Thank you for think­ing of me

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - COMMUNITY - Sara Jewell Sara Jewell is a free­lance writer who lives near Port Howe. Visit her web­site at www.sara­jew­ell.ca.

When the birth­day card ar­rived in the mail, I could tell that it was the kind that comes with fundrais­ing re­quests. There is noth­ing wrong with those cards, and this one had a lovely paint­ing of a hum­ming­bird and a pur­ple iris on it. What sur­prised me was that my long­time friend would send one of those cards to me be­cause they are rather generic.

In­side, how­ever, Jen­nifer had writ­ten: “I think we can agree that this is an unin­spir­ing birth­day card but it oc­curred to me that if I used a card on hand rather than try­ing to find the per­fect one in a store then I might ac­tu­ally get the card writ­ten and in the mail on time!”

She was ab­so­lutely cor­rect: it meant more to have my birth­day re­mem­bered and to see her fa­mil­iar hand­writ­ing on that generic birth­day card than to have re­ceived an email or a mes­sage via Face­book be­cause she didn’t man­age to get the per­fect card.

Jen­nifer’s de­ci­sion to use the card she had on hand re­minds me of my mother-in-law and the draw­ers full of cards in her din­ing room buf­fet. I’ve al­ways ad­mired Mary’s com­mit­ment to ac­knowl­edg­ing ev­ery oc­ca­sion, whether it’s a birth­day or an­niver­sary, surgery or be­reave­ment, and she told me she wants peo­ple to know she cares.

“My phi­los­o­phy in life is ‘Do unto oth­ers as you would have them do unto you,’” she said. “I send cards to peo­ple to let them know I’m think­ing about them hop­ing they will soon be feel­ing bet­ter or that I am happy for them or that I feel badly for them be­cause they have lost a loved one.”

Given the price of some of the cards, and the cost of stamps, it’s un­der­stand­able that most of us choose to email, text or mes­sage some­one, but we lose a tan­gi­ble con­nec­tion when we don’t have an en­ve­lope to open and a card to hold in our hands.

Jodi De­long, a writer, pho­tog­ra­pher, ed­i­tor and gar­dener who lives in Wolfville, also re­fuses to give up the ex­pe­ri­ence of send­ing cards, and uses her com­mit­ment and stock­pile to sup­port lo­cal artists.

“I keep a stash of hand­made cards on hand for pop­ping in the mail in times of ill­ness or loss,” Jodi ex­plained, “be­cause a hand­made card may not cure the sor­row, but it’s apt to bring a lit­tle bit more com­fort than a sev­en­dol­lar, mass-pro­duced card from the lo­cal de­part­ment store.”

Com­ment­ing on an In­sta­gram photo of pretty notepa­per, Amanda Cashin, a pho­tog­ra­pher who lives in East Lawrence­town, ex­pressed the wish that card and let­ter writ­ing wasn’t con­sid­ered old-fash­ioned.

“We need more of th­ese mind­ful, re­flec­tive prac­tices in the world right now,” she wrote. “I love to sit and choose the right card for the right per­son, and I re­ally en­joy the process of prac­tic­ing grat­i­tude.”

Amanda said she even sends a thank-you card to her hair­dresser af­ter a good hair cut. My moth­erin-law will be so de­lighted with that, she’ll likely send Amanda a card telling her how much she en­joyed reading about her in this col­umn.

That can hardly be con­sid­ered a re­sound­ing man­date.

Not un­ex­pect­edly, the Internet was full of com­men­ta­tors lament­ing the poor turnout in the days fol­low­ing the vote. There were the tra­di­tional ar­gu­ments about “if you don’t vote, you can’t com­plain about what gov­ern­ment does.”

There were those who called for vot­ing to be­come manda­tory and those in re­but­tal who claimed manda­tory vot­ing was a vi­o­la­tion of their per­sonal free­doms. So is vot­ing a right or an obli­ga­tion?

Ac­cord­ing to the Gov­ern­ment

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