Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Last Letter

Snail mail is becoming less important as technology now allows us to pay bills, do banking, shop and correspond from our computers. As I sorted through a weeks worth of flyers, political propaganda, and the stray bill still being mailed, I came upon a treasure, a hand written letter. I turned the delicate stationary over to confirm what I already knew. It was from my long time friend, Doris, who is the only person who still writes me letters. I ran my fingers over the front of the envelope and wondered if this would be the last letter I ever received.

As I unfolded the sheer, pastel stationary, I noticed how Doris’s penmanship had weakened. She is getting quite old and I hear from her less frequently. Having received something that must have taken an effort on her part, humbled me, and I savored each unsteady sentence. What a gift this letter was on this otherwise ordinary day. While I sat quietly reading the letter, I felt very close and somehow connected to Doris.

I was an avid letter writer when I was young. The letters flew across the states to cousins I saw only once a year. Recently one of those cousins scanned and emailed a letter I had written her 44 years ago. We laughed at my immaturity, but relished having this written history of our youth. I was amazed that she still had this old letter, but it took us back to our innocents for a little while.

I will answer Doris’s letter even though letter writing is already considered the way people used to communicate. I doubt that I will receive a reply so I will keep this one and take it out from time to time to feel the intimacy only this ‘last letter’ can give. Getting an email, tweet, or facebook 'like' is a fine thing, but it is nothing like receiving a letter.

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