Keep Calm And Kerri On: ‘Personal Touch’
Published: December 6th, 2021
By: Sun Columnist Kerri Green

Keep Calm and Kerri On: ‘Personal Touch’

Dear Friends,

I love nothing more than getting a card or hand written note in the mail. In this email, text, DM, SMS, MMS, IM world I get so excited when I get an actual real letter or card!

My friend Melissa is actually amazing at this. She is so great at sending notes of recognition, appreciation or just to give encouragement and support. I have been fortunate to receive a few of these from her over the years and I am always in awe of the personal touch she has with each one.

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When it comes to work, I am on top of this.

I always make a point of sending a handwritten thank you card to sponsors, speakers, legislators and colleagues. When we mail out our membership renewal letters, I insist on signing each one personally and I often add a personal note. I know that I always appreciate when a letter, even a standard form letter, has been personally signed with a message just for me. I recently received something like this in the mail and while I knew it was a standard mailing to solicit a possible partnership, the personalized note attached made all the difference and I did reach out.

I come from a family where we were forced (required?) to send a thank you note for everything. Birthdays, Christmas gifts, special occasions where we received a gift or money. My mom would sit us down with a stack of cards and a list and we would painstakingly handwrite each and every one. Even those gifts we are less ‘thankful’ for … “Thank you for the sweater. I always wanted to glow in the dark and I am pretty sure fringe will be back in style eventually. With love, Kerri.”

As an adult, when it comes to work, I am really great about this. But in my own life, I have become a bit of a slacker.

I always have the best of intentions.

I will purchase special thank you cards, new pens, stamps. I will have my list ready to go, addresses and a healthy dose of determination. But there is a window with me. If I don’t start writing them out when I am fueled and inspired to do so, I will get partway through my list and then stop. I’ll say to myself “I’ll try to squeeze a few in each night until I am done” and each night I am too busy or too tired. The stack of cards, pens, and stamps keeps getting moved around my house until eventually I give up or worse I hurriedly finish, giving the last half of the stack less attention than the first.

My wedding anniversary is this month and I remember the task of getting thank you cards written. I had some really beautiful cards to send to our guests, and I had a fool-proof plan.

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We were flying to Las Vegas for our honeymoon, and it was like a five hour flight. I had my thank you cards, my list and a couple new pens and I was going to hand write every thank you card on the plane. Between the flight there and the flight home I would have plenty of time to knock out about 200 thank you cards. Perfect plan, right? Wrong.

First, I didn’t fully comprehend how scared my new husband was of flying. He had never flown before but was willing to do it for me. I, however, love to fly and figured I would be able to keep him calm. When we took off from Binghamton to head to our connecting flight in DC and my husband saw how small the plane was, he freaked out. Added to that we were married in December and the weather that day was not the greatest. Between the small plane, the turbulence, and his uncertainty already with flying, I spent the first leg of this journey comforting him and making sure he didn’t break my hand.

The layover gave me enough time to find him a cocktail and prepare for the second flight to Vegas. This time, a little more subdued and a bigger plane, he was still nervous and I had a lot of comforting to do until he finally nodded off for a nap. I did manage to find about an hour to work on my cards on the way out.

A week later the flight home was pretty much the same. All in all, I only got about a third of my cards done. Over the next two months I tried to do them when I had time and then I started to panic when my mom asked if I had them done yet. It’s never a good sign if a relative “mentions” to your mother that they didn’t get their thank you card yet from the wedding. I did eventually get them done, but it took me much longer than I thought.

Christmas cards is another thing. I used to be really great about sending Christmas cards out. I keep an excel spreadsheet of family and friends and each year I mailed out about 150 cards.

In recent years I have not been consistent.

My original list of 150 has been slowly cut down, and the last time I sent cards out it was more like 100. Two years ago, I got the cards and then slacked on sending them out; they didn’t get mailed until after Christmas and even I knew it was too late. Last year, we had great family photos taken and I had cards printed up. There they sat on the counter, list, pens ready to go. I never mailed them out. Finally, around April of last year I threw them away.

This year I didn’t even get cards made up.

On the flip side, the Commerce Chenango holiday greetings are printed, signed and ready to be mailed! What’s that saying? The cobbler’s kids have holes in their shoes. That pretty much sums up my current situation.

Be well,

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~ Kerri


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