The Mail Truck

12 May

You see them every day, those mail trucks—boxy-looking, white with the USPS insignia prominently displayed on either side. They deliver birthday and sympathy cards, utilities bills, junk mail and, sometimes, letters from attorneys, or your church asking for special donations.

What we don’t see delivered so very often are the treasures of the past—those letters from Grandma with her second-grade scrawl, or those “letters-to-be-read-in-total-privacy” from that special young girl or boy.

The arrival of the mail truck no longer brings that sense of joyful anticipation and eager longing as you await word from that son or daughter in the military, in college, or, God forbid, in prison.

In present times, there are so few handwritten letters, so much “junk mail,” so few of those once-cherished Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogues, so little to anticipate. Even those retirement and social security checks can be sent directly into your bank account.

And those cherished phone calls are getting scarce. I like phone calls. You hear a voice. You hear inflections. You understand better the message being conveyed.

Am I just being old? Are the modern means of communication not serving us as well or even better—twitter, Face Book, Face Time, texting, and what have you?

I think not. Face Time aside, we are losing the wonderful gift of presence, that sense of really touching one another.

Texting is about as impersonal as you can get—to say nothing of dangerous while driving and even walking.

I do a lot of e-mail. You can’t fight them all. Nor can I send out a reflection or meeting announcement so quickly and inexpensively to large numbers of people.

Yes, I keep in touch with family and friends via e-mail—but I often call as well.

And I do have a blog—my concession to modern technology—for those who are spiritually desperate enough to follow my thoughts.

I cancelled Face Book. I grew tired of the lazy and superficial “Like” and “Don’t Like” and the voiceless comments that can sometimes be badly misunderstood or even crassly hateful.

Indeed, sometimes there were bits of wisdom and wit—but overall, I was left feeling lonely. I miss the personal touch—the sound of a voice, the touch of a handwritten letter.

And horrors! I heard recently that children are not being taught to write longhand! I wonder what would happen if we lost all electrical power?

Three cheers for that old mail truck.

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2 Responses to “The Mail Truck”

  1. Cheri Cowell May 13, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    I agree. I still send birthday cards and hand written thank you notes. Perhaps because it is so rare, they are cherished. My mother was right—the time it takes to write a card is time well spent investing the the joy of another.

  2. Tricia May 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    I have a box filled with the letters that went back and forth from my Mom and my Dad’s family to my Dad in New Guinea during WWII. They were in an old striped suitcase and bundled with ribbons. I have learned a lot about my extended family and parents from the few I have read and hope to copy them to disc for my children and their children. I don’t dare unbundle most now until I have the real time to absorb the content and rebundle properly.

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