India Choquette is a writer, a trainer, a teacher, a breakfast sandwich eater, a person in love with a person, and a FOrmer Vermonter living in New York City.

Today I opened my mail.

I don't do this often because the mail I receive is not interesting or important. If it is important, I don't know about it because I never read it.

But today I got the most incredible letter. I only opened it because it was from my grandmother, and I opened it a full month after receiving it. It is a mass letter to all the grandchildren. The front is a photocopied article with the title "Thank-you notes: A little gratitude goes a long way."

It was already a good start: just the headline sent me down a road of questioning the use of a hyphen in "Thank-you cards." I love a good grammar mystery.

On the back, my grandmother typed a letter. It reads:

"To all my Grandchildren, 

At the risk of alienating half my family, and you know who you are, I am sending this printout for future use.  To the other half, I thank you for kindly acknowledging any gifts or whatever so I know they actually arrived in good or useful form. While the next generation's ideas of necessary proprieties seem to have evaporated, children need to be taught to be thoughtful and thankful for the kindness of others to them. This will stand them in good stead as adults when they are striving to get ahead. Thanking those who help them along is always good form. As Bill Gates has said, 'You're not entitled. The world doesn't owe you anything.' Love, Grandma"

My grandmother is 100% correct. But I haven't received any gifts recently and this makes me wonder if my cousins are getting something that I am not. I don't like being left out.

More likely, she is thinking back on when we were young to a time when she sent us Christmas socks each year. Most of us are in our thirties now, and I find myself trying to remember if I forgot to send a thank-you (note the hyphen) card. I doubt that was the case, but clearly she would remember better than me.

I am keeping hanging this on the refrigerator. You can never have too many reminders not to be a jerk.




From Grandma

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