Sometimes we can observe random acts of kindness in the unlikeliest of ways. That’s what happened to me recently when I received a handwritten note from retired Texas ginner Myrl Mitchell. I have known Myrl for more than 20 years, and I always enjoy visiting with him every year at the Texas Cotton Ginners Association’s annual meeting in Lubbock. Although Myrl retired from active ginning back in 2004, he and his wife are fixtures at industry meetings in Texas. He knows every TCGA meeting attendee by his (or her) first name and loves to tell stories. If you didn’t know any better, you might say that Myrl is the unofficial goodwill ambassador for Texas ginners. And make no mistake about it. He relishes being able to walk the trade show floor where he makes a personal visit to every exhibitor. He also appreciates the technology that is a part of today’s ginning, but that still doesn’t stop him from talking about “the good old days.” I might be the only other person more nostalgic about the past than Myrl.
Getting back to the “act of kindness,” about once a year Myrl faxes a handwritten note and thanks me for whatever we have recently published in the magazine. Apparently, he doesn’t own a computer, but that doesn’t stop him from making a special trip to the Four-Way Gin in Lenorah where he faxes his note. There is something about a handwritten note that has so much more meaning than just another email. Anybody who takes the time to write a note and then drives to a local gin to transmit it…is a special person.
So, how can I properly reply to Myrl’s handwritten note? Obviously, I can’t send him an email. Instead, I plan to write a note and fax it back to the Four Way Gin and thank Myrl for being one of the few people who clings to a tradition that few of us appreciate anymore. When you read a handwritten note, you know that the person has taken the time to put his feelings down on paper. And regardless of how the person’s penmanship looks, it’s the thought that counts.
By the way, Myrl doesn’t just fire off a quick two sentences in his notes. His last note was about a page and a half in length, and he meticulously talked about nearly every story that was published in a recent issue of Cotton Farming. He likes to talk about people that he knows and recognizes on the magazine’s pages.
Myrl is quick witted and loves to joke around with anybody he visits at a trade show. So, I’m sure he’ll hit me with another story when I see him in Lubbock in April. But I am officially giving Myrl some advance notice. Soon, he’ll be receiving my handwritten note that I plan to fax to the Four-Way Gin. Mainly, I’m planning to tell him that I’d rather receive a faxed note any day as opposed to another email.
Some traditions never go out of style.