I love writing letters. REAL letters, on stationery, with a pen or rollerball, and the (futile) art of keeping my handwriting legible.
Thank-you notes are my favourite. Unfortunately, sometimes I’m forgetful (well, actually I’m often forgetful!). And formal thank-yous — the kind you write higher-ups — are the worst, for me. Especially if I didn’t even attend the event. The flu hasn’t helped (N.B.: there really is such a thing as ‘flu brain’).
My father was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame last November. It’s a big deal, not just because he’s my father. Although certainly that’s the biggest part of it for me! But all the men and women inducted into the OMHoF are amazing: there’s not one who doesn’t deserve the space of book to tell the stories behind the names.
Since I was my father’s official ‘sponsor’ — even though it took all FOUR of his daughters, a niece, a nephew, and several other friends of the family to put together his packet for submission — I needed to write the thank-you that paid tribute to our ‘Ambassador,’ a lovely Major Roland, who made the submission process and subsequent celebration much easier than they might have been.
But the day of Daddy’s induction, I was in Birmingham, Alabama, at the 16th Street Baptist Church bombed in the Civil Rights Era, the church where four little girls in Sunday dress were murdered. I was part of the Oklahoma delegation to the Federation of State Humanities Councils, part of the NEH.
I’d like to think my dad would understand, as he often had to miss family events. But the conference wasn’t the end of it: then came Christmas, then health and travel and flu and… I finally wrote a VERY belated thank-you for all the wonderful help we received from Major Roland and others this past week. My beginner’s heart was heavy to begin with — it’s SO LATE! — but afterwards? I felt surprisingly good.
Much of my life is like that — tying up loose ends that I’ve let fall through the many cracks in my days. If cracks let the light in, boy: is my life filled with light! And of course, it is. Which almost certainly is the lesson I was supposed to learn months ago…!