It arrived in my mailbox without fanfare, and even if it was written in a foreign language, upside-down and reversed, I would have known my sister's handwriting.
That's why I love handwritten anything. Isn't handwriting an extension of our thumbprint? As unique and distinguishable as our personalities, our faces, our DNA? We know our people by the way they write and I love that.
I love it.
Is it odd that I have this great affection for the way my people write? That I recognize them by the way they cross T's and dot I's and refuse to swirl a cursive Q the way we were taught in grade school?
What a peculiar quirk...to c a r e about and delight in my family and friend's handwriting.
I think it must've been born the year Mama died. She was the one who always signed my report cards to let my teacher know she knew how I was doing, and the last time she did was second quarter of third grade. After that, Daddy took over. I don't have anything else handwritten by my mother, so my 1st-3rd grade report cards are treasures.
I know she held them in her hands, studied my good marks, considered where I needed some help, and signed them proud of me. Maybe it's a stretch, but I see those report cards as a baton she's passed off to me--our fingers almost touch, only separated by time. I'm able to hold what she beheld.
And that hidden letter I found from my father. Every time I read it, I can see him, hear him, almost feel him. His handwriting speaks and its sweet embrace and I can't help but hold onto it for a little while longer than it takes to read.
Gosh, all those notes passed in class among friends--I KNOW my friends' handwriting after decades have gone by! Kimberly, Mandy, Lee, Suzanne, Cassie--it's a mental slide show as I think each name, and once I start thinkin' two dozen more click by in a snap--and I'd list them all but that would make for reading as tedieous as Old Testament geneologies. I'll spare you because this isn't even what I planned to write about when I started!
(Except it makes me sad for kids today because cell phones have likely eliminated this practice--remember the way we'd fold notes so they were self-sealing???)
Good gracious, sometimes my heart hijacks my brain and kidnaps my fingers for its own purposes.
What I meant to write about was receiving that note from my sister.
It was short, maybe three lines, and folded into thirds to fit the 3"x5" envelope was the Mutts comic strip pictured above.
It had made her think of me when she saw it.
So she took three minutes to cut it out and jot a note to tell me.
Not a text.
Not an email.
Not a Facebook status or tweet.
Not a blog post (oh, the irony...).
Just a handwritten note, from her hands to mine, a tangible expression of thought.
It cost her three minutes of time and the price of a stamp, but the value is immeasurable. The gesture made my day.
Today, I shall pay it forward. Today, I will mail a few snails.
A little thing that means so much.
Won't you join me?