Christmas card from a student who attended the elementary school across the street. Sixteen years later, he’s hoping to find the boy who has brought years of laughter and memories to the Rookes’ Christmas tradition of rereading the card.
When Clayton and his wife packed up their Christmas decorations that year, they packed away the card signed by “Angus.” The next year, they found it nestled among the other decorations and decided to share Angus’ message with some friends.
Every year since then, the couple has thrown a party where they host the official reading of the card and a toast to Angus.
“It’s so funny. It’s so cute. It’s so lovely,” Rookes said.
The card is scrawled in Grade 2 handwriting, is riddled with spelling errors and covered in drawings.
“Dear Neigbor,” the card reads. “Merry Christmas and Happy New year! Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo! Be good if you wont a presints but don’t frget Christmas win’t be hear if jeaus won’t born. Your Friend, Angus.”
Rookes was living across the street from Mill Creek Elementary School in 2003. All he knows about the author is that Angus was in Grade 2.
LISTEN BELOW: Clayton Rookes reads the card he received in 2003 from a Grade 2 student named Angus
“When we toast and raise our glass to Angus everyone shouts out his name, ‘To Angus!’ It’s just absolutely adorable,” Rookes said. “Every single person that sees this card and reads this card, their heart just melts.
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“I just want him to know he’s been our friend for 17 years and he’s celebrated so many Christmas with us.”
The couple moved to Nanaimo, B.C. years ago, but Angus’ card came with them. Since they live away from family, the two don’t have the traditions they used to celebrate with their families. Instead, they celebrate with Angus.
“We’ve built these new traditions and this one is so important to us. It’s so wonderful and it’s as fun as a Christmas tradition can get.
“People stopping what they’re doing to listen to this card being read, to raise a glass, to cheers, to toast to someone they’ve never event met before is beautiful.”
As much as Rookes wants to find Angus to thank him for the card, he’s also hoping to connect with the teacher who likely gave the assignment in the first place.
“That would just mean so much,” Rookes said.
“Especially in that field, you’re trying to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s one of these little things that you did to teach these children kindness and to be nice to strangers, and that your neighborhoods are your friends — that it’s true, it resonated, it lasted.”
Rookes said he doesn’t see a time in the future when he and his wife won’t pull out Angus’ card and toast the joy its brought them.
If you know Angus, his parents, or the teacher who may have been involved in the Christmas card assignment, please email Kirby Bourne