snail mail

On Black Friday – that ultimate day of impatience, I am reminded of snail mail ( sending a letter by carrier ) and when long distance calling was far too expensive and letters, hand crafted, were the best way to hear from people far away.

Before email, we waited impatiently checking the mailbox each day for a letter. Then there was a special way to read each letter. The initial urge was to rip it open and devour it like a child with sweets, but then we wondered could it be bad news, maybe I should wait and would set it down — walk two steps away then rush back and tear it open.

Every letter got several readings, and parts read out loud ( content permitting ) to the rest of the family. The first reading was a mad rush through and then the second more closely, and then we might set it down for a day or three, then return and read it thinking of what was implied and not said, or why was one word chosen instead of another.

To me, this was always the best reading – and the one that the reply came from.

I don’t write letters by hand anymore, I’d have to include a Rosetta Stone to decipher the hieroglyphs, but if you’ve sent me a long email and haven’t received a prompt response take comfort in the realization that I am likely savoring each word before crafting a response.