Receiving hand-written letters or cards is the best feeling in the world. Well, usually. I suppose it depends on who you're receiving the letter from.
And, I have to make a confession; I can be a bit of a pack rat when it comes to old cards with a special message written inside or a letter that I've gotten in the mail from on old friend.
After I read a card or letter, I stash it away in a special box. The box usually just sits there, collecting dust in my closet. But, every time I get a new letter, birthday card or Christmas greeting, I open the box and read the old messages again.
About a week ago, I was organizing my office in my apartment and found a couple Christmas cards from this past year that had yet to be tucked away in the box.
So naturally, I got swept away in all of the old memories stored in those saved letters.
There are a few in there that are very special to me and those are usually the ones containing the shortest messages.
Opening an old card from my mom and dad that simply says "I love you" or "We're proud of you" can send me into hours of happy reminiscence.
But, one letter that always slips my mind until I come across it again, is from a person I've never met. It was sent in response to a column I wrote while I was working at the Mille Lacs Messenger.
It was just after I had lost my mom to cancer and I had written a column thanking people in the community.
The column went on to explain that I was most grateful for the people who knew my mother and had shared with me the happy memories they had of her.
The column was printed in the newspaper. Then, months later I received a strange letter in our mailbox.
The envelope had postage attached, but all that was written on the front was my full name followed by a question mark.
The top had a return address but the sender hadn't included their full name. I'll admit I was a little freaked and surprised it actually got delivered to me (thanks United States Postal Service).
It turns out the letter was sent by someone who knew my mother and read my column. She didn't know who I was but she wanted to share with me memories she had of my mom.
Then, of course, I come across a few birthday cards I've saved that aren't so much about what's written inside, but the memory attached.
For example, my grammy is the greatest and I know that every year on my birthday there will be a birthday card from her waiting for me in my mailbox.
But, for three years in a row my gram sent me the same exact birthday card. It was one of those cards that plays music every time you open it.
So, every time I'm looking through all my old cards and letters and I come across those three identical cards, I open each one and listen to it play "Word Up" all the way through, three times in a row.
I have to admit that it made me so happy to get such a silly card from my gram that I listened to each card so much. Now it doesn't play music anymore.
So, while sometimes shooting someone an email is so much quicker, let us not forget the joy of opening our mailbox to find that someone loves you enough to spend less than fifty cents to send you something other than a bill.
In fact, after rummaging through the box I finally sat down and wrote my best friend a letter.
Now, I just have to remember to mail it.