A box of sunshine

I am emitting an afterglow from one of life’s rare and simple pleasures – a good mail day.

We all have days when we dread taking in the mail because we know we’ll find nothing but bills, useless coupons or maybe a notice from the good people at the county traffic enforcement office, with a picture of our car enclosed. Or maybe we are awaiting news about  a job or a college application. Just approaching the mailbox can be anxiety producing.

My son wisely observed at a young age that any letter containing the word “however” is bad news: Thank you for interviewing for a position at Any Company. Your skills and experience are impressive.  However, . . ., usually followed by what might as well say, we think you are a big loser and insist that you never inconvenience us again with your pathetic excuse for a résumé.

We’ve talked about the decline in personal communication but, in my view, among the things that have suffered most are of the smile-producing variety–the personal letter, the hand-addressed greeting card and the thank you note.

While the three almost never come simultaneously, it’s a treat when at least there are no bills, no threats, no coupons for electrolysis or basement waterproofing and no glad tidings from any government entity because, let’s face it, except for a tax refund, those are seldom welcome. 

Yesterday our mailbox was graced by a little happiness.

Not only was there a friend’s thoughtful, handwritten–and hand-made–thank-you note for a gift given just two days before, but a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon from another friend who knows it’s my favorite. The pièce de résistance:  a letter to our son from the property management company for the college apartment he and his friend occupied for two years (ages 19 to 21). I braced myself for a nasty-gram accompanied by a hefty bill for damages, most likely caused by poor aim at a dart board, an illegal cat or worse. Instead, the letter said, “It is with great pleasure that we enclose a check in the amount of your full security deposit. The apartment was left in very good condition and you did a nice job of cleaning it. We thank you for taking such good care of the apartment and making sure that it was clean when you vacated.” 

I am a proud mother who had a good mail day. Can you feel the glow?


Filed under All Things Wordish, Family and Friends

3 responses to “A box of sunshine

  1. Deidra Darsa

    Kids. They always surprise you.

  2. Your son didn’t grow up in the UK, did he? I say that because those who spent their formative years in the 1960s and ’70s grew up knowing ‘however = bad news’. Wait … your son can’t be 40-something years old??!

    • No, he didn’t but since you asked… My son’s observation goes back to when he was 13. I was in aggressive job hunting mode after a devastating layoff. As the rejection letters came in (we knew they’d be rejection letters; if they were acceptances, they’d be phone calls), we had a little game where I would open the envelope and he would do a dramatic reading of the letter. This gave us both a laugh during a particularly diffifult time. It was then that the noticed – in every letter – “however…”

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