Tonight I am holding in my hands two letters, written a day apart over fifty years ago. The first one caught my eye because it is in Daddy’s handwriting, and he doesn’t write many letters. The second, written the day after, was from Mom, a very prolific letter writer. Each was a note of condolence to my Great-Aunt Evelina, whose husband had just died. Each was such a perfect reflection of its writer, and I know they provided great comfort to my aunt.
What makes these letters special to me is how they evoke memories of all four of these people who held very precious places in my heart. Daddy’s was a very straightforward statement of faith: “There’s a definite reason why things have to happen this way, but as long as we’re here on this earth, we are not meant to understand. Berry was never very strong on church-type religion and neither am I, but there is a Big Gunner who calls all the shots. I believe this firmly, but also know how hard it is to stand by these convictions all of the time. All of our sympathies are with you.”
Mom’s went right to feelings, which is where she generally went. “I want to tell you somehow how much we cared for Uncle Berry and how much we will miss him, too. My little family and I have had so many wonderful times with him, especially since we have been in California. I’m so happy and proud that my kids got to hear his funny and wonderful tall tales. And that Don [my daddy] and Berry had such good visits together.”
I’m not sure how I am going to showcase these letters on an album layout, but they are begging to be shared. Not just for now, while I still remember the good times with my great-aunt and uncle, but for later, so that my children and grandchildren can learn about their uncle the rodeo cowboy and ranch hand, who taught his parakeet how to drink whiskey from his glass, and took his grumpy little niece for a ride on his horse and yodeled her to sleep in his arms.
What treasures are hiding in your home somewhere, waiting for “just the right moment” to share? Is that moment today?