If you think a ton of sweat equity is poured into each letter, well, that isn’t so. Love maybe, but not sweat equity.
Take this morning’s usual Friday letter to my parents for example. (Read today’s letter below.)
527 words. Probably 10-12 minutes from start to finish although I rarely put myself on the clock. 14 point type (Times New Roman. My dad was a newspaper guy so he identifies with TNR).
I keep a cheat sheet of eligible topics tacked to my office wall for the kids. Not so with my parents. I literally go with the flow. Part of the mental prep for each letter is stowed away as the week drags on. I’ve been doing this for so long it just sort of pours itself out onto the page. It’s a logistical snap. Easy as pie.
A note about “re-do’s.” Never. If I spent all my time fine tuning or crafting the letter to end all letters, nothing would ever get out the door. If I notice a typo it gets fixed. Otherwise, out the letter goes, warts and all.
February 12, 2010
Mom and Dad: They – the @%$#*^ forecasters that is – say Charlotte is going to get about three inches of snow tonight. Man, I’d move further south but there’s nowhere to go beyond Key West unless I want to speak Cuban. My little plastic snow shovel is going to get plumb worn out with all this pushing of flakes. Worse yet, it has forced me to scrub my golf game at precisely the time I need to play most. I’m going stir crazy over all of this. But such is the fate the weather Gods toss our way.
Ralphie finally got his birthday box of goodies laden with 60-ish items and some reminders that he should have fun while he can; i.e. he got crayons and a tablet to doodle on with a notation to send his art to the grandkids; a world map with instructions to go wherever the dart sticks; a daily journal to relax and keep his thoughts; a box of chocolates so he can be nice to his sweetie. That sort of thing. I just couldn’t think of anything to give the guy that already has everything.
I’ve had about all the turning-60 jokes that I can handle. I don’t care what you tell me, I’ve heard them all, and more than once. If there is one more mention of AARP applications or hearing aids or canes or Viagra, I’m going to vomit. But all of it has been good natured and that’s what counts. Some of the cards, unsuitable to share in this space, are absolutely hilarious in their own mean ways. Even your other son has piled on, and on.
Looks like I’ll be trekking up your way in April for the annual Drake Relays golf event. I’ll fly into Omaha to see you guys and rent a car for the trip. Are you absolutely certain your snow will be gone by then? Maybe I should send photos of green grass so you’ll remember what it looks like. Dad, we need to get this hip replacement thing figured out and perhaps by then I can help you a little bit.
Not much news on the kids. Reid’s doing okay with his agency situation. There was a minor earthquake in Chicago earlier this week but he slept through it. Figures. It could’ve been 7.0 magnitude and he would’ve just rolled over. Ellen is just plodding along, working more than she should. She’s really into yoga (in part, I think, to combat stress) so much so that she is the only person I’ve ever heard of who wore out a yoga mat. Betsy and Bob were in Chicago this week and took Reid out for dinner. He called late last night to report in but I was already in the sack. I’ll talk to him sometime today. There is one lead in the digital world that I need to pass along to him.
It was cold yesterday morning so I tossed a fleece vest over my shirt and tie while I read the paper and slurped coffee. Suddenly it occurred to me that I must’ve looked like Mister Rogers incarnate. Not a very pretty thought.