The Next Best Thing



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From an 2009 blog post I ran across today:

In the days of cell phones, email, and text messages, letter writing can seem hopelessly outdated. But it’s an art worth bringing back, and not because of some misplaced sense of nostalgia either. The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you’re eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why?

Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest. The paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. The recipient handles the paper that you handled. Letters create a connection that modern, impersonal forms of communication will never approach.

Today I received a letter from my Dad.  He is 96 years old now and arthritis makes it difficult for him to write, so he types short (and very welcome) letters.  In this one Dad commented on the heat in Arizona, over 100 degrees, and said he remembers working in the fields at home in that temperature…

One day we were in a field next to a bank with a constantly flowing cold spring.  We made many excursions to it.

Even our horses had their hats, straw hats with cutouts for the ears.

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