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Given the choice, I’d prefer to lick envelopes than type e-mails.
Letter writing, to me, can still be an art form.
That’s all it is now, really.
You sit down with a carefully chosen piece of stationery and your favorite smooth-inked pen.
You reflect on the week’s events and write them down unhurriedly, mostly because you’ve now forgotten how to hold a pen.
You are a modern calligrapher, you tell yourself. Your seasick, unreadable cursive letter will one day be kept behind plated glass, a symbol of a bygone era.
Sorting, deleting and typing e-mails day after day, however, are exercises in sustaining patience in the face of monotony:
How long you can stand to see e-mails pile up in your inbox (my count is rather low right now at 1,481).
Learning what the socially acceptable waiting period is before you must reply to an important e-mail.
How long before you start having night terrors about accidentally hitting “Reply All.”
E-mails are the dreaded drudgery of most of our work lives, but sometimes, in golden glimpses, good things come in e-mailed attachments.
Here’s a few highlights from my electronic mailbag of the good, the surprising and the weird that came across my desk in the last couple weeks:
$50 well spent
Someone from the Relay for Life camp e-mailed me last week about a Ward third grader named Audrey Tracy.
Audrey used her own Christmas money, about $50 in total, to purchase pet supplies and toys for a Relay for Life basket to be raffled at Friday’s event in the city park.
The 8-year-old wasn’t sure when she had the idea for the basket; her mother Claudette Tracy said it may have been shortly after their Chihuahua mix, Sandy, died.
Audrey — a lover of dogs, cats and birds — plans to attend Relay and bring her basket and a poster, decorated with magazine clippings of puppies poking their heads over white picket fences, cutout orange dogs and what looks to be one sparkly brown dachshund sticker.
When I came to take Audrey’s photo last Thursday, she hadn’t yet pasted the photos of her grandfathers, Ralph Jouitt Tracy and Claude Frank Waldridge, to the poster.
“I want to help people like my granddad and Papaw live a long, healthy life,” Audrey’s poster reads.
The late Ralph Jouitt Tracy died of esophageal cancer in 2008 when Audrey was 8 months old, her mother said.
Audrey’s other grandfather, Claude Frank Waldridge, survived a battle with prostate cancer and plans to be at the Relay for Life event.
So will Audrey and her family, mom Claudette said.
After all, the city park is right behind their house on Aspen Drive.
Audrey wasn’t too talkative when I bombarded her with questions about her Relay for Life basket project (although I did find out she would love to have a turtle.)
Not that she needed to be.
I think spending your saved-up Christmas money to raise funds for cancer research speaks for itself.
Audrey’s basket will be available at the Relay for Life event starting at 6 p.m. Friday in the city park.
Bid on it and raise funds for more birthdays.
Twins separated at birth?
Do you Google yourself?
C’mon, it’s OK. We’re all friends here.
Most people (including myself) have searched for their own names in the search engine, looking for long lost twins on the other side of the world or an Internet record of your own achievements.
A few weeks ago, I received a rather interesting e-mail regarding an engagement announcement we had recently run in the newspaper.
Specifically, Nicole McQuilliam and John-Austin Jenkins, whose wedding is set to take place this Saturday.
Fiona McQuilliam-Jenkins lives in the United Kingdom.
She had been Googling herself, she said, and came across Nicole and John-Austin’s engagement announcement online.
“When I saw the story of the couple who got engaged I was amazed that we have exactly the same surname,” Fiona said in her e-mail. “In the UK, McQuilliam is a very rare name.”
What I think is the most peculiar: not only is Fiona’s last name McQuilliam (like the Harrodsburg bride-to-be Nicole McQuilliam), but Fiona also married into the Jenkins name.
Too weird. But a good weird.
I put Fiona in touch with the couple, and she gave me some interesting tidbits about the history of the McQuilliams (Normans, came over with William the Conqueror from France, eventually settled in Ireland and became a mercenary clan.)
Out of my own perverse curiosity, I Facebook messaged my Meaghan Downs doppelgangers — two women who share the exact first and last name as me.
Although I’m not sure if they’d respond.
Now, for the weird
As a reporter, I receive a mountain of weird press releases for gizmos and gadgets no one needs, obscure books no one wants to review, and ill-conceived television shows to critique. Nothing local, nothing Anderson County specific.
I usually delete those e-mails without much more than a quick skim for any possible Lawrenceburg connection.
But I did stop at this one.
“For generations, mysterious Appalachian monsters like Wolfman have spawned countless sightings,” the release reads. “Now, having spent a lifetime with the West Virginia wilderness as their home, hobby, and hunting ground, a band of hardcore hunters and trappers known as The Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings (AIMS) is at the ready to identify and snare these monsters in the hope of helping local mountain residents rest more easily.”
Who is this wolf monster that so terrifies the Wolfe County residents?
(I believe the Wolfe County referred to is the one located near the Natural Bridge State Park in Stanton. The release didn’t specify about locale.)
A 500 pound, 7-foot tall Wolfman.
Really. A Wolfman.
According to the release, this is a new television show from Destination America that shows the AIMS team interviewing witnesses, collecting “solid” evidence of the Wolfman’s existence and building a customized trap large enough to “hopefully walk away with the beast itself.”
I know that this show is only trying to capitalize on the success of “Ghost Hunters” and “Finding Bigfoot,” but I feel my time is better spent focusing on other stories and articles that don’t involve half human-animal hybrids.
If anyone spots a centaur in the back roads of Anderson County, however, I’ll definitely be interested.
Just shoot me an e-mail.
Got news tips, photos or questions? Did you spot the Wolfman? E-mail Meaghan Downs at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @ANewsMDowns.