A letter worth writing

A letter worth writing

Feb 01, 2007

SOMETIMES the fewest words last the longest.

While researching his biography of James Herriott, Dr. James Wight stumbled upon a treasure trove of letters sent to his grandparents.

Herriott was a prodigious letter writer, according to Wight, and some just stuck with him as being quite comical.

One such letter from the 1940s stood out.

Dated in December, two words adorned the top: "The Dales."

The message was simple and direct.

"I'm sitting in my little car, frozen miserable, eating cheese sandwiches. My God, this is a grim place."

Car heaters hadn't been invented yet, and the letter was mailed without signature. This area of England is notoriously beautiful in the summer and nightmarish in the winter.

For Wight, the thought of his penning a letter, addressing it and sending it to communicate his frame of mind at that moment was priceless.

Every veterinarian who has made a farm call in the middle of winter likely has felt the same way, Wight says. He is no exception.