I read the article in the Tribune by Greg Doering on the blast of cold we have been enduring the past couple of weeks. Polar cold is certainly nothing to mess with. Frostbite can take a deadly toll in just a few minutes. Although some people complain about “cabin fever” or being stuck indoors, it sure beats being stuck outdoors in the brutal cold. That’s probably why I like the warmer summer months better. Even in southern States, winter can still have a biting sensation. For this reason, it is good to have an indoor hobby or activity to pass the time without going stir crazy. For me, I have the hobby of writing. And, no it isn’t just “letters to the editor.” It can be articles on various subjects or even letters to friends and family. And yes, I am one of those dinosaurs that still uses old-fashioned snail-mail and e-mail.
To me, the beauty of a handwritten postal letter is something to behold. Granted, postage stamps are rising in price again this month. It is almost prohibitive. But, it’s enjoyable to see a stamp on a letter from a faraway place ... and dream.
Years ago, I once wrote to a 98-year-old Catholic Cardinal and also wrote the brother of Pope Benedict (the former Joseph Ratzinger) ... his brother was Rev. Fr. Georg Ratzinger who was also a Catholic priest. I received replies from both.
One time, I received a letter from a relative in England. The postal stamp depicted the 1981 marriage of then Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. That stamp was exquisitely made. My postmistress asked if I’d like to sell it. I told her “no, I prefer to keep it.”
Writing can be good for the mind and soul. I know it was helpful for my relatives in western Kansas of a century ago to write about newborn babies, newly acquired livestock, or brag about their farm’s production. Writing is the very essence of “Freedom of Speech.” Our Founders knew it.
As Mr. Doering noted, the bouts of Arctic blasts make cars difficult or impossible to start. Same thing with impairing tractor engines from turning over. I salute the men and women whose jobs require them to be out in the elements.
If we have a chance, I simply say that writing (in whatever form we choose) can be lifesaver, plus it may cheer ourselves or others up from the winter doldrums. It is worth doing.
James A. Marples