as you probably already know, i love letters. old, new, handwritten, typed. i just love them. the idea that someone takes the time to stop and write. it's special. on a recent trip to an antique shop, an old letter caught my eye. the handwriting was beautiful and it looked like something i would like, so i didn't stop to read it there, i just put it in my pile of purchases. once i arrived home, i took a moment to read it. and i could not believe how beautiful that letter was. it is dated June 28, 1892 and was a bit difficult to read, due to the old fashioned writing and the many folds in the paper. but here it is:
Gertie, my Dear Child,
I think this is the first letter I ever tried to write to you and I hardly know how to write this. But I expect to be away from home all day Tuesday (which is your 14th birthday) and cannot talk to you nor scold you nor whip you so concluded to do the next best thing. In this little box you will find a ring, a present from your father. Now Gertie you cannot find the end of this ring. Neither will you find the end of Fathers love. Keep this ring and let it always remind you that the surest way to happiness is to do all you can to insure the happiness of those with whom you associate and when trouble and disappointments come (as they will) remember this too will pass. Keep cheerful always. Father
i love how it has been folded many times. i imagine dear Gertie treasured this letter and perhaps kept it in a special box and reread it many times.
yesterday, i received the most wonderful gift. i was walking my son to school, as always, when a car pulled up and a woman got out and walked towards us. she said she had something for me. for me? yes, for me. she handed me an envelope and she smiled and hopped back into her car. i was really surprised but somehow i knew. i knew that there was something really special in that envelope. maybe it was her kind smile or the friendly air she had about her. i don't know. but i took one look at my son and we both smiled and said, "open it". and inside was the most beautiful and heartfelt letter i have ever received. it brings tears to my eyes, even now, after reading and rereading it so many times. apparently, she sees me and my son walking every day. and it reminds her of when her son was young and she walked him to school every day. and it brings her joy. and she wanted to tell me that. and that is why i love letters so much. this kind woman chose to write me a letter and tell me that we brought her joy. and this simple action brought me joy. and brought my son joy. and that is such a special gift. for a while now, it has been a goal of mine to write letters. to let someone know when they have affected me in a positive way. and i have. but this really reinforces it. now that i am on the receiving end of it, i see how truly wonderful it is. the next time someone brings you joy, take a moment. let them know. you won't regret it.