Sunday, June 11, 2006

Letters Home

Everyday that my unit has received mail in Iraq, I would usually get a letter from my wife, sometimes 2 or 3, our mail out here isn't exactly regular but you can count on getting mail at least 4 days out of a given week. She has also been sending a care package or two each week filled with stuff that I needed but had not thought about till I opened the box, then we all would think, oh yeah, why didn't I think of that? Her reasoning behind sending so many care packages is that she doesn't want strangers to send me more stuff then her, who am I to argue?
My wife takes the art of packing and letter writing to new heights, I've seen wrappings on piñata that were less intricate then her boxes. If the plane that flew all of our mail out here crashed, I would bet her packages would be one of the few things to survive. She makes her own envelopes out of magazines, old cards, calendars and posters. No kidding. The real reason I carry around a big knife out here? It's to get through her wrappings.
Here's some of the stuff she's sent out over the last few weeks. Two weeks ago I received 6 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on VHS (we have them on DVD at home), 17 tapes she made over 6 years of watching the show. She felt that it was my duty as her husband to be properly versed in the Buffyverse (I'll start watching them as soon as I'm done with this class I'm taking!) Last week we got all makings for popsicles and the molds to put them in, plus new sheets, ice cube trays, more reading materials, a 2 liter bottle of Inca Cola, a stuffed animal and some pictures of her so there wouldn't be a chance of me forgetting her (don't worry hun, that's never going to happen!)
As a Dustman, we're notoriously bad letter writers, we have a genetic defect, it's a aversion we all have for placing a pen on paper and actually writing a letter. We would rather drive a hundred miles then write a note and send it in the mail. While the rest of the world was still adjusting to the internet, the Dustman clan was already sending emails back and forth. It's not the same with emails, there is no pen or stamps involved, you place your hands on the keyboard and words appear on the screen as by magic. Now everybody under 80 in the Dustman family as at least 2 email accounts, a computer and checks their email daily. If you don't have a computer or phone, the only time you're going to hear from us is by coming by to visit.
Into this family of write-o-phobes enters my wife who has great love for all things that have to do with pen on paper. I think she should buy stock in the post office with how many stamps she goes through in a month. Every place we go traveling, we clean out the postcard racks. When we visit a new town, between us, the two most important places to locate is the internet café and the post office. Every don't receive birthday cards, Christmas cards, Easter, Halloween, you name it, she's sends them out. She faithfully corresponds with people from around the world using the postal system. While at the same time, she could go weeks without checking her email without worrying about it at all. While I too keep in contact with my own hoard of people from all over, I on the other hand do it by computer or phone. Between us, we're known in our circles for keeping track of everyone. We're the only members of our families who communicate with just about everyone on a regular basis. We're opposites with our technique, we see eye to eye with keeping staying close to family. I couldn't' imagine using the mail system to keep in contact with my family (I would never get a reply!) While for her, computers are cold and impersonal without tactile sensation of a card or letter.
Yet since I've got out here, she's emailed me daily plus and sent a letter. I'm always good about replying to emails but for the first time in my life, I've wrote a letter to her each night without missing a day. You might not think this is a big deal, but then again, you don't know me or my family real well. I have such stage fright of the post office, I did a Snoopy happy dance when my bank started its online bill pay. Me? Writing letters home daily? What's this world coming to?
My love, I just want you to know how much I appreciate everything you do and that I love you dearly (but you know that). To my readers, I couldn't have picked a better spouse if I had spent a thousand lifetimes searching. She's truly magical, amazing and unique and I'm a very lucky man to have her as my wife. Her beauty goes far beyond the stunning pictures that are all over my fotopage, she's the most caring and kind person I have ever met and I have no idea how I could live without her now that she's in my life.
Thank you for marrying me and being such a wonderful wife.

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