I bumped into my friend Ed again last week. He brought a folder of artwork into Neighbourhood Place, to have Sarah help him photocopy the prints. I asked him what he was up to, and he just smiled and said “oh I’m just making some copies here, going to write some letters to some of my dancing friends. I like to fancy up my stationery.”
Ed had carefully carried the prints in a leather folder, and he had planned ahead and brought cash to pay Sarah the $8 for making all the colour copies. While he was waiting for them to be finished he sat down by the window and started asking me about my film project. “So when are we ever going to see any of this?” he asked. He wanted to know where I was from, how I got into making videos, and why I liked doing it.
But I soon turned the conversation back to Ed’s life, because I really wanted to know why he was writing these letters. He explained that there were a few friends that hadn’t come to the monthly jam session in a while. “some of them kind of dropped off, and I’m worried about them.” he explained.
There’s something at work here, I think. Something that would have an almost 80 year old man, who is almost blind, walk up Main Street to “fancy up his stationery” and hand write letters to his dancing friends. I was moved that Ed would make the effort to go out of his way to check in on his friends and personally invite them to come back to Bashaw for another dance. Not only does it speak to how passionate Ed is about these monthly jam sessions, it also speaks to what a committed friend he is. When was the last time I went out of my way to check in with a friend I hadn’t seen or heard from in a long time, just to make sure everything is ok with them?
In our generation, in this age of social media, we are “connected” to hundreds of friends or contacts online, but it’s not always the same depth of relationship as what you get when you have to put in that extra “hand written” effort. I love seeing how passionate Ed is about getting people out to the dances in Bashaw, and I’m worried that just as those old time folk songs and dances are in danger of being lost if the next generation doesn’t learn them, so too are we in danger of losing the art of staying truly connected with friends, writing hand written letters and taking the time to focus on what’s going on in another person’s world.
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