This weekend I traveled to Denver to pay respects to a dear friend. The friend was actually my dad’s best friend from the Air Force but even over these many years, the friendship expanded beyond just the two of them. I’ve become friends with his kids and we’ve been there for each other. When my dad passed away, he jumped in the car and drove from Denver to Memphis to provide support to my brother and I. Since my dad’s passing, I relied on the friend to remind me of the funny stories about the two of them and their shenanigans back in the day. Based on their stories, I’m not sure how they ever stayed out of jail or worse. The friend would also tell me what he thought my dad would probably think regarding recent issues on politics and the way the world was shaping which helped me make some decisions of my own. I’ll miss our conversations even though we hadn’t talked in a while.
While I was in town, I met up with his kids and they shared with me they found some letters that my dad had written (well, typed on an actual typewriter) to their dad back in 1968. As I read them, I could hear my dad’s voice. The letters themselves were hilarious on many levels. First of all, it was clear my dad was a writer and a good story teller. Secondly, my dad was drunk when he wrote the letters. My dad was notorious for calling his friend at 2AM to chat about life. It’s funny to think that the way we used to communicate was by phone or by written (or typed) letters…we’ve come a long way.
Last month, I met up with a good friend was visiting and we were talking about our birthdays. I asked – did you get my card? She responded ‘Yep, you and my grandma always send a card.’ As my own birthday approached I found myself anxious to get to the mailbox to find out if anyone sent me a card. I got 3. One from my mom, one from my mother-in-law, and one from my husband (he didn’t mail his). I did however get about 20 texts from various friends and family and several Facebook wishes. Now I’m not asking anyone to send me a card but when did we get so impersonal? Is it impersonal? Or have we just gotten more efficient with our communication?
When was the last time you wrote or typed a letter to a friend? Not an email but an actual letter. As I visit the card store from time to time, it doesn’t look like they are suffering. My thought around sending cards is I want the person to know I was thinking of them and took the time to go to the store, pick out the perfect card, put a stamp on it, and mail it. This isn’t to say that I don’t write emails, I do plenty of that during the day for work. Maybe that’s just it…I enjoy taking a break from the digital world of communication.
Reading my dad’s letters to his friend has inspired me to do the same. Who doesn’t love getting a letter from a friend?!? It’s a good reminder to unplug from our digital world and reconnect with those we love.