Mother and/or Daddy must have thought, at some time in my childhood, that I should be a stamp collector. They bought a book and a package of stamps. In the package of stamps, as I remember it, there were lots of stamps, but many were duplicates. The thinking, I suppose, was that I would trade some of those with other young stamp collectors. Then you were supposed to attach (with the appropriate stamp attacher) the stamps in the little book, on the matching stamp pictures. Many of them, as I remember, had Queen Elizabeth on them. It seems like all the mail that came to the house had the same stamps on them, and I lost interest. I stopped paying any attention to stamps, and the only stamps we used in our house were those that came on a roll. Very convenient, but not particularly interesting.
I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I didn’t realize that there were lots of other kinds of stamps that we could have been buying. I didn’t learn that until, and I am being really honest here, I came home for a friend’s wedding, a year and a half after we’d gotten married. While I was here in Waco, she and I were out running errands, and we stopped by the post office. She had run out of the attractive stamps that she’d chosen for her wedding invitations. “I think these are so pretty,” she said, as she purchased them. “They look nice on the envelopes.” I agreed. They did look nice on the envelopes.
That didn’t make me start being a stamp collector. I’m not a stamp collector now. But I do go looking for pretty stamps when I visit the post office.
Recently, at the post office, I found the cutest stamps. I found some really pretty ones, too. And I like the forever stamps, that you buy at one price, and they stay current and usable, no matter how much the price of stamps rises. Of course, when I use them all up, I have to buy replacements at whatever the current first-class stamp price is.
And I have to confess that I still prefer to send off real, snail-type mail. I do pay some bills online, and I do send some greeting cards that way, too. I like to get those kinds of good wishes, but there’s something about pulling a special envelope out of the mail box and opening it up and finding a card, a note, a photograph. And, here is what else I do. I like to use address labels that look nice with the stamps I’m putting on the envelopes.
I know, I know. In this day and age, it seems a little, um, weird? Ridiculous? Silly? But it makes me happy. It sparks joy. Do you think it makes my mail carrier smile a little bit? Okay. Probably not. Maybe I’ll ask some morning, if I’m outside when it gets picked up.
A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 (New Revised Standard Version)
Several years ago, I was at the post office, mailing something and getting stamps. I asked for first class stamps and requested “something attractive.” The postal worker searched through his drawer and came up empty. “Really?” I said. “Nothing pretty?” He looked at me and reached into the next drawer. He pulled out a regular, old, ordinary roll of stamps and put it in my hand. “These are the most beautiful ones we have,” he said. I bought the roll of American flag stamps and went home humbled and happy.