“Fannie, what is it with you and thank you notes?” asked Bunny eying the stack of stationery on the desk.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Honey, you write thank you notes for everything,” said Bunny with her refined Texas drawl, “I’m not saying I don’t appreciate them, they’re great and all, but you’re the only person I ever get them from. What I want to know is why?”
“I see,” I said looking at the pile of pristine stationery. “Well, for each holiday we might receive a gift when I was growing up, my mother. . .”
Bunny interrupted, “That’s Velverlorn, right?”
“Yes. She gave us thank you notes. After the holiday, she would seat us around the dining room table, and we wrote a note to every person who gave us something.”
“Okay, I can see that, but that’s not enough to keep you writing them.”
“I guess the best way to explain it is to explain what happened to our wedding.”
“To your wedding?”
Three weeks before the wedding the telephone rang. Richard answered the phone.
“I’m getting married in three weeks, I can’t possibly make that date,” said Richard to the caller. As he listened his shoulders slumped.
After a few more minutes he said, “Okay, I’ll be there.”
He paced in his office for thirty minutes.
Richard entered the living room as I walked in the front door. “Fannie, I have some news for you.”
“Richard, you look horrible, is everything all right?” I asked looking at him.
“My manager called from Omaha. They’re having a mandatory training session in three weeks. I have to go to Omaha or loose my job.”
“Oh my god, Richard, did you tell them we’re getting married in three weeks?” I asked twisting my ring. “We’ve already paid for everything.”
“They’ve agreed to move the meeting out two days so we can still get married, but we can’t go on our honeymoon. And they won’t reimburse us for the costs. We’ll have to see what we can salvage if anything.”
“Well,” I said giving him a hug, “who needs to go to Australia?”
The day after the wedding Richard packed his bag for the trip to Omaha. He loaded the bag into the trunk. We drove in silence to the airport.
Winding through the myriad of cars I pulled up under the sign for Delta. Richard took his bag from the trunk. He hugged me. I cried.
A Port policeman walked over to us. “You can’t park here, you need to move this vehicle.”
“I’ll call you when I arrive in Omaha,” he said kissing me. Richard walked into the terminal. I drove home.
I walked up the stairs to our apartment followed by a UPS driver carrying a large Styrofoam cooler. He followed me down the hall.
“Cranium, Apartment 29?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Would you sign for this?” he asked setting the cooler on the floor.
The label on the cooler read, “Omaha Steak.” The cooler contained 20 pounds of beef along with a note from Richard’s manager. “We hope this takes the sting out.”
Collapsing on the sofa, I laughed and cried. The words running through my mind unfit to print.
With the unexpected time on my hands, I pulled out our wedding gifts and stationery. True to form within my parents’ gift box was a box of gilded note cards. Removing a note card from the box, I wrote the note to my parents and thanked my mother especially for her support and help in canceling our travel plans.
Four hours later a stack of notes covered the coffee table.
Stretching my fingers, I sat back and looked at the empty cooler in the corner.
Smiling, I wrote one last note to our friends in Omaha expressing my thanks for the thoughtful gift in lieu of my husband.
I got in the car and went for a drive around Alki. Heading toward downtown Seattle and the main Post Office. The last of the cards slid into the mailbox with a muted thud. Rolling up the window I smiled knowing the cards were posted within 24 hours of receiving the gifts.
The next afternoon my mother called, “Fannie, thank you for the wonderful note, I didn’t expect it so soon.”
“Well since I had some extra time on my hands, I thought I should get them taken care of.”
“I want you to know how very proud of you we are in the way you are handling yourself over this situation,” she said. “I know you are upset, but think of how appreciated everyone else will feel when they receive your note so soon after the wedding. Especially under the circumstances.”
“Thanks mom, that does make me feel better.”
“And don’t worry, I will call everyone starting on Friday to make sure they received their notes. If someone doesn’t get one, I will let you know.”
“Gee, thanks Mom,” I said cringing.
Richard returned the following week.
“Fannie, I can’t believe you sent Wilson a thank you note for the steak,” said Richard laughing. “Wilson read it in front of everyone.”
“So what happened?”
“All the guys gave Wilson hell for making me come. I really enjoyed that part,” said Richard. “But you would not believe the grief they gave me for not telling him to screw it and go on our honeymoon.”
I paused to drink some coffee.
Bunny looked at me. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
“No,” I said shaking my head.
“But that still doesn’t explain why you still send out thank you notes.”
“How do you feel when you receive the note?”
“Appreciated,” said Bunny smiling.
“That’s why I do it.”
(Note: One of us made it to Australia in November 2011. Some day we might get to go together.)