The mail?? The post??

I just realized that November is the 4 year anniversary of when I began this blog. I don’t always blog consistently, but I plan to keep at it! Here is a post (slightly edited) that was originally on the blog in December 2017…

The mail? The post?

I recently told someone that I would send them an item by post. They did not know what this meant! “What is post?” Uh, by mail – the postal service. Then they felt a little dumb. haha.

But really, they should not have felt dumb about it. I tend to use the word post, and I recently realized this is more of a British or European term. Somewhere along the line I picked this up, even though I am American. Perhaps for several reasons: I had a great deal of Canadian influence in my youth. I appreciate certain classic British novels and movies. I’ve long had international pen friends (and international students live with me) that typically write and speak British English.

If you look up the word post in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, there are several definitions, but one is this: “chiefly British, a nation’s organization for handling mail.”

The online free dictionary similarly says for post:

1. Chiefly British
a. a single dispatch or delivery of mail.
b. the mail itself.
c. an established mail system or service.

I sometimes sign my letters “Your friend by post and pen.” You’ll note that this blog is called Postman’s Treasure, rather than Mailman’s Treasure.

However, I am a blend of American and British English when it comes to the post or mail, and may even be inconsistent with my word use. When it comes to my home mail box, I use the word mail. It is the mailbox, not postbox. Do you say that you will “post a letter” or “mail a letter”? Most Americans, in my experience, say mail. I also say mail a letter; somehow post a letter sounds strange to me!

In the U.S.A. we do call it the POST office. It is the USPS: the United States Postal Service. So why is it that we are more likely to use the word mail instead of post…we mail letters, check the mailbox, look for the mailman, and mail packages. Hmmm?

A special Christmas card from overseas

I received 3 Christmas cards yesterday from England, Tasmania, and the Netherlands. The one from the Netherlands was extra special and unique. She made the card, and it came with nativity images that she drew, for you to cut out and make your own nativity scene. If I did not explain that well, the photos below should bring clarity! I could have colored the images, but decided I liked the simplicity of keeping them black and white.

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”   Luke 2

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:21


Letter writing…quality vs quantity

I’m a life-long pen pal, and certain pen pals say they want “long letter” pals. This does not (usually) mean the person wants to exchange 10 page letters, but that they are not interested in brief letters that only contain superficial thoughts about the weather. They want letters with more effort and depth, that are more than “I did this and I did that” but also share thoughts/ideas, and interact with the letter received.

However, it is not necessarily the length of a letter that makes it worthwhile. Over the years, I’ve received a variety of letters. I’ve gotten letters that were:

very long but Iow quality
brief letters that were high quality.

How so?

For example, very long letters that were nothing but monologue – “I did this and I did that” with no dialogue whatsoever. These letters can read more like a diary entry, a record of what someone has done, and lack a personal touch. Even after receiving such letters for a while, the person remains a stranger to me. I know what they have done, but not who they are.

And then there are letters much briefer by comparison, but are a blend of personal news, responding to the letter received with thoughts or questions, and sharing personal feelings or ideas about something in life. After receiving such letters for a while, I feel like I am really getting to know this person. In other words, a friendship is developing! I have a sense of who they are as a person.

So…perhaps the point is to not get hung up on the length of a letter, but to keep quality in mind as well.  I’d rather receive 3 page personal letters where a friendship is growing, than 10 page letters where the person remains a stranger.