For all my pontification about the plus side of letters for recipients (notably Ellen and Reid), there is another element to the single pages – a benefit, perhaps? – that has penetrated my thick skull over the weeks and months and years of words-on-paper effort.
To wit, each letter is as much for me as it is for the reader. I get as much out of the creation and sending as others get out of the receiving. Maybe more. For however long it takes to bang out 500 – 700 words (surely no more than 15 minutes) it is a period of enforced clarity. Some day I’ll strap on a blood pressure gauge and it is my uneducated guess that it will sink like a stone. That is how relaxing it is to me. The hubbub, stress, crushing frustration and pressure of a corporate day dissolves away.
More than anything, the process is cathartic. It causes me to personally validate what I am about to espouse; it causes me to seek the truth because that is the one thing my readers should expect; and it grants me the privacy to vent, rage, opine and otherwise display the full range of emotions. None of those are likely to surface to any degree in daily conversations or shortish phone calls and rampant text messages. I can look at the page – and at myself in the mirror if there were one nearby – and feel good in that what I have said and how I have felt about saying it indeed reflects my true being at the instant of creation. Letters have done a U-turn over the years from entertaining and distracting the kids from their own daily pressures to a regular this-is-where-your-dad-is-at-this-moment.
As is the Wednesday habit, here is a letter from yesteryear, i.e. Ellen’s time in college.
Well, summer is here. Just last week it was cool, now it’s near 90 with more to come. We’ll take it, however, as winter will come soon enough.
Reid has surprised us by literally bouncing out of bed at 6:30 every morning to head off to work in grubby jeans, inside out (?) t-shirts, and dusty work boots. He sure likes the cash, and by gosh he’s been saving a fair portion of it, too. One of the good sides is that he doesn’t stay out during the week nearly as late. Most nights, he’s here by midnight, although he crashes after work and snoozes pretty hard.
We’re catching ourselves with post-Scooter moments. When I get up, I think ‘oh, better let the dog out.’ Or, ‘better feed the dog’. We’ve got his picture and collar (with tags) prominently displayed. People have been sad to hear of his passing. Your mom says we see him up in the puffy white clouds.
Grandma and Grandpa headed for Sundance, Wyoming this morning. They’ll go through the old route via the Sand Hills of Nebraska. Grandpa wants to take a pilgrimage of sorts. He probably won’t get up there again.
Actually, they’re taking the same highway Bob F. and I took last Friday up to Ft. Robinson. It was a wet trip but still fun. We both just love the Sand Hills. No better ride on a beautiful day as far as we were concerned. We had one ticklish moment Saturday morning in the rain. Bob’s BMW bike almost didn’t start, and we were literally hundreds of miles from the nearest BMW dealership. I’m not sure what we would’ve done. Saw antelopes and deer and a few turtles. Saturday morning was 170 miles of solid rain. My face felt exfoliated from the stinging raindrops. We stayed with Ralph and Gayle Saturday night. Ralph was the same as usual: talk and tell jokes. He’s glad you’re doing well.
The countdown is on to your grandmother’s move. She’s just paralyzed with fear and angst. That drives Nancy and your mom nuts. Lots of TLC needed on this one. You can guess who will do the heavy lifting.
Knock on wood for me. Hope to hear relatively soon about ______________ or other significant work. I need to start pulling in a better income. Either that or get my new renovation column off the floor and up and running.
So, the mushroom goes into the bar and says ‘bar keeper, give me a beer.’ To which the bar keep says ‘we don’t serve your kind here.’ ‘Why not?’ replied the mushroom. ‘I’m a fun-gi.’ Get it?
That’s the best I can do. Let me know how things are going and what your schedule is. Toodle-ooh.