Miss Manners would have a hay-day with me. Truly. I can stick my foot in with the best of them! But, I can at least acknowledge that I am a student of civilized behavior. One of my favorite books of all time? Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior by Judith Martin.
I borrowed Miss Manner's book from the library this time after a trip to the local Hallmark store brought me home with a sweet little guide to note-writing. I struggled with what to say to my friend who lost her little girl. I know I failed. But, I am interested in learning. So, I trekked the kids to the local library. Paid the astronomical fine (dad gum those 'grace periods!'). And brought home a bag full of books providing me with advice for Great Personal Letters for Busy People (I realized I'm really not so busy as to need that book); How to Say It (some good advice - darn if I didn't probably say half the things in the 'What Not to Say' section); and my beloved Miss Manners' Guide. She is thorough. She is straightforward. She is funny, if she's not terse.
Thank you notes - and even sympathy notes - are a dying art. Truly. In the day of emails and text messaging and even palm pilots and blackberries to guide our lives, we've overscheduled, overextended, over-done life to the point that personal communication is at a low. Now, I am not known for timely greetings. In fact, for a 'Stamp Lady,' I tend to not even have cards to send, let alone actually send the correspondence out to the necessary party. I think I sent a 'thank you' note to our neighbor for her extra-generous bags of Halloween candy for my kids around Easter-time. Fortunately, she didn't give them Easter candy. I'd be sunk.
But, perhaps our little friend Emma has changed me in this way. I am sending notes. I am sticking to the '3 day rule.' (Did you even know there was a 3-day rule?) We all love mail. My daughter squeals with delight when she discovers a letter addressed to her in the box. And honestly? I do to. At least on the inside.
So, thank somebody today. For something. Listen to your old, elderly Aunt Florance for once in your life and let her know you cared that she sent you that bar of Irish Spring on a rope for your birthday when you were 12. She only did it because she loves you. Let her know you love her, too. Send that special someone a thank you card. And do it quick. 'Cuz 3 days was up a long, long time ago.