Although my birthday was just about a month ago, I have not forgotten about one of the best cards to enter my mailbox, and I think it’s only fair to publicly thank its sender.

Back in July, I posted about this year being the first without receiving a birthday card from my aunt, who died earlier this year. She was meticulous about addressing and signing the card, using a ruler to pencil in straight lines on the envelope. My friend Emma commented:

As much as I love Emma, I really didn’t expect her to follow through on her words. But, lo and behold:

Ruler and everything! Nice handwriting, too, which I imagine was a PITA for Emma, who works as a pharmacist and has most likely unconsciously adopted the scribbly scrawl of the doctor’s prescription pad. (The card itself was a Shoebox one involving jokes of laughter and pee and overall fun, juvenile humor.)

Along a similar note, I received a card on my desk the other day from a woman in my office. Her father had just died, and I had no idea why I would be the recipient of a card. Inside the little “just a note” card, she had thanked me for passing along the news of her father’s death to a former colleague, who in turn attended the viewing:

“Having [former colleague] at my father’s viewing meant so very much to me. It wouldn’t have been possible if you hadn’t shared the news with her.”

She could have easily told me this in person or shot me an e-mail expressing her thanks, but the added touch of paper and handwriting–especially during such a tough time–made the gesture so much more profound. I was touched that she was touched enough to go the extra step.

If reviving the lost art of letter writing and 3-D, tactile cards and paper is of interest to you, you should check out my YTT classmate Stephanie’s blog, My Year of Letters. She’s making a commitment “to write one letter a day as a way to practice mindfulness, to reconnect with friends and family, to spread a little joy and love around the world.” I think it’s ever-so-pertinent during a time when the government is studying the possibility of closing 3,700 post offices across the nation.

I used to carry around a set of small 2 x 2 cards in my handbag, to write quick little thank-yous or just-a-notes if the occasion arose, like if a cashier or salesperson was particularly helpful or kind. I remember writing out one to my manager when she took on some of my work assignments during a busy time, but I honestly don’t remember using them elsewhere. I think I’ve been inspired to refill my handbag–and actually put the idea into action this time.