Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson Column: To warm hearts, all you need is a stamp

I did something the other day that made my heart warm. I had just put on my jacket, when I noticed a book of stamps on the laundry room shelf. No, donning my coat wasn’t what warmed my heart, but it did help keep me warm when I went out with my daughter to run errands that morning. My toasty ticker had more to do with the stamps.

It’s rare these days to own a book of stamps, isn’t it? Every so often though, I need a stamp and I feel really silly buying just one single stamp. I always go for the book. Yes, it means spending $9.20 and getting nine more stamps than I need at any given time, but I’ll tell you something: I never regret it. Here’s why:

After seeing the stamps in the book the other day, I went back into the house and grabbed a small card and an envelope I happened to have handy. I snapped up a pen and pulled out a small bit of crumpled paper I had tucked away. I wrote a quick note to an old friend, slapped on a stamp and 10 minutes later while running our errands around town, my daughter gleefully pushed it into the mailbox slot to be delivered to its recipient.

I’ve been thinking of my 97-year-old friend, George Brewster, more and more frequently as Remembrance Day approaches. I wanted to thank him for his service in the Second World War and for his friendship and to say I was thinking of him. I wasn’t so sure I’d see him at the cenotaph this year as the ceremonies have been scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic but I did want him to know he was on my mind.

SEE RELATED: War taught lessons that should be remembered, veteran says on eve of Dieppe 75th

My daughter and I had a great time plunking our note to him into the mailbox. It’s so much more satisfying to drop a physical envelope into a mailbox than it is to click “send” on an email.

We then had a great time guessing what would be in our mailbox (and opening it to find only junk mail… including a pizza flyer that my child was thrilled about, acting almost as if it were an actual pizza.)

I still get a kick out of getting mail. Always have.

Have I ever told you about the time we had nothing better to do on one weekend early in the pandemic’s initial “stay home” phase, so my family opted to drive the Pacific Marine Circle Route out to Botanical Beach?

Of course we hadn’t thought about it until we arrived to find the gate to the park locked, but Dr. Bonnie Henry had closed all the provincial parks. Instead we parked at the gate and got out for a snack and to stretch our legs.

It had recently rained and there were pot holes filled with rainwater scattered across the gravel road that leads to the park. We urged the children to stay out of the puddles and to their credit, they tried. My daughter found a worm in one of them and was quite distraught that the poor creature would drown. Her superhero dad saved the day and moved the worm to a grassy area to, I don’t know… catch its breath?

In praising her for her thoughtfulness in caring for even the smallest of God’s creatures, I suggested that perhaps ‘Slither’ as she’d named the worm, would mail her a thank-you letter. It wouldn’t be anytime soon though, I cautioned, as it takes quite a long time for a worm to find a pen and paper the right size and snail mail really does take awhile.

“We’re still waiting for that tiny letter,” she reminded me at the mailbox when we dropped Mr. Brewster’s note. She reminds me every time. I really should get around to writing that letter, on behalf of ‘Slither’. Just so my daughter doesn’t begin to think it was an ungrateful worm. I’m just having trouble finding tiny stationery.

Anyway, off into the mailbox went the note to Mr. Brewster and off we went to continue on with our errands.

I was away from my phone when Mr. Brewster called me a couple of days later but I knew as soon as I saw a missed call from him that he’d left a voicemail. That’s just how he rolls.

True to form, my sweet veteran friend left me a lovely message thanking me for the card and telling me a little about how things have been going for him. He thanked me for thinking of him. He told me about what he’s up to for Remembrance Day and about some other Legion-related activities he’ll be up to afterward. He mentioned his “dearly beloved” wife and that he’s doing his best to be helpful whenever he can — both at home and elsewhere. In short, it was just a really nice catch up message.

Now, Mr. Brewster has asked me to stop writing about him because he doesn’t particularly want the attention, but I just ignore him. I know if he calls to scold me we’ll just end up having a really nice chat. His calls always warm my heart. I’m glad my letter warmed his. You could say that’s priceless, but really, this time it all happened for the price of a stamp.

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