Do you remember when we were young and free from concerns of time and place, and when we would encounter eternal moments by chance? We would drive east along prairie highways that rolled and snaked through broad meadows of tall bleached corn stalks, fenced by wooded domes and moated by crumbling gullies.
It was during the literal hour our folks taught us to call evening. Behind us, the retiring sun reddened every shiny facet of flora that had invisibly reflected the sunlight at noon. Now it gave creation a Sleepy Hollow cast, and we sped through together, alone, without fear, intent on capturing the treasured moment forever. But we envied Katrina Van Tassel her realm and longed to sample apple dumplings in their dappled syrup that ran down our chins. If we stopped, we would don sweaters and hold one another close as the spin of the earth stole our golden moment, though it remained in our memories.
Today I uncovered those memories by chance and glimpsed again those gilded fields when I felt the first crisp air of autumn rush by my face and felt the longing to drive east again with you.
Letters have always drawn me. Not only do I enjoy receiving personal letters, but I like reading the mail of others. From the Apostle Paul to Wodehouse, I have read the letters of such outstanding writers as Dorothy Osbourne, John Calvin, Lord Chesterfield, John Keats, Barrett and Browning, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Helene Hanff and E. B. White. I have even read and enjoyed Ted Nancy’s Letters From a Nut.
Reading erudite letters has inspired me to write better ones. And so I resolved to cultivate the habit of writing personal letters in 2017. I hope to improve my handwriting through practice, but until my scratches become legible, I have decided to return to a twentieth-century manual typewriter. I found a beautiful used Adler Tippa 4 machine at the last repair shop in Kansas City. Although fifty years old, the “Eagle” works like, well, a well-oiled machine. It even has a distinctive cursive font.
I have already sent out a stack of typed letters to friends and family. The initial response has suggested that I have introduced a sense of rare delight by mailing them a hand-typed missive. It seems others have missed these hand-crafted works of art as much as I have.