Our rig was perched in a campsite high above the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean. Our mail-forwarded package arrived on time (from our address in Texas.) Following our usual routine, Paul opened the large envelope and scanned through the mail that included most of usual items; magazines, bills, updates of accounts, Medical reports, agency and organizational letters and brochures (“tree-killing hard copies that we beg companies and agencies to only send via email. (They don’t always honor those requests) and a few other items. A letter addressed by hand was included at our address. My name, Carol was quite legible, the last name was illegible and we never checked it and it was routinely slit open. The return address was an address in Denver (no name, a place that we have visited and have acquaintances.) Paul nicely placed it on the table for my reading.
Indeed I did remove the letter to read. It was beautifully written by hand, double sided on white lined paper measuring approximately 5″ x 8.” Every line was filled to the final word, lacking a signature. However the author’s name was contained several times in the text. I was compelled to finish the letter, even though I did not recognize the name nor the woman or her situation. She poured out her heart to the intended recipient; thanking her profusely for her cards, letters, caring hugs and love over 2-3 years and apologizing for the belated response and for the slightly shaky handwriting, due to her MS and other health complications. As I mentioned, I thought the handwriting to be beautiful and flowing with a hint of quiver.
Needless to say, I was in tears by the time I read the final words. First of all for her life story and second of all, because I felt like a voyeur, an intruder. At that point I looked harder at the front of the envelope. Our address was correct but the letter was indeed intended for another client of the mail forwarding service. Again, the first name was legible, the last name indecipherable. I placed the opened letter in another envelope with a note to the forwarding service to PLEASE PLEASE determine the correct box number and forward this letter to the intended recipient. I placed it on the dashboard to mail in the morning.
The next morning came and we prepared for our departure to visit our wonderful son and family in LA. That means carrying lots of stuff to the toad re;tow car or Jeep (purse, cameras, totes, promised paper goods and food items and the letter. Paul pulled up to the mail box and lo and behold, we could not find the letter. I know it was in my hands getting into the car. I was sure it was on the rig, therefore we would mail it this evening upon our return. What a great day as everyday is with our kids. Back to the rig late at night, the letter was not on the dashboard.
I was devastated. How could I make sure the recipient knew what a difference she had made in this woman’s life. A life of pain, disease, dialysis, late onset of that horrible mid life disease MS, wheel chair bound and loved by many people like the letter’s author. I had a hard night getting to sleep. The next morning we prepared once again to drive into LA. As we packed the car our neighbor from the rig next door addressed Paul, wheeling himself towards us in his wheel chair. He handed us the letter that he had found near his Porsche. As you can imagine, I thanked him over and over again. Yes, he is disabled but extremely independent, strong and always smiling. Another neighbor mentioned that this man refuses any help, gets along very well and does indeed drive a Porsche.
I ached to relate to him the irony of the letter that he rescued, another person with a life story of suffering, pain and overcoming hardship. However, I was not sure it was appropriate and we had a schedule to meet. My heart was singing. When we said our goodbyes to him on departure day we promised to see each other in the same spot next year as he is a long term resident of the campground overlooking the Pacific. We hope to spend more time that visit in the campsite and have time to get better acquainted. Maybe next year, I will tell him the story of the rescued letter. Days later, I still think of our neighbor and his great self sufficiency and of the woman in Denver pouring out her heart to a recipient whom I hope and pray will receive the letter, a little late, a little battered, but whole and heartfelt. And to you dear readers, thank you for reading this longer than usual Message in a Minute and letting me pour out my heart.