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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: A Letter to the Future

© Another Day in the Country

I’ve always been a letter writer, so pen and pencil, envelopes and stamps are familiar territory for me. I love writing letters and receiving them.

I’ve tried to pass this letter writing thing on to my grandson by writing letters to him every few weeks. Imagine my surprise when I found a book in my favorite bookstore titled, “Letters to my Grandchild.”

The book is rectangular in shape and contains a dozen similar-shaped envelopes that open out into letters like those blue airmail envelope/letters people used when writing from a foreign country in “the olden days.”

Once I got the book home from the store, I had to check it out thoroughly. To make it easier to write a letter, there are suggested topics on some of them. There’s one headed, “A Special Story About Our Family,” and another envelope marked “It May Surprise you to Learn that When I was Young.”

This was going to be more difficult than I first imagined. Writing letters, like I do, about the chickens, my latest art project, or some adventure we’ve taken, is easy; but writing on a particular subject is a little more difficult. What story would I choose out of all the stories we tell in our family? Or should it be something he’s never heard?

And then the one about when I was young — what would he be interested in? Life has changed pretty drastically in the years since I was a kid. We didn’t even have electricity in the little farm house where we lived outside of Ramona, and we didn’t have indoor running water or a bathroom. That should surprise my grandson; but then again he doesn’t even know what it is to live without a bathroom — even going camping, the bathrooms are pretty posh.

Another envelope is entitled “A positive change I have witnessed in the world.” Which one would you choose? I chose computers, remembering when we got our first little square Macintosh computer that eventually replaced our typewriter, which had already replaced our manual typewriter. Then again, maybe I should choose something like vaccinations that ruled out some pretty serious diseases like polio, or commercial air flight which allows me to fly from Kansas to California in just a few hours?

One of my favorite envelopes has the title, “The Best Advice That Anyone Ever Gave Me.” I’m stumped on this letter. While I remember lots of admonition about always doing the right thing, I don’t remember really concrete advice, like “Save your Money.” I do remember my Dad telling my sister once that, “You should never change jobs during an election year.” I never figured out that one.

My favorite envelope in this series is entitled, “I’m curious to see how you….” I think this is the letter I’m going to start with.

I truly am curious as to what this boy will be like when he is 18. I remember when his mother was pregnant and she bought a book with pictures of mixed-race children. Jana (who is Norwegian/German) and her husband (who is Korean) were very curious as to what their child would look like. “What if he doesn’t look like me?” his Daddy worried.

On the other hand, my daughter had strangers walking up to her asking, “Did you adopt your baby from China?” Jana joked privately that she was going to get herself a t-shirt that said, “He looks like his father,” to stop the comments.

You can imagine my surprise when I looked at this Eurasian child when he was in first grade and realized he looked like me when I was his age, especially in photographs, and sometimes I can see my father looking at me with those dark brown eyes. I think I’ll write about this in one of these letters, under the heading “My brightest hope for the future.”

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that in order to leave a treasured gift to your grandchild, all you need is pen, paper and envelope and a quiet evening, writing a letter to be opened at some later date.

Don’t put off starting this project! Write a letter to the future of your family, today, and tell them about having another day in the country.

Last modified Feb. 18, 2016

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