A “Thank You” for Still Being on the List

Dear Reader:

I remember in one class (which all in-coming female freshman students were required to take at Erskine College, we were taught all kinds of  ‘how to be a lady’ and to ‘conduct ourselves properly’ instructions. Things like setting tables, conducting ourselves at different functions, dressing suitably for the occasion, make-up, manners, etc. *AND the art of writing thank you notes,  especially responding within an appropriate amount of time and  including tastefully expressed messages.

Little did I realize this past Saturday, while going to the mailbox, that the cards awaiting me inside, would prompt me to do something long overdue…thank people for extended thoughtfulness year after year after year.

Three cards spoke to me because every year they arrive within a day or two of each other and every year I promise myself I am going to return a Thanksgiving or Christmas card back to them. Unfortunately, every year goes by and to date I have never reciprocated. (I am a flop at sending Christmas cards. Good intentions but it seems like the season always gets away from me too soon.)

All three of these people (actually four-one is a couple) aren’t people I know closely. I know them through extended family or past district teaching experiences or through state social studies conferences and leadership panels. Upon reflection I haven’t physically seen any of these card senders in decades…but yet each of them played a role in my family or career or spiritual development. They all deserve a long overdue thank you card.

I decided to consult a thank you note writing guide and I thought the circumstances they cited for prompting a return thank you note fell under my present category of card senders.

You might want to send a thank you for a card when:

You are touched or otherwise impressed by the card. This could happen if you’ve received a birthday card for the first time as an adult. Perhaps your own immediate family does not send birthday cards. Then you get married or start dating someone. There may be people in the significant other’s family that start sending you a birthday card each year. If you are moved by this, by all means, send a thank you note card. This will also let the sender know that the card was appreciated and impacted you.

I realize today that all three senders’ annual cards have impacted me…not necessarily as much from the written message inside but simply more for the fact that I am never forgotten on their Thanksgiving or Christmas list.

In fact…now I can count on these cards arriving right at Thanksgiving or the day after….two of these senders start my Christmas season each year with their cards. If I didn’t receive one I would be sad…afraid something had happened to one of them.

I am not going to use names but let me give you a brief overview of the senders’ back grounds starting with the annual Thanksgiving card.

It is always hand-made (in the sense that it is created on the computer.) The card says it is made especially for each sender. There is usually a touching quotation, along with pictures of flowers from this amazing woman’s garden. We share this love and delight together. This year a 2018 pocket-size calendar was included…some years even small packets of flower seeds have been contained within the envelope .

What makes this sender truly amazing is that she has fought severe health problems since I have known her…yet she always showed up for every district board meeting to address the concerns of teachers and other pertinent matters in education. She was the champion of overall teacher improvement and better communication/resource opportunities.

We came to know each other through fellow educators and coursework we shared together. The more I was around her…the more I appreciated her admirable consistency in helping teachers, as well as, her students.

Today this amazing woman’s life is pretty restricted due to her on-going health issues…but she still reaches out every year to share and give to others the blessings she, herself,  acknowledges each year. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including me in your “list.” I am honored. I hope I expressed this in my card back to you this year.

It is always a contest between the next two senders as to whose Christmas card arrives first…one is from a couple from extended family on the Dingle side and the other contender is from a man who ran the State Social Studies program for several years when I served as a Social Studies Specialist for the district.

This year the couple’s card has arrived first. I can not begin to count the number of years I have received a card from them…even after the divorce. These type of cards are rare after a marriage dissolves and that is why it always means so much to me to still be included in their Christmas list. So this year I wrote back (finally) to let them know… just this.

My social studies friend loves Santa cards and each year I have saved some of my favorites over the years to attach to my Christmas tree. I look forward, excitedly, to see what each year’s Santa will look like. They are always exquisite. I can’t help but feel that the sender’s true self shows up each year as Santa…every year at this time of year.

A big thank you to this individual who supported me at the state level with the district social studies program…he was a huge help to me during those years. I wrote a  thank you to him for his role as a special Santa helper to me when I certainly needed it.

So until tomorrow…If you know of someone who has sent a card that deserves a heartfelt message back….don’t worry about getting caught up in a crazy “Thank you” for a “Thank you” card cycle. Some thank you’s just stand alone and on their own. Those are my special messages of thankfulness.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Another walk, another beautiful day! I would love it if anyone out there recognizes the first two trees I took a photo of….they are quickly losing their leaves…one is gigantically tall….Vickie didn’t know their names but thought they were both the same type of tree. Whatever the name…they are beautiful!

I have always wondered what the difference between a sasanqua and camellia is…one source told me that the time of year they bloom is one sure way to tell them apart…the sasanqua blooms now…late fall and early winter. Camellias bloom in late winter and early spring…camellia blooms are larger and somewhat more “stately” than sasanquas. But both are breath-taking.

The sasanqua bushes around the neighborhood are old and huge like this one….

Eva Cate and Jakie were ready for Thanksgiving reflecting on the indigeneous people who lived here before the explorers….By the end of Thanksgiving weekend they were sitting on Santa’s lap…such are the holidays. (*Psst! I hear tell that Jakie didn’t scream when he saw Santa this year for the first time…I am waiting on the pictorial evidence!) Tigger…I love your new look…quite debonair!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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6 Responses to A “Thank You” for Still Being on the List

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    This was a great reminder of another thing to be thankful for, and that would be people who do seemingly small things which are so important to the recipient. It is great that you are sending a response of thank you. Makes me wonder what I should acknowledge this year. Your tree pictures are gorgeous. I have enjoyed the beautiful and many colors of fall this year. Sat. as we rode to the Dufford homeplace (only used for gatherings now), I think I spoke about the beauty of the colors so many times until the girls were ready to say, “Yes, mama, we are appreciating the beauty for the ‘Umteenth’ time.”


  2. bcparkison says:

    As someone who sends out a lot of handmade cards I can tell you it is rare but much appreciated when there is a response.. Good for you ( of course your people may be in shock after all this time. LOL)
    Now…about the trees…are there leaves or needles? Kinda looks like a cypress but may not be.
    Wonder what it is about Santa that frightens little ones. My grands are very suspicious but these days that is a good thing when it comes to strangers.


  3. Rachel Edwards says:

    This made me smile because my grandmother sent cards all of her life and growing up people would always share that with me.

    On Nov 27, 2017 6:04 AM, “Chapel of Hope Stories” wrote:

    > Becky Dingle posted: ” Dear Reader: I remember in one class (which all > in-coming female freshman students were required to take at Erskine > College, we were taught all kinds of ‘how to be a lady’ and to ‘conduct > ourselves properly’ instructions. Things like setting table” >


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