I was talking to a good friend of mine who is definitely a BO, and I asked her, “Have you ever not written a thank you note for a gift or having a meal at someone’s house and such?” She answered immediately, “Oh no! Never! Energy drain!” She’s a massage therapist and has studied a great deal in the holistic health field. She went on, “If I didn’t take care of a thank you as soon as possible, I wouldn’t be able to get my mind off the person. Why would someone not take care of it right away?”
Well, Miss BO, we have a legitimate reason! We’re creative. Our creativity gets in the way of getting a quicky thank you (it takes less than five minutes to write a thank you note, address an envelope and put a stamp on it) off in the mail.
Years ago, when my sister’s neighbor was killed in a freak accident (he got caught between two boxcars) we were all devastated. His poor wife was left with three small children and our hearts were broken for the family.
My sister spent an hour at the Hallmark store looking for just the right sympathy card, but none seemed to fit the situation. She went home and called me saying she’d like to write her own sentiment and could I help her. Of course I was moved to be part of a thoughtful note to convey our sympathy. I told her to write something and I would make it rhyme.
With the thought of a poetic epistle, she got the idea to apply her pen and ink techniques she’d learned in an art class she’d taken.
By the time she wrote the message and I made it rhyme, and she brushed up on her calligraphy skills and found just the right parchment paper and the right frame for her masterpiece, her friend had remarried!
She never got a single word from my sister or me! And the guilt we both carried caused us to hide behind cereal displays at the grocery store when we saw her and look the other way when passing in our cars. Once we got organized we decided, when you care enough to send the very best, let Hallmark do it!
I was talking with my daughter Peggy today and I told her about the woman who felt guilty because she hadn’t sent out thank you notes for her wedding gifts. (Her wedding was 43 years ago and she’d been divorced for 39 years.) Peggy laughed and said, “Oh mom, I’ve never told you this before because I’ve been too embarrassed, but I never sent out thank you notes for the baby shower for Jacob.” (Jacob turned 20 this year.)
She continued, “I know what happened. I was eight and a half months pregnant at the shower and I decided that when the baby was born I’d dress him in each outfit, take a picture of him and put the picture in each thank you note. Then, well you know what happened. Papa died, Jake had to have open-heart surgery and I was a basket case for a long time.”
I said, “You know you could send each person a baby shower thank you note now (you remember everyone who was there) and slip a little note in it that says, ‘Thank you so much for the outfit you gave me for Jacob. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit him now, and if I could exchange it for his size I don’t think he’d wear it as he’s an intern with Microsoft and finishing up his second year at the University.”
Can you imagine getting a thank you note like that? I would love it! Do you have a story to share with me? I’d love to know what kind of thank you cards you owe and what came between you and the mailbox. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.