A very appreciative thank you to all of our service men and women, to all those who have sacrificed time with their families so we could safely enjoy ours. And to the ones who have fallen, you are never forgotten.
I was raised with a certain regard toward etiquette and decorum. I have my step-mother to thank for this. My father, though a cultured and refined man, is a born and bred Missouri boy, and he likely wouldn’t haven’t instilled the more urbane principles as a part of his child’s upbringing. It was my step-mother who, by way of example and instruction, taught me that a lady knows which side of the plate the knife and spoon belongs; that when hosting a gathering, she will wait until every single one of her guests have been served and seated before taking a bite of food. And should the occasion merit gifts, she always shows her appreciation and gratitude by sending out hand-written note. no more than a week later.
As a young child you can imagine my chagrin every time a birthday, holiday, or any other festivity denoted that I would dredge out my “C” stationary and sit down to sloppily compose the perfunctory “thank you” note.
“Dear Grandma and Grandpa,”
Thank you for the $15. I’m very thankful for the money. I will use it to buy . . .”
Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy it. As all children are until they’re grown — and sometimes longer still — I was egocentric, and rather than focusing on the gift, I begrudged the chore. By the time I finished writing all upteenth thank-you notes — hours later — I had awful hand-cramps and those hard, white little knobs had formed at the base of my fingernails. Mrs. Curtis would have slapped my hand with her yardstick if she ever caught sight of note eight or nine; how the lovely third-grade cursive had gradually dissolved until the writing was hardly legible and even trajectory morbidly compromised. I suppose I could have attended to the matter in stages, coming and going as my hand regained feeling, but really that never occurred to me.
As I got older, however, I developed an appreciation for the art. I believe my soul knew I was to be a writer, long before any tangible perception surfaced in my mind. As a teenager, and someone who relished the opportunity to pour herself into poetry and inked thoughts, I exchanged notes (I’m talking two page sagas, on lined notebook paper, front and back) daily, with friends at school. And not only that, but when I really wanted to impress someone, I would fold the paper so that it encased itself like an envelope.
Oh, here, I’ll just show you:
This hobby stuck with me through young adulthood. Whenever I could, I picked up stationary when it was on sale and went about regularly corresponding with friends. Sometimes it was just to say hello and thank you for being in my life, other times it validated an occasion. I began to notice, though, that beyond a close few friends, reciprocity was uncommon. Receiving a letter, card, or note in the mail grew increasingly rare, only upheld by said relatives mentioned above. And now, with Facebook and other forms of social media, I fear the art is nearing endangerment completely. I admit I’ve been somewhat derelict in this vein, too.
I’m left to assume my friends were not forced into penned labor as I was, or rather, they were, and when the time arose to be proprietor of their lives, they chose not to partake in the act of thanking by note.
I find that just a tiny bit sad.
Only because there is something very romantic and magical that happens between the sender and receiver. Do you know what it is? Whether you have spilled yourself into a twenty page novella, or simply jotted down a few amorous lines, the sender has spoken volumes.
You have said . . .
And the receiver realizes, in a matter of seconds, just how special they are to you.
I savor the cards and notes people to send to me. And I tell you no lie, when I say my heart gives a little flutter when I see a colorful, embossed envelope, my full name written in pretty scrawl, a sticker middling the seal.
This month I was reminded of my affection for hand-written notes. I received three anniversary cards: from my Grandma, my Grandparents, and my mother. And a couple weeks ago I received two separate notes from two friends of mine. One thanked me for supporting her mission trip to Kenya, the other just to say she loves me and is thankful to have me as her friend. Presently they decorate my desk, perched up against a white pitcher filled with paper roses.
And this is the card my sweet angel gave to my for our anniversary last Tuesday.
So, what do you say? Participate in a little magic and romance this week; send someone a card, hand-write them a long letter. Heck, send one to me! We could be pen-pals.
I did a little browsing on Etsy this morning, and found this charming stationary.
Have a look.
I might splurge and buy some, or I may just break out some good ol’ fashion lined paper. We’ll see. One thing is for certain: I will not allow this endangered pastime to vanish with modern communication. Some things in life are just too precious to give up.
Have a lovely day, friends.