In a typical week I send at least two sets of letters. Mondays are for the kids; Fridays are for letters to my parents. This pattern has gone on for the last few years since I moved from the Midwest to Charlotte.
My folks are no different than yours: they want to know what you’re up to, what you’re doing (and why), and how their grand kids are (but not necessarily in that order). In a nutshell, they get the assurance that things are okay because that’s really what they want from me: the assurance that things are okay. The Friday notes are a little more emotional because it is my direct tie to them. Their world is not so much online or texting or electronics. My perception is that what appears on paper is more real and identifiable for them. They came from the age of ink on paper.
There’s not too much grandiose about what mom and dad receive. It’s fairly humdrum. The content differs markedly from what the kids see, it’s just that my parents get a ‘large print’ format. Here are a few paragraphs from today’s letter to Barb and Ralph:
January 29, 2010
Mom and Dad: So much for the alleged nice weather that is supposed to come with Southern climes. We’re supposed to get dumped on tonight and tomorrow (probably a pittance by your standards), and no doubt in our generalized panic the stores will be barren of the staples of bread, milk and other sundries. I think I can get by with what is in the pantry. I’ve got beer, too. Sorry to see that you guys have been hammered by cold. If your freezer breaks down you could just leave the perishables outside. Drat, there will be no golf this weekend.
My Camry is among the hordes of Toyotas slated for this recall thing. Something about the gas pedal that causes cars to speed uncontrollably. I’ve not had anything wrong to date, but it gives one pause. Their reputation is about to get dinged if it hasn’t already. No word on when I take the beast in for the repairs. Could be a few months down the road. In a silver lining, if a trooper pulls me over for speeding I could always blame it on the gas pedal, not the user.
No other real word from the kids. Ellen is freezing in St. Paul; Reid is staying typically mum in Chicago. They’re just getting on with their lives, basically. Ellen is working hard to find a new teaching gig and Reid seems to be getting on pretty well at the ad agency. He’s really sharp on that stuff (while is old man is as dull as a used kitchen knife). He bought himself a new digital Nikon and in theory he’s to begin sending me photos of things he shoots.
I would hope that you will get me nothing for my 6_th birthday. Honestly, there is nothing I want beyond an improved golf swing and ability to focus more on the golf course and there’s not a hell of a lot you two can do about either of those wants. Your other son is insistent on me coming out there for a joint celebration at his expense, but I’m resisting the overture because I’d just like to stay put for a while. The last travel experience around the holidays, while not quite as bad as you guys had it last week, is still fresh in my mind. That would be enough to keep anyone at home. Especially a couch potato like me.