Bouquets of Newly Sharpened Pencils. [I Got Mail!]

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”  -Joe Fox, You’ve Got Mail


"Just sending a little fall and a little sass your way!"

Confession: something about the idea of a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils sounds hopelessly romantic to me. It’s probably because school-supply-buying-season is a glorious proclamation that fall has indeed begun, and fall ushers in Christmas! All it took to thrill me in college was a crisp autumn day on campus [it didn’t hurt that I attended THE most beautiful school I’ve ever seen] with a caramel latte from Jack Sprat Café and my dog-eared copy of Crime and Punishment. Repeat the sounding joy.  

I adore “You’ve Got Mail”. As a general rule, I find it to be all but impossible to pick favorites-but if I absolutely had to pick a favorite movie, that one would make it into my top five. Most people don’t know that it’s actually a remake of an old Judy Garland movie called “In the Good Old Summertime”. Go rent it. Trust me. She and Van Johnson fall forget-your-own-name, sing-about-each-other-from-across-the-front-lawn, hopelessly and irreversibly in love through a series of letters addressed “Dear Friend”. Call me crazy, but I think that there might be something to it.

Snail mail is one of my absolute favorite things-and yesterday, exactly one month after my seven and a half hour trek across the ocean, I received my very first package of the year! Kristin Stewart sent me fall in a manila envelope: an InStyle magazine [with KStew’s sassy comments interspersed throughout in her signature, flawless, Emily Post-approved script] and funky North Carolina autumn leaves in cinnamon ambers and apple-pie reds carefully pressed in wax paper. Perfection. [Where does she get off being that creative? It wouldn’t so much as have occurred to me to send someone leaves. I’m going to make like I’m five and hang them on my wall. :)] For some inexplicable reason, I’m always rather astounded when people know me well. What an incredible thing it is to realize that you are known. That someone cares about the meaningless little details that comprise the person that you-the fact that you like pepper on your pizza, and live for the enchanting October day that Starbucks heralds the coming Christmas season by sprinkling crushed peppermint onto the dreamy, vanilla whipped cream swirls that adds a finishing flourish to their cheerful crimson Christmas cups.

[Does anyone wait all year for Starbucks to bring back their holiday line?]

It’s in those seemingly mundane, trivial little details though, that people are discovered. I’m really thankful for the friends in my life that have taken the time to “discover” me. Thanks Kristin. :)

My hazelnut cream café au lait has all but disappeared, which means that it’s time for Jack Johnson and I to climb Mt. Kilimanlaundry over here in Senegal. My weekends have recently shifted to Sunday and Monday, and so early tomorrow morning my boss is loading Christy, Michelle and I up in his little white pick-up truck and taking us to buy a fridge and some furniture. It’s sure to be a grand adventure, given that we’ll be bartering with men on the side of the road for everything on our list! Michelle’s so excited at the prospect of having a place to keep a pitcher of the peach mango iced tea that my Dad turned me onto this summer that she can barely sit still. In between the promise of a fridge, yet another package slip with my name on it [and you can bet I’ll be at the post office to pick that up at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning], the InStyle magazine currently begging to be read next to my laptop, and the fact that Sundays are my absolute favorite days to run in Dakar—it’s starting to feel like the most wonderful time of the year. :)

The magic of anticipation.



Filed under Christmas, Joy, My favorite people

3 responses to “Bouquets of Newly Sharpened Pencils. [I Got Mail!]

  1. Kristin

    My pleasure dear one.

    I do wonder if the paper can be peeled apart so you can SEE the leaves!

  2. KD

    wait, you sent ‘In-Style’ TOO???

    crap, I guess Ashley just gets two editions… of the magazine every missionary should have.

  3. Ha! I’ll have you know that all of the FUN missionaries read InStyle. ;) I’m trying to avoid the whole jean jumper/socks with flip flops thing.

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