Slice of Life Day 6 of 31: Journeys (my March theme)
Luckenbach, Texas appears to be the size of an outdoor wedding venue with signage declaring a population of 3. There is a small post office and gift shop, a dance hall, a kissing booth where maybe it’s time to get back to the basics of love, a bar where there ain’t nobody feeling no pain, and an outdoor stage with seating to hear Waylon and Willie and the boys. Our driver on our tour to Texas Hill Country played the song as we arrived. I was already feeling emotional about the loss of my nephew dog, Feivel, who had just been put to sleep from complications of cancer in south Georgia as I traveled between San Antonio and Luckenbach.
I bought postcards (pre-postmarked Luckenbach), affixed the pre-addressed labels and stamps from the supply I carry in my Ziploc bag whenever I travel, and mailed them to family members- a travel tradition that may take me longer to turn loose than the CDs that I finally quit burning two years ago. Let’s face it – – who needs a Postcard when there’s Facebook to tell everyone for free, and instantly, that you wish they could be there having all the fun with you?
But this is where I struggle – – how else will my grandchildren know the joy of getting mail if I don’t send them postcards?
The thrill of mail and my emerging concept of all the different cultures of the United States officially started for me when I was a fifth grader at St. Simon’s Island Elementary School in Georgia in the 1970s. In Mrs. Ploeger’s class, I vividly remember completing a worksheet with the words, “Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?” in bold print across the top. We had to do a project on one of the 50 states other than our own, and I eagerly dove right in. Mom bought me a supply of stamps and envelopes, and I wrote letters to the Chambers of Commerce in all 50 states’ capital cities requesting information for my project. I carefully cut out important pieces of the brochures I received in response, gluing them onto pages and creating a thick notebook of information about each state – its state bird, its flower, its nickname, its capital, its population and government. I was so proud of my work that I put it in a blue notebook I had creatively decorated especially for handing in my project. For the first time, I took an active interest in seeing places other than where I lived and learned the value of writing in my learning experience. I was on a vicarious nationwide journey that arrived in our mailbox with stacks of envelopes with my very own name on them! I’m grateful that I grew up in the age of snail mail; webpages could never have held that degree of exhilaration for me.
When the day came to turn in our projects on the back table that had been cleared off for the occasion, most students had put information on posterboards or written a few pages of information on looseleaf paper. My classmates gawked in disbelief at my fifth grade dissertation on all fifty states. I go back to that moment again and again in my mind still today, ever assured that this was the first time I identified as a writer – and more specifically, a writer who wanted to see the world.
That’s why I like to send postcards to my grandchildren – – to spark an interest that may result in a bite from the proverbial travel bug! From pressing flowers to traveling, I want to inspire them to know their world and take the time to enjoy the beauty of it – to sing the songs of places!
10 And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed it with the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries: