What is Average?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average family size is currently 3.14 people. There is nothing average about that. How do you have a .14th of a person? My husband and I once had an averaged sized family, one son and one daughter. That was when I was writing the story . . .
Then I gave God the pen.

Our Yearly Tradition: Leavenworth After Christmas

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snail Mail is Worth the Wait!

A part of my heart flew to Ft. Benning, Georgia a few months ago. Our son, Austin, enlisted in the United States Army and just finished basic training. He is now at Airborne School.

When Austin left for basic last October,we knew he would have to surrender his cell phone and that letters would be his only form of communication for four months. Knowing that he had rarely mailed a letter, I asked him if he knew how to address an envelope.

“Mom, really?” He sounded insulted. “I’ve just filled out a ton of paperwork for enlistment that required me to write our address at least ten times.” Then he rattled off our address like a seasoned kindergartener who knows the entire alphabet.

His girlfriend jokingly gave a quick explanation of where the “to” and “from” address goes on the envelope and where the stamp belongs. We all laughed about it, knowing that handwritten letters are a thing of the past. Texting and e-mail is the preferred choice of communication.

Cartoon Parade just ran a comic that portrayed a woman who opened the front door to her boyfriend. He had a bouquet of roses in his hands. The caption said, “We broke up, Stuart – don’t you read your e-mail?” I chuckled for a moment, but the reality is that often times we receive a life changing message through electronic means.

Handwritten letters are historic, one could say. Antique shops have treasured letters dated from over a half century ago from people who were away at war or had moved far away from family.

We all wondered if Austin would actually write letters to the family while he was at basic training.

Packed and ready to go, we took him to the recruiting station. The parents received a quick briefing.

“Your sons and daughters will be able to stay in limited phone contact for a few days. After that, all electronics will be locked down and handwritten letters will be their only contact with family and friends.”

We hugged Austin goodbye, knowing we would see him the next day in Seattle at the swearing in ceremony. That evening I packed up some writing paper, envelopes, and stamps for Austin to take with him to Georgia.

Early the next morning before we left to the swearing in, I asked his best friend to put the stamps on the envelopes so that they wouldn’t get lost. I left the room for a moment, and when I returned I found Austin’s friend putting the stamps on the wrong corner of the envelopes!

I smiled to myself and thought fondly of the conversation we had a few nights before about writing letters and addressing envelopes.

Yes, a part of my heart is still in Ft. Benning. But this momma’s heart is just delighted, because we have received eight of the most glorious handwritten letters from our soldier!

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