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A Written Tradition

I compare the opening of my mailbox to that of the hopeful feeling you get when scratching a scratch ticket..

My heart skips a beat and small bits of joy dance into my soul to form a subtle smile across my face when I hear the familiar sound of the mail truck as it pulls up to my mail box.

I compare the opening of my mailbox to that of the hopeful feeling you get when scratching a scratch ticket, pulling a lever on a slot machine, or listening to the numbers called out in a raffle…

There could be just a chance that something wonderful might be inside my mailbox – personally addressed to me!

It is a contagious feeling.

I know people say snail mail has its drawbacks, but one of my most favorite things is receiving cards and packages in my mailbox.

I actually received two belated Christmas cards this year. One from a good natured friend who, when looking at my display of Christmas cards, noticed her family card was not amongst the collection adorning the walls of my kitchen… And another from a beloved friend’s  sister, who’s little babes stood -- as sweet siblings should -- holding hands beneath a set of words reading, “All You Need is Love."

Both made me smile.

I guess this euphoric reaction to the deliveries made by the U.S. Postal system must stem from my childhood.

When I was little my Grandmother, known to us as "Nana," would send me letters quite frequently. One of my favorite things to do was to read about the crazy cold weather they had up in Maine. I could picture her in my head as she would write about the chickadees and red cardinals that would visit her newly hung homemade bird feeders.

Her letters were filled with stories of life in a remote northern New England town. The winters were harsh yet beautiful.  The summer months plagued with black flies yet skies filled with shooting stars and fourth of July sparklers. There were tales of bears and wolves, foxes and deers.

She would write of Grampa and his travels with tree cutting, his carving, their church, choir, the library, families with children that she had met and adopted as her own --and loved throughout her journey.

She would fill her letters with love – so much love that you could almost hear her speaking through the gentle loops of her cursive handwriting.

Her letters were almost always written in blue ink on stationery given to her by us. She had an enormous desk with a pull down cover that contained quite a bit of stationery, lovely cards and papers with matching envelopes.

The stamps on the envelopes would be of the blessed mother, flowers or some sweet critter. Often the stamps would be placed upside down on the envelopes as an extra display of her affection for us.

My sister has kept most of those letters. I come across a few of my own every now and then tucked into books or photo albums. I wished I had saved more of them.  The ones I have are cherished pieces of her... Preserved memories of a loving grandmother that I am glad I saved, no matter how silly it seemed at the time.

I will occasionally break them out and reread them. I run my hand across the pages. Touching her writing helps me to see her face, hear her voice, sense her near… They bring me peace with the recollection of such fond memories.

Today, I still cannot resist a package of stationery on sale in the clearance aisles at Michales. Although, I never have time to write on them. Part of me wishes I could send her a package of them --  even though the world lost her beautiful presence a few years ago now.

We miss her. She was a gentle soul… of beauty and faith.

My own mom and mother-in-law like to send my children cards and packages in the mail. Probably, because they secretly felt the same way about receiving written letters in the mail from their mothers or grandmothers. My children get that same sparkle in their eye when a small surprise package or note arrives for them and it is not their birthday…  A written tradition, I guess...

A gift passed along..

~ Like a hug from heaven.

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