My friend Alison has been my one stalwart pen pal for the last 8 years…since I moved from Boston to North Carolina. Her letters come a few times a year, sometimes more, but they’re always a force to be reckoned with. She carries my letters around, waiting to reply to them, snatching moments to jot down her thoughts while out having ice cream with her daughters, during a free moment in her days as a high school art teacher, late at night when she can’t sleep. The letters arrive in a jumble–stretching weeks apart, often written on drawings done by her daughters, and always full of life.
Her handwriting moves from mildly legible to indecipherable the longer the writing stretch, but I move slowly over each word to gather the meaning.
I received just such a letter last week and it was a joy to read while sitting on my deck in the lunch-time sun, hearing about her recent adventure taking a train from Boston to Florida with her three daughters and husband, meeting her family from England there for an American vacation in the heart of theme-park Mecca. I felt like I was there by the pool with her, catching up. No email can take me to the places where Alison does with her letters.
Reading her letters is one of my great pleasures. And I’m so thankful to have them–and her–in my life.