Postcards from the middle | NNoTW October 13, 2021

Kyle recently came back from a work trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“How did it go?” I asked.

“Great!”  He said – and then, forlornly, “But I couldn’t find any postcards.”

Every single time Kyle travels, he sends a postcard.  By “a postcard,” I mean upwards of a dozen of them.  And by “travels,” I mean if his head hits a pillow that is not his own, it counts as a trip – including once in Grand Forks when we booked a hotel room because we were having some work done at the house.

His recipient list varies; it’s usually a handful of family members plus whatever addresses he has in his head at the moment.  He decides how many postcards he’s going to send by how many he buys, and he typically buys eight or so wherever he sees them being sold.  The last time we were in Arizona, for example, he ended up with approximately forty postcards because we went to a park that had as many gift shops as tourist attractions.

He doesn’t write much – “We are in Arizona, and it’s 95 degrees.  This postcard has a cactus on the front because you’re pretty fly for a cacti.” – and he never expects a card in return.  Every once in a while someone will send one back on their own travels, and he will read it several times before hanging it in a place of prominence either by his bedside or in his office.

Kyle’s two biggest postcard fans are named Harrison and Louis, and both are under the age of five.  Kyle once sent Harrison a postcard with a frontiersman on the front, and that little fella was absolutely convinced that said frontiersman was Kyle and carried the card around for a week.  Louis, on the other hand, wants to immediately travel to whatever place the postcard is promoting.

I fell in love with Kyle, in part, because of postcards.  I had just started my current job (I’m a marketing director) and was asked to host a booth at an aviation conference and trade show in Minot.  Instead of the usual promotional items, I decided that I would print up a bunch of postcards with my firm’s logo and pithy taglines (“Making Magic in the Magic City!”) and let people “mail” them via a (very cute) mailbox (that I spent a very long time building).  At the end of the show, I would stamp all of the postcards and send them off to their lucky recipients.

What I failed to consider was that a bunch of North Dakota aviators would have had career opportunity to send postcards from all sorts of exotic and amazing places, and would henceforth be less inclined to communicate their positioning from a town in which they either A) lived or B) could travel to without needing to stop to go to the bathroom.  I mailed one postcard from that conference – to myself, with a note that read, “Amanda: next year, bring sunglasses clips.”

Kyle and I met two months later.  Our first weekend away was up to (exotic and amazing) Winnipeg, where we attended the Festival du Voyageur, ate Thai food, and stopped at a store so Kyle could get some postcards.

“Do you like postcards?” I asked him, wary that he had been secretly one of the attendees at the aviation conference and was low-key teasing me.

“Oh, yes,” he said.  “I always send a postcard to Uncle Buddy.”

Kyle’s paternal great-uncle was a gentleman named Dominic, who everyone called Uncle Buddy.  Uncle Buddy contracted polio as a boy and lived in a care home most of his life.  After she married my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, Jean, took to mailing Uncle Buddy a postcard whenever the family went on a vacation.  Uncle Buddy was pretty much non-verbal, but he liked the postcards so much that he called Jean “Postcard.”  When Kyle moved to the United States, he also started sending Uncle Buddy postcards – tossing a few extra in the mail for his grandpa, parents, and brothers at the same time.

So, I married him.

Fast-forward to now, it turns out you can order postcards on the Internet.  A few days after his return from Pittsburgh, Kyle received a pack of Pennsylvania postcards and immediately turned around and sent them to their intended recipients – putting a little memory of Uncle Buddy and Jean out into the universe once again, too.

If you would like to receive a Kyle postcard, send him a message on Twitter.  His handle is @ICKyleK.  The photo above is of Kyle with some of the postcards he’s received.

This week’s news has whooping cranes, “manure on the court,” and the Northern Lights.  Read on.


Wabek’s – or rather, the town formerly known as Wabek – Hunter Andes is raising money to preserve the ghost town’s school building. (KX Net)

Keep your eyes on the skies this week as migrating whooping cranes make their way across North Dakota. (AP News)

The Prairie Village Museum now has a new Germans from Russia Heritage Center to celebrate North Dakota’s “largest ethic immigrant group.” (KX Net)

The Rotary Club of Wahpeton Breckenridge filled a bus with 8,249 pounds of food for the food pantry (plus over $1,000 in cash) with a whopping 7,000 of those pounds coming from Econofoods. (Wahpeton Daily News)

Grand Forks got quite the light show on Monday night courtesy of a once-in-360-days aurora display. (Grand Forks Herald)

This is a sweet little anecdote – entitled “A little manure on the court won’t stop the farm athlete” – about what it’s like to grow up a farm kid. (Fargo Forum)

North Dakota has seen an 8% increase in racial diversity over the past decade. (Grand Forks Herald)

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