How did your day start today?
My today started with a little more than caffeine.
It began with a startling experience at the Freeland Post Office.
It was actually more of a shock, but a good one, not an electrical one.
We got a letter.
I say “we” because the letter was addressed to all of my personalities.
When is the last time you got a real letter?
No, not an e-mail or a bulk-mail, but a first-class, stamped personal letter.
With a real stamp on it, not a Pitney-Bowes machine pre-paid postage mark.
When is the last time you wrote a letter?
No, not a Christmas card or a birthday card, but a letter, with paragraphs and punctuation and penmanship all mixed together.
It has been a while for me too, but today I got a real letter.
Four pages! Handwritten! A letter from our long-time bank officer, caterer and counselor companion, Petite.
She even wrote it while sitting in a moving truck.
When I was a kid, letter writing was a chore.
Back then, writing a letter was all about thank-you notes or mandatory musings to the grandparents.
Handwriting letters was work.
Naturally, I preferred printing, not that handwritten, cursive stuff.
I had had much more experience with printing, plus printing looked like the books I read.
Who ever read a book in cursive?
Nonetheless, that forced adolescent writing that Mom encouraged successfully is the very reason I was thrilled today in receiving Petite’s missive.
I know how much time it took.
When you’re a kid, you’re in a hurry to get on to the next thing, not the next letter.
Yet, once I got a bit older,
I was writing letters to cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents just because
I wanted to.
Moreover, Mom was springing for the postage!
Today’s received letter reminded me why I don’t text or Twitter.
I have apparently outgrown the fast-food generation.
I am no longer in a hurry.
Let us visit, not mingle.
Give me a dialogue, not half a sentence.
Subcutaneous Q and A is no longer adequate.
Give me fathoms of depth-charged conversation.
Give me a letter with a four-page monologue that
I can touch and enjoy while reading at slow speed, and then re-read while smiling, holding the shared efforts of a friend.
Unlike e-mail and bulk mail, I do not delete personal letters.
Never have. Never will.
I save letters to enjoy again and again.
I still have Grandpa Freeman’s 1965 letter advising me that I needed to be me, not try to be him.
I still have Mom’s last letter to me.
Dad saved Grandma Freeman’s last letter to him.
Sentimental or in our genes?
In a hurry?
Not any more.
Like the song says, “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter, and I’m gonna make believe it came from you.”