Today my mailbox was filled with two complete polar opposites of emotion. The first was a white envelope that contained the words, “I’m sorry, but…” End of story. I had suspected that if such a letter was coming, they would have held off until after the holidays – now I realize that is simply not the case. “Four days before Christmas, and we’re sending off a letter that will make you feel as if you just got kicked in the stomach.” “And,” I can hear them in my head, “We have no problem doing that, because this is just business.”
Now I’m grinding my teeth during the day too.
There was a second pole of emotion that came in a brown box wrapped in red, white and blue postal priority mail service tape. Inside was a vintage box of angel hair. The $.89 Shopper’s Fair sticker is still attached.
The return address on the package is not one I recognize – although the last name sounds familiar, but I cannot place it. But, the location I clearly do not know. This is a time that it’s difficult not for me to remember those cookies.
There is a passage in the book Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously where Julie writes on her blog that she can’t afford to buy enough butter to cook Julia Child’s butter-laden recipes. To her surprise, she finds more butter than she needs in her mailbox – from people all over the world.
As I read this, I was struck by the power of words to incite people to care and to reach out. To send cards when there is nothing else that can be done. To motivate someone to send a rare box of vintage angel hair to someone else.
While Julie became known by the mailman as the butter girl, I get angel hair. (I prefer the hair.)
So, whoever you are, I am grateful for this puddle of angel hair to spin magic around the house for the holidays, and for the vintage box to keep it safe year after year. An extra 3.5 ounces of magic where nothing existed before.
Part of me knows that the bad news that arrived in my mailbox today is just another link in the chain to something better. Before X can happen, this Y must happen too. But, it’s still quite a blow; one the angel hair softens. And, thank you my friend, for putting a bit of joy in what otherwise would have been a very, bleak day for my mailbox. Your timing couldn’t have been better.