Saturday, October 29, 2011

Have We Lost the "Art of Thank You?"

I've heard several people comment recently that "thank you" seems to have disappeared from our vocabulary. These were co-workers, a teacher, a grandmother and someone commenting on a blog. One person mentioned that thank you notes seem almost a forgotten courtesy these days.

"Thank you notes? What does that have to do with cooking?" you ponder.

Perhaps it doesn't, except in a round-about way if someone gives you a homemade gift or brings meals when you or a family member is sick. However, the discussion brings back memories of childhood when my siblings and I sat around the dining table the day after Christmas, birthdays, and other occasions for gifts.

Mother always insisted we write "thank you" notes. I may not have seen the value then, although we did come from a family of letter writers, but now I'm glad Mother desired to teach this courtesy.

I also recall sitting in my grandmother's kitchen writing letters and thank you notes with her when I visited. Every Sunday and Wednesday evenings, and sometimes in between, Nanny wrote letters to her two children living in other towns. She also penned notes to friends, including those she needed to thank for some kindness.

Writing Notes Anywhere

At our farmhouses, the kitchen table became the spot for letter writing, craft projects, homework, reading, and chatting over a cup of tea. So naturally, when I think of thank you notes, these occasions often come to mind, although I've learned from a friend that you can write these anywhere.

From her, I've acquired the habit of keeping postcards and note cards with me so I can jot a note on the spot instead of waiting and then forgetting. She always has these cards in her planner or purse.

If I mention a mutual friend who is ill, experiencing difficulties, received recognition, she asks, "Mary, what's their address?" then pulls out a card and addresses it immediately. If she doesn't have time to write the note, she has the addressed envelope or postcard to remind her when there are a few moments.

Making Thank You Notes

Thank you notes can be a fun cardmaking project with your children or grandchildren, as well as one teaching the "art of thank you."

*Use scrapbooking supplies and adorn some heavier paper or cardstock in various ways.

*Do you have stamping supplies on hand? Your youngsters might like to use these when making notes, as well as birthday and get well cards.

*Colored paper and crayons or colored pencils also suffice for creating attractive cards and notes. Perhaps you have pens with gold and silver ink for use, too. Youngsters love to draw and write with these.

*If you're into a more extensive project, make paper with the youngsters to use for their cards.

Thank You Note Snacks

A bite of goodies helps spur youngsters on with their tasks. Perhaps it will contribute to the enjoyment of this one of thank you note writing.

RAISIN NUT NUMBLES - Boil 2 cups of raisins in 1 cup water for 5 minutes. Cool and stir in 1 teaspoon baking soda.

Cream 1 cup shortening and 2 cups sugar; add 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir into the raisin mixture. Mix well.

Sift together 4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt; add to other ingredients. Fold in 1 cup chopped walnuts.

Stir well and drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10 minutes.

(c)Mary Emma Allen

(Mary Emma Allen writes from her woodland home in New Hampshire. )