200 Words (or so) Letters From Home

The ability to write with clarity and emotion is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I do not know from whom this gift descends, mom or dad. Dad loved to read, while mom enjoyed crossword puzzles. I love to do both. Dad and mom also enjoyed writing letters to friends and family, the only inexpensive way to keep in touch with folks in the states while we traveled the world as an Air Force family; overseas phone calls cost too much. I remember dad had such a beautiful hand; I guess I can thank mom for my chicken scratch. The difference between their letters, though, lay in the emotion.

Dad wrote of weather, local events, provided advice, and admonished me to write home more often. Mom’s letters contained heartwarming news of family. Her words tugged at my heart when she described the little things that reminded me of the home and family I missed so much. Dad’s love came through in his letters, but not the same way as in mom’s. His expression of love remained in the background, the way a constant sound fades into apparent silence: always there, but not evident unless looked for.

Mom’s expression of love came through in every word. She chose words that conveyed the warmth of the kitchen, the aroma of Sunday breakfast before church, the togetherness of family watching television together, the sound of the mower as dad mowed the lawn, the comforting sound of the box fan that lulled me to sleep on hot Tampa nights.

I guess both mom and dad taught me to write. When I write, I can tell a story or describe a scene from my front porch, or just pass the time of day, like dad. Like mom, I can fill the page with memories of home and family, of past loves and lost loves, of hope for the future, and joy for today. And, hopefully, draw a tear and a smile from my readers.

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