I do not know if this story, taken from my private journal, has a meaning or moral, but it makes me smile and wonder… (oh, “Louis” and “Barbara” are not their real names– I figure I owe them a smidge of privacy).
One evening, a few years ago, I was browsing at Half-Price Books in Dallas. There wasn’t much that really interested me, but I couldn’t resist a one volume edition of George Bernard Shaw’s Prefaces. When I opened the book I found a well preserved air-mail letter postmarked December 11, 1966. It was sent by Louis who lived in Oklahoma. And it was received by Barbara who lived in Dallas,Texas. The postage was 11 cents, and the stamp had the profile of John F. Kennedy.
I bought the book, and when I opened the envelope—this was one of those all-in-one envelope letters that were so common when air-mail was special and pricey—I read Louis’s message, written at a diagonal across the page with a very neat hand in evenly-spaced straight lines:
This is not a letter—
this is a very fast note.
actually a sort of reminder—
that is to say that there simply
is not time—none—for a letter
or for love or life or things like
that—that take time—time—time.
So consider that you have not
received a letter, you simply know
that soon (relatively) there will
be a meeting and I will see
you again—and simply tell you
all those things I might have written
in a letter if only there was
What is your dragon?