Somewhere, packed away, I have a small collection of love notes from days (and boyfriends) gone by. My favorite reads something like, “Girl, I like you more than white likes rice!” Although this fella did his best to impress me, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. This southern expression has more to do with keeping an eye on or sticking close to someone - like white on rice.
I also have a large collection of letters and cards I received from my husband during the days of our courtship. We were high school and college sweethearts who married after 5 1/2 years of dating. I love to look through this collection to see how our relationship has grown and changed over the years - from lovestruck teenagers to newlyweds with nothing but time together to working parents longing for time together!
Although love letters are certainly not an exclusively southern tradition, some of the most romantic are definitely southern. My pastor, who is also quite the historian, shared with me some beautiful love letters written by civil war soldiers to their loved ones back home. Check out www.jessicajamesblog.com to read their eloquent words of love and affection. People just don’t write letters like this anymore!
For example, read this letter General “Stonewall” Jackson wrote to his wife during the Civil War:
Sept. 25, 1862
Darling, my heart turns to you with a love so great that pain flows in its wake. You cannot understand this, my beautiful, bright-eyed, sunny-hearted princess. Your face is the sweetest face in all the world, mirroring, as it does, all that is pure and unselfish, and I must not cast a shadow over it by the fears that come to me, in spite of myself. No, a soldier should not know fear of any kind. I must fight and plan and hope, and you must pray. Pray for a realization of all our beautiful dreams, sitting beside our own hearthstone in our own home—you and I, you my goddess of devotion, and I your devoted slave. May God in his mercy spare my life and make it worthy of you!…
(copied from http://www.jessicajamesblog.com/2014/02/civil-war-love-letters-from-stonewall.html)
What if we brought back the tradition of the love letter? These civil war soldiers had no problem declaring their affection for their wives back home. Can you imagine the joy those ladies felt as they carefully opened those precious envelopes containing their loved ones’ expressions of devotion? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to receive such a letter? And, how much fun would it be to write such a letter, knowing how meaningful it would be to the recipient?
Here at The Southern Mercantile, we encourage you to share the love this Valentine’s Day! Write a letter to your loved ones, expressing how much you care for them. This isn’t exclusive to romantic love, either. You can do this for family, friends, your mail carrier, your hair dresser, even total strangers! We’ve mentioned the mission of Hannah Brencher before. Check out www.moreloveletters.com for how you can bless a total stranger with your own love letter.