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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Three Day Rule

Letter writing is almost a lost art now days with email, tweet and cell phones with their texting capabilities. Everything is instant and immediate. I still like to get letters and I have a few old friends that I still mail them to. When someone writes you a letter you know that person has taken time from their busy day, thought of you, and put their thoughts down on paper. As I have become older my handwriting has suffered and I now use the computer to compose my letters. What is the sense of sending a letter if the person at the other end can't decipher it. I draft them, then go though them again and sometimes a third or forth time to make sure they are representative of what I want to say.

There are the form letters we all receive from different companies or entities who want to sell us something or get us to vote a certain way. For the most part they are just exploiting the art of letter writing making their letter fit all sizes and shapes. There is nothing personal about getting a letter like this.

But a person who sits down and writes to you personally and articulates their thoughts without the text jargon and tweet limitations and then puts your address on it, affixes a stamp and mails it to you is a special gift when you go to the mail box. That letter is also something that you can set aside and read over and over. I found this out when my good friend Tony passed away. His son wrote me and told me Tony had saved my letters about our lifestyle here in the mountains and when his children came to visit him he would pull one of my letters out to share with his kids. Hand written letters don't wear out.

So what is the three day rule mentioned in the title? Well, when I mustered out of the military after serving two hitches I went to work for Hartford Ins. Company. My first manager - Ed - in Ft. Myers, Fla. had a three day rule on letters. It impressed me as having much merit so I use it to this day. His rule applied to letters that the recipient might find fault with, not fully understand or could be offensive. It actually applies to any letter. Ed would set that letter aside for three days. On the third day he would re-read it and if he still thought it accurate and representative of his thoughts he would send it. If it wasn't exactly the way he wanted it he would re-do it and let it sit for another three days. If he decided it wasn't needed he would just throw it away. I have found that to be a good rule in this age of instant communications. When you send off an email or text it is instantly on its way and you can't get it back. If it is not fully representative or done in haste it is too late as its already gone. The old way of letter writing has its benefits and you could look over your thoughts and product and change it if necessary.

It is always a special treat to get a letter from an old friend and so if you haven't done so lately I suggest you sit down and pen your thoughts to someone you care about or love and set it aside and review it in a day or two and if it is an accurate reflection of your thoughts, address an envelope, stamp it and put it in the mail. The person at the other end will appreciate your taking time to connect with them and maybe an old system will be revised in the process. Maybe you will get a letter back and you will know the happiness of being a recipient of a letter. Maybe old fashioned letter writing is a way to let that special person know you are thinking about them and took time out of your hectic day to communicate with them. There are some things from the past that still have tremendous value and letter writing is one of them.


1 comment:

Carol said...

another good thing about these letters is that unlike texting or email, the letter NEVER goes to the wrong person! it has only happened to me a couple of times that an email that I have written has gone to an unintended recipient. that has never happened with a handwritten letter!