Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When Thank You is Enough

Once a year, I get a thank you card for a Xmas gift. The card is always from Laura, Mary Ann's daughter-in-law. I received it yesterday. She and Jeremy won't be stationed in Colorado Springs as previously believed, but will be going to El Paso in the spring. I'm a little bummed because I thought I'd get a chance to get to know Laura and Jeremy in a more personal way and maybe even Mary Ann would get to come and visit for a change. Not going to happen, but the thought was lovely for a while. I was even cleaning house to be ready. Guess I can go back to my slovenly ways now.

I don't think people get how special thank you cards really are. I know it's something from an older time when the social graces included such niceties and thank you cards and, well, gracious rules, but that doesn't mean that they have to go out of style the way that graciousness and thank yous have gone out of style. I wish they wouldn't.

An old friend made his sons sit down at Xmas and write me thank you cards for the gifts I sent them. Well, I didn't really send the gifts to the boys, but to the tree. The cards they wrote were lovely and one of the boys even drew Jack Skellington on his thank you card. That is a bonus, a thank you gift for the gifts I sent for their tree. The boys complained loudly about how it was old fashioned and no one sent thank you cards any more, but my friend told them that in his house they would write the cards. They got into the spirit and did them. I don't know how much of a dent it will make in their lives, but I'm glad they wrote them.

Maybe we need to do something as an incentive for writing thank you cards and being more polite and gracious. I belong to a cross stitch bulletin board and everyone there is so polite. It didn't take me long to figure out why either. Every comment earns points that increase one's standing overall and allows the person to access more features and get more points. It's like paid politeness on the surface, but it also means that some people, in spite of the points they receive, are more gracious and polite and do it because that's the kind of people they are. It's like stimulating an unused muscle. It hurts for a while, but then begins to work smoother and more efficiently.

There is a counter at the top of every post that shows how many people have visited and how many have commented. The visits outweigh the comments, but the comments - the thank yous - are worth more to me.

I have yet to receive a thank you card from my grandchildren for their gifts over the years. I call them to make sure the gift arrived and they get on the phone and tell me they liked what I sent and we catch up. I often wonder if I'd get even a thank you if I didn't call and this has bothered me every year for a very long time. That is until this year. As my friend explained to his boys, no thank you card means no more gifts. That is what I'm giving my grandchildren for their birthdays and xmas this year and every year from now on. No thank you card means I will send them a card with a note that says that a gift was made in their name to a local charity, like Toys for Tots. I will likely not get a thank you card from the charity, but I will know for sure that the children receiving a gift from the charity will prize it because they have so little in their lives. That will be thanks enough.

I don't always send thank you cards. I often send thank you letters and I always call to say thank you, which isn't often since I receive gifts from only two people every year at Xmas and birthdays. It reminds me of a quote from El Dorado. Alan Padillion Trahern (James Caan) said, "A host of friends. I have a host of friends." Sarcasm at its finest and it only involved his hat.

I know times are tough; I live in them too. And I don't expect a gift for my birthday or Xmas or even Mother's Day every year, but it would be nice once in a while to know that more than my sister and Mary Ann think of me at those special times of year and respond with a gift to which I can reply with a thank you card or phone call. Such is not to be and I live with that every day.

In the meantime, I'll cherish my annual thank you card from Laura and the occasional thank you I get from Spock the cat and my friend's boys and whoever else decides that the old traditions are worth keeping and exercising on a regular basis. In lieu of that, I may have to consider something more pointed than sending personalized thank you cards, something like points or money. All I need to do then is decide what the points will be worth at the end.

That is all. Disperse.

No comments: