‘…Nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds’
This sentence is the creed of the mail carriers of the United States Postal Service. These days, I feel they should add ‘Nor heavy traffic, crazed Uber drivers, nor COVID-19 social distancing…’
This beautiful card was made for me by the lovely and generous Alys, who specially chose teal stamps because she knows my affinity for teal and that it’s the signature colour of Ovarian Cancer and the quilts a team of us makes to raise funds for the cause. I particularly love that she’s included a vintage stamp in teal from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) which was originally in her own father’s stamp collection.
So, having carefully and beautifully crafted it, she has entrusted it to the stalwarts of the USPS and their unstoppable motto. They in turn have passed it to our own considerably more laid back and, um, idiosyncratic mail carriers, and the other day, I had a call from our tenant to say it had arrived at our old home, and would I like him to bring it round. So there was even a third mail carrier involved!
We don’t write letters much any more, and the mailmen, or ‘posties’ as they’re called here, generally bring officialdom and financial depletion to our doors. I think that may change. As we become more and more isolated and fearful, and as we lose acquaintances, friends and loved ones, will we not feel the need to reach out to others in some more tangible fashion than a phone call, SMS, Skype or email? So, write. Write to business associates, acquaintances, friends, relatives and close family. Write to the paper (“Disgusted of Burpengary’, ‘Outraged of Wonglepong’). Write to the ones who mean something to you, or who can’t get home to you.
Of course, there’s a small fear some virus may have set up housekeeping on the letter despite its time languishing in trucks, planes, sorting offices and mail bags, away from sources of infection. So, before you write it, wash your hands. Don’t cough over it, don’t lick the glue on the envelope or the stamp. At the other end of its journey, if you’re super concerned about infection, wait 5 days before you open it (if you can), and wash your hands after you read it. Ideally, don’t cover it with kisses or blotch it with tears. Both will guarantee a hotbed of germy goodness…
But after all that, you’ll have a beautiful, tangible and poignant reminder of love, friends and family in the time of COVID-19.