Write it down.

I have spent a good part of the day doing my duty.

Of course, by “my duty,” I mean writing thank yous.

I am a true believer that thank you notes separate the women from the girls, the ladies from the skanks. Much like covering your privates in public, it’s just something you do. Nevermind the fact that by the last three or four notes, my handwriting sucked because my hand was cramping up. The thank yous are done.

But just between us? The real reason I write thank yous?

It’s so I can buy more stationery. There. I said it. I love stationery and I don’t care who knows. My name is Cha Cha, and I am addicted to paper products!

My little problem aside … the lost art of handwritten correspondence has a beauty to it because it’s tangible proof of our stories. That’s why antique stores are filled with old postcards. People hung on to them because they were important reminders, and a piece of the folks who sent them.

I received an awesome comment on my post about Christmas music. Wally Howerton wrote:

When I was 5 or 6 I had to sing “Bow Wow wants a Boy for Christmas” in front of our church in southern Virginia. This would have been the winter of 55 or 56 I believe. My mother practiced with me for hours/days. Even the church pianist/organist had a couple of run throughs with me. I had it down perfect! Well, the night of the performance, mom put a giant red bow on Chi Chi our Pekinese. I was in my suit and bow tye looking spiffy! The music started and I started to sing. Through all the practices, Chi Chi was absent after all she wasn’t going to sing. Well, Chi Chi was the star performer that night. She started howling and didn’t stop until the music ended. Mom was crying and mortified, I was frustrated telling Chi Chi to shut up, and the entire Church was literally rolling in the aisles. I was looking for the words to the song because I am writing and posting short stories for my grandchildren. That Christmas was a wonderful Christmas. I still laugh!

This comment made me howl with laughter! And how lucky are Wally’s grandkids, to have written stories from their grandpa?

One of my greatest treasures is a stack of paper about 25 sheets high. It’s two stories: an autobiography by my grandma, and one by my grandpa. My grandpa describes every car he ever owned. My grandma omits details like how her mean drunk of a father burned down his own son’s house for the insurance money.

I read these stories and hear their voices, and remember the tales that fill in the spaces. Somehow, the tangible retelling of parts of their lives makes the people themselves tangible, even though they are both gone.

Maybe that’s why I like blogging. By writing about my life, I feel validated – especially in the last few months, when I’ve felt completely washed away. But by recording my experiences, it’s somehow proof that I am here. Sort of like how thank yous are proof you received a gift.

That’s why I like reading blogs, too. They are proof that I’m not the only one! I’m a little amazed by the affinity I feel for many bloggers whom I have never met in person, but feel like I know very well. But, like, not in a show-up-at-your-house-uninvited sort of way.

No, I save that for My Boyfriend Dave Grohl.

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