Paper and ink and 29 cent stamps….

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 21, 2003

I keep them tied together with a string and tucked away in asafe place.

Every so often, or maybe when I think things could be better forme, I’ll take them out and read them. Even today, the cards andletters I received when I was seriously ill nine years ago can makeme feel better.

Some of the cards helped mark my 39th birthday. I didn’t think Iwould live to see 40. I’m not sure anybody did.

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Some are from people very dear to me. The handwriting of mymother, my sister and my brothers is immediately recognizable.

Others bear the markings of children, of nieces and nephews nowalmost grown. The sandy-haired boy who did a drawing of the NinjaTurtles just for me is a sophomore at Ole Miss. The blonde,blue-eyed dancer who addressed her card “Net, 104 Monticello,Brookhaven” is at Delta State and will soon be a school teacher.(Thanks to the post office for finding me.)

Some are from my Inez Hotel neighbors, who also took care of mewhen I was not at my mother’s house in Duck Hill. One — in her ownspecial way — kept me updated on the Inez news. “… Have a newneighbor in 17, but I haven’t seen him and can’t remember what hisname is.”

Agnes, Jean Rose, Josephine, Hazle and Bessie. They’ve allpassed away, but I was blessed to have them as neighbors andfriends.

Some of the cards are from my DAILY LEADER co-workers. Some havenow gone on to other jobs. Some, sadly, are gone forever.

“Hang in there, kid,” wrote Joe McDonald, who later lost his ownbattle against illness.

Some are from Duck Hill classmates. “The doctor says you’ll benormal in no time — that’ll be a first” reads the print in onecard. These people know me very, very well.

“I know you must feel discouraged but don’t give up. Nothing isimpossible with the Lord,” wrote one of my school teachers.

A few are from people I don’t know … somebody in a SundaySchool class knew somebody who knew somebody who knew me. Theirkind thoughts and prayers were appreciated.

I can still take comfort in some of the card’s messages.

… May God’s healing power ease your pain and soothe yourfears.

… and He gives us new strength by the touch of His hand.

… Praying His presence will bring health, hope, newness — allthat you need.

… We continue to petition to our Dear Lord on your behalf…

… Remember that God cares for you and will help to see youthrough.

Several times I’ve thought about throwing the cards away, but Ican’t do it. To anybody else, I guess they’re just paper and inkand 29 cent stamps. To me, they’re a reminder to give thanks everyday.

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.39602, or send e-mail to