Missing the days of letters


A letter arrived in the mail. Not a bill, not an advertisement, not a circular, not a request for money, not a subscription due notice, not a dental appointment reminder, not a Christmas letter about people I don't know, but an actual letter with news about what is going on in the life of a dear friend.

After reading the letter, I knew just a little bit more about this friend for she told me about her day-to-day thoughts and activities as well as the special events she and her husband shared in the last few weeks. I felt a tug at my heartstrings, and the ties between the two of us strengthening.

Not only was this two-page, newsy letter about daily and ordinary things, it was written on pretty notepaper. I know you think I am making this up because it is a rare happening in this day of email, texting and other ways of communication that I know little about. I still think twittering is for the birds. (I know, that was bad.)

When hearing about the possibility of no mail delivery by the post office on Saturdays, a friend commented, "I don't care. The only things I get in the mail are bills. They can wait until Monday."

It wasn't always that way. Growing up in rural Nebraska, I waited impatiently by the mailbox at the side of the road for the carrier to bring me the long letters from my pen pals who were scattered across the world. I wrote faithfully to my pen pal in London until one day I realized the letters had stopped. Today, I have regrets. Think about all that I would have discovered about this person who lived on another continent.

My mother was a faithful writer when I was away from home attending summer camps and later college, but it was my brother's letters that warded off the homesickness that struck ever so often. I still remember one letter when he told me to smell the words on the paper for he was eating his favorite lemon drops while writing. It still makes me smile.

Several summers ago, while cleaning, I found letters my mother had written to her three small granddaughters. One still contained a wrapped piece of candy, now brittle but still full of memories.

Do I care if there is no mail on Saturdays? Maybe. I am glad I didn't have to wait over the weekend to get this wonderful letter from my friend.


Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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