Video by PBS NewsHour
President Ronald Reagan’s letter to wife Nancy on Dec. 25, 1981, their first Christmas in the White House. Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney read it at Friday’s funeral service for Mrs. Reagan.
Dear Mrs. R,
I still don’t feel right about you opening an envelope instead of a gift package.
There are several much beloved women in my life and on Christmas, I should be giving them gold, precious stones, perfume, furs and lace. I know that even the best of these would still fall far short of expressing how much these several women mean to me and how empty my life would be without them.
There is of course my “First Lady.” She brings so much grace and charm to whatever she does that even stuffy, formal functions sparkle and turn into fun times. Everything is done with class. All I have to do is wash up and show up.
There is another woman in my life who does things I don’t always get to see but I do hear about them and sometimes see photos of her doing them. She takes an abandoned child in her arms on a hospital visit. The look on her face only the Madonna could match. The look on the child’s face is one of adoration. I know because I adore her too.
She bends over a wheelchair or bed to touch an elderly invalid with tenderness and compassion just as she fills my life with warmth and love.
There is another gal I love who is a nest builder. If she were stuck three days in a hotel room she’d manage to make it home sweet home. She moves things around – looks at it straightens this and that — and you wonder why it wasn’t that way in the first place.
I’m also crazy about the girl who goes to the ranch with me. If we’re tidying up the woods, she’s a peewee power house at pushing over dead trees. She’s a wonderful person to sit by the fire with, or to ride with or first to be with when the sun goes down or the stars come out. If she ever stopped going to the ranch I’d stop too because I’d see her in every beauty spot there is and I couldn’t stand that.
Then there is a sentimental lady I love whose eyes fill up so easily. On the other hand she loves to laugh and her laugh is like tinkling bells. I hear those bells and feel good all over even if I tell a joke she’s heard before.
Fortunately, all these women in my life are you – fortunately for me that is, for there could be no life for me without you. Browning asked; “How do I love thee – let me count the ways?” For me there is no way to count. I love the whole gang of you – Mommie, first lady, the sentimental you, the fun you, and the peewee power house you.
And oh yes, one other very special you – the little girl who takes a “nana” to bed in case she gets hungry in the night. I couldn’t and don’t sleep well if she isn’t there – so please always be there.
Merry Christmas you all – with all my love.