Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Snail Mail 4 Realz

Letter writing is rapidly going the way of the dial-up modem... or the Dominion of Newfoundland, a country in its own right from 1907 to 1949, which included its own postage. As with all things Newfoundlander in my world, my shirt today was a gift from Brian and Lori (now of Paradise, NL)

The stamp on today's shirt was issued in 1941
In preparation for our wedding in May, I sent out invitations in advance of the prescribed six month margin because I didn't want to have our cards jumbled in (and possibly lost) with the Christmas mail rush. I have to admit that there was something very satisfying about addressing and stamping envelopes and stacking them neatly in readiness to be mailed. Furthermore, I made our invitations by hand, designing the functionality of the card myself so there was a lot of personal pride invested in the project. But once I mailed the little darlings, there was the WAITING. It was HORRIBLE. In our world of instantaneous response - text, Skype, email - waiting the week or longer for a response to an invitation is TORTUROUS.

And then, just when I thought everything was going so smoothly...

I went to the post office (well, the counter in the Shoppers Drug Mart really) to mail my very last batch of invitations last week because I had run out of stamps for invites going to the US and beyond. I had stamped one for the UK with the last of my stock but needed a stamp for another. The clerk at the counter looked at the one I had stamped and pointed out that I was short three cents on the postage. I stared at her blankly... I had mailed ALL the previous international invitations using stamps that had been living in my wallet for who knows how long. The fact that I hadn't heard from the recipients yet I had chalked up to them waiting to see if they'd be able to attend, get flights and accommodations, etc. It had never occurred to me that the cards would be stalled due to insufficient postage. But I hadn't gotten any back from Canada Post either. ARGH.

I sent out a few frantic emails to see if folks abroad had received their invitations but haven't heard back from the ones overseas. It appears that the US recipients have gotten theirs okay. So I'm giving it a few more days and then I'm sending out second invites in Christmas cards just to cover my bases. I plan on having far more ridiculous things on my mind in the new year.

All that being said, letter-writing (and receiving) is something we shouldn't lose. Penmanship is another. So my challenge to readers is to pick up a pen and paper today and write a note to someone, anyone. Buy the stamp (for sufficient postage), lick the envelope flap, mail the darned thing. It's a little like the whimsy of sending a message in a bottle ... with a better chance of a response. It also reminds us that some things don't need to be done RIGHT. THIS. INSTANT. that patience IS a virtue and that snapshot of a sentiment you send might catch someone off-guard in a happy way just when they need to hear it not when you needed to say it.