Don’t you love getting mail? I don’t mean all the junk mail everyone still gets or magazines. I surely am not talking about the bills. I mean a letter or a post card sent to you by someone that cares. There’s just a feeling you get when you see your name hand written on an envelope or a card. It will always make my day.
Unfortunately, those cards and letters just don’t come anymore. The effort it took to write has been replaced by e-mails, Twitter accounts, Facebook and other social networks. Granted, there is an instantaneous gratification that comes with all these new forms of communication, but is it really the same? Can you truly write a love letter in 140 characters? Would your want to pen your ode to love in an e-mail or post it on Facebook?
As a kid, our family always got mail. The church mail for the congregation my father served came to the house. I can’t remember a day there wasn’t mail in our box, a lot of mail. I’d race to the porch often needing two small hands to get it all. I’d dig through it, and on that rare occasion there was a letter for me, I was overjoyed.
While traveling through Europe for four months in 1972, communication from home came in letters sent to local American Express offices in major European cities. It took careful planning and coordination. How I cherished those letters as I read and reread them in my tent each night. I can’t even describe the empty feeling when we’d miss each other and there was no mail. In return, my letters had to fit onto the light blue “Par Avion” paper that required careful folding. I have never written in letters so small as there was always so much to say about our grand adventures.
During my years in Arizona, I’d write weekly to friends Mark Nordstrom and Mike Turnbull. They did so in kind. In four years, I never lost touch with them or they with me. I knew about everything that was Topeka even while gone. It always felt so good to see their handwriting on the front of a letter in the mailbox.
Sadly now, my mail has dwindled down to just the junk and magazines. Most bills are electronic. There are now days when Laura and I don’t get mail. How sad. It is no wonder that the U.S. Postal Service is asking for five-day delivery with Saturday delivery dropped. With the debt the Postal Service faces, it is sure to eventually happen.
It still amazes me every time I stamp a letter and drop it into a mailbox. For just 44 cents that letter will find its way to its intended mailbox in just a day or two. That still seems like one great deal to me.
So, I am promising that I will take the time to write letters again to friends, drop a picture postcard from our travels to family, send love notes to my wife, write to my daughters telling them how much I love them. I hope they will do the same because the feeling of finding a letter or a card addressed to me will mean just as much as it has for years and years even if I can’t get it on Saturday.