Cards For Inmates

The cards displayed on the bookstore rack stopped me in my tracks. They shared a simple cover drawing — a delicate yellow rose with a barbed-wire stem — but their greetings suggested an unconventional audience:

“Sorry to Hear About Your Arrest.”

I stood with my daughter, reading them aloud and joking about the comic possibilities they provided: “Sorry about your arrest. I guess the shoot-out wasn’t such a good idea.” Or, “Too bad I can’t hide a file in your cake. Happy Birthday anyway!”

It’s easy to poke fun at the notion of Hallmark-like greetings for miscreants. But Terrye Cheathem didn’t create Three Squares Greetings: For Those Who Can’t Come Home as a joke.

“When I hear somebody laugh at them,” Cheathem said, “I know that person hasn’t gotten the telephone call, yet, saying their son or brother or nephew has been arrested.”

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