Going through some old files recently, I came across a stash of letters from me to my grandparents. It appears my Gram saved everything I wrote her.
It also appears that my mother struggled to make me write thank-you notes as a kid.
[Dear ___Grandma & Grandpa___,
Thank you so much for the __underwear & belt___. __They are___ absolutely __overwhelming__.
I had a wonderful Christmas and hope you had the same. I wish you the very best new year and hope it is as good as the last was.
Lots of love,
I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon! ]
I’m unclear if my mother actually typed up the form herself or if she bribed me with “using the typewriter!” as incentive to get my thank-yous written. Possibly a bit of both. In the pre-PC era, a form-letter approach clearly saved neither time nor effort.
I don’t remember being fascinated with typewriters (fascination with genres of public writing such as the form letter is another matter; still obsessed), but another page in the file suggests a love affair dating from at least February 1977:
(This page also suggests some confusion between how the 10’s go vs. how the 100’s.)
My original thought when I found this was that I might throw it up on Facebook come a Thursday, under the throwback hashtag. It’s certainly worth a giggle. Getting underwear for Christmas for a kid strikes me as being on rather the same plane of disappointment as the proverbial “husband buys wife a vacuum cleaner for her birthday” — but I seem determined to enthuse my heart out over them nonetheless!
Sitting with this note on my desk for the past week, though, has brought me to other thoughts. Like how often we thank others for large gestures, for the big things they do — and then let the small acts pass without comment. As if they matter less. As if it’s okay to just take them for granted.
As if our day doesn’t just go better when we have the right underwear on.
Small gestures of kindness are the lifeblood of a compassionate world, seems to me. So today I am doing shout-outs to some recent small things that I am hugely grateful for:
~The way the server at my favorite greasy spoon just brings me a diet coke with the menu, cuz he remembers it’s what I always order.
~The “thinking of you” cards that B sent me for many months after I got out of the hospital last summer, one of which now lives propped up on my desk:
~The unwavering friendliness of the people who work as doormen in my building, and how enthusiastically they return my “Hello!” every time — even when I am surely the ten-millionth resident that day to wave as I go by.
~How A invited me to join her at her barn after a recent difficult day, so that I could just hang out and pet a horse’s nose while she ran around doing Barn Things. (I am also grateful she lets me make the cake each year for said horse’s birthday party!)
~T’s fizzy, infectious, flirtatious enthusiasm when he couldn’t wait to show me a picture of his new crush.
~Whoever or whatever it was that recently directed me to Mark Watches, and thus to Mark Oshiro’s live-blogging as he works his way through fandom favorites like Star Trek and Supernatural for the first time.
~Which led me in turn to the wonderful world of Mark Reads, where he has done the monumental service of posting his way through the entire Twilight series so I never have to read them myself! Also, my new favorite .gif of all time.
~How K & E let me poach fresh basil from their backyard garden.
~L’s willingness to let a 10 am meet-up for coffee turn into a four hour marathon of “omg you’ll never believe what happened next…”
~The young store clerk who helped me pick out a new pair of running shoes while simultaneously carrying on a delectable conversation about her dreams of opening a pastry shop. Now I know how to ensure my egg whites “have legs” before I next make a meringue and that donut peaches make the best pies!
~Finally, I am grateful to you — any and all who are reading these words — for sticking with me to the blog-post end! And if any of you decide to share a small moment that was meaningful to you recently in the comments, I’ll be grateful for that too.
I might even be overwhelmed.