Sentimentality – It’s All in the Cards


But I will admit something. When Vanessa and I watched the 2004 movie classic The Notebook, my allergies started acting up really bad toward the end when I realized that was Noah taking care of Allie who had descended into dementia. But that’s all that was – it was allergies!

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with being a little sentimental.

Okay – I’ll admit something else. I do keep a card I received from Vanessa 17 years ago. It’s discolored and worn now, but it’s a treasure to me.

And it reminds me of the importance of letting our loved ones know we care in tangible and simple ways.  I’m a “cardkeeper” from way back - the cards I receive from family and friends bring back warm memories and can cheer me on a down day. Cards can be markers of good times and great moments. They can brighten your day when you’ve experienced a loss.

My mother turned 80 this past June, and for decades she has kept all of the cards she received from her kids and some others. On many occasions I have called her and she has told me that she was sitting in the living room re-reading her cards. That always makes me smile.

Vanessa doesn’t send cards as often as I do, so when she does, they are special. This one was probably my all-time favorite. Well, except for last Valentine’s Day. Now that one…that was next-level. But I digress.

Here are her kind words, shared with her permission:

Dear Mr. Hall,

I was walking out of Kohl’s a few days ago and you so ever lovingly came to mind. I became teary as I considered how blessed I am to be with this amazing, handsome, funny & godly man. You have matured to be the only person on Planet Earth that I respect, love, cherish, believe in, admire, am jealous of at times - other than God. I truly love you unconditionally!

Wow! Although I would dispute some of those adjectives, I drank in every word and appreciate it more than I can articulate to this very day!

I fully recognize that not everyone appreciates cards – but I sure do. And I’m not alone.

An unexpected card can show someone you’re thinking about them. Cards are thought-provoking and meaningful. I have a line of cards on my desk from my wife and my sons, and I proudly display them. I have one other, from my friend Karen who passed away unexpected 2 years ago. She sent me a hilarious card for my birthday. It had a funny scene of a bonfire that I suppose was going to be started when all my candles were lit. And she simply said, “Happy birthday, Kenny – Love, Karen."

I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My cards are displayed not for others, but for me. If it’s a tough, stressful workday, I can pause, collect myself, and glance over to the side where they are. And inevitably, that elicits a warm feeling. They are tangible reminders that I know a few someones love me, and they took the time to tell me so.

One very famous card-giver was our 41st president, George H.W. Bush. President Bush wrote cards and thank-you notes by the dozens. His expressions of thanks were enough to fill a 700-page book entitled “All the Best, George Bush.” He built relationships with everyone from foreign leaders to his own staff with his thoughtful, gentlemanly gestures. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said of him, “Even I frequently received a thank-you note from the President for a job well done, and this kindness and courtesy made it a joy to work with him.”

Hey – if it’s good enough for a President, it’s certainly good enough for me!

So, married people - send your mate an unexpected card or note every now and again - just because!

There go those allergies again. I’m signing off to reach for the eye drops and the tissue.

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