Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Thank You Note. Or Not.

Thank You Notes. The bane of every child's existence. In my day, anyway. I was raised to write them and, pretty much like all other kids, hated it. It's not that I wasn't appreciative of gifts, I just didn't see why I had to take the time to sit down and construct an actual letter. Especially if it was after a birthday party where the gift was handed to me and I said "thank you". That's enough, right? Wrong.

Then I grew up. And guess what? My kids were raised to write them. When they were little, I'd have to do the writing. The irony was not lost on me that I was now writing my own and someone else's (two someone else's) as well. In stages, the boys took over part of their own responsibility. They'd sign their name or draw a picture to the notes I'd written on their behalf. Later, they'd dictate a thank you for me to send. Eventually the time came when they'd write their own notes and stuff them into the envelope I'd addressed and stamped. And they'd "forget", put it off, complain, all the things I did at their age. I'd constantly be telling them that they spent longer avoiding and complaining than they would just writing them.

Thank You Note. Or Not. Do we still write them? Do we need to? | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

The art of the "proper thank you" has gone the way of hieroglyphics. That's not all bad. Even though I'd hit both ends of the pendulum, from thinking they are the most evil thing you could make poor young me do to understanding how important thanking people is and asking (OK, insisting) my kids write them, I'm now heading in the direction of my original thought. For the most part (maybe other than wedding gifts), I don't see the point. To me, most people these days, formality does not a proper thank you make . . .

Thank You Notes have been replaced many times over, by cards you can just sign to pre-printed generic fill in the blanks to phone calls, to emails, and now texts. And other than the fill in the blank ones, I'm fine with all of the above. Because to me, it's more the message and less the medium. Saying thank you is more about reaching out to express gratitude. 

Words, in whatever form, are enough. Although it's very different from receiving a gift, I've done it all from sending emails to teachers, texting a friend who dropped off dinner, verbally thanked the waitress for delivering our meals.

Grilled Cedar Planked Salmon, a healthy and flavorful dinner. Lightly marinated, then grilled on a cedar plank. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner #fish

Grilled Cedar Planked Salmon

Grilled Cedar Planked Salmon, a healthy and flavorful dinner. Lightly marinated, then grilled on a cedar plank. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner #fish

on the grill

Grilled Cedar Planked Salmon, a healthy and flavorful dinner. Lightly marinated, then grilled on a cedar plank. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner #fish

on the plate

We have relatives who send very minimal checks as gifts. I know it sounds disrespectful, but through the years the boys and I have joked about it as they wrote out their obligatory notes. We'd say things like "the gift doesn't even pay for the stamp on the thank you note." And the one time my son just somehow forgot? The relative actually went to his grandmother (my mom), who was flying out here for his high school graduation, that while she was here she should admonish him for not sending a "thank you". Truth is, no matter what the gift is or isn't, even at it's least grateful the note is about acknowledging receipt. At it's core, a gift is about the thought, the time and the effort. Some level of reciprocating effort is expected, and it should be.
In the spirit of gratitude, I have a few acknowledgements to make myself, and now seems like as good a time as any.

*Thank you to my family, near and far, blood and step and chosen. No explanation necessary, just thank you.

*Thank you to Purdue, for helping my boy achieve his goals. Through loss and emotional trauma and even his first broken bone, he is growing and changing and becoming everything I knew he could be.

*Thank you to this political season. College Boy and I haven't talked and laughed this much since he was little. Through discussing all the shenanigans we read about every day, I learn just how intelligent and thoughtful my oldest is.

*Thank you to Intersession and to Spring Break and to Summer Break.

*Thank you to the readers who raise my spirits with their page views and comments. Sometimes, when I'm really down, that's all it takes to eek out a smile.

*Thank you to my recipe muse. Collaboration is way more fun than alone.

*Thank you to those who written for me, to all who collaborate with me, the people who challenge and encourage me. 

*Thank you to Spring. I sit on the deck with my face towards the sky, listen to recess at the school through the woods and I know I've made it through another winter.

And although a call, an email or a text is just fine by me, like Mom taught me, I did actually just put that in writing.

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Grilled Cedar Planked Salmon

Printable Recipe

NOTE: For this recipe you will need a cedar plank meant for grilling food. They're available in many places, including on Amazon. 
1# fresh salmon filet
3 cups apple cider
1/3 cup olive oil
1 TBSP dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp minced garlic

*At least 2 hours before cooking, submerge the plank in the apple cider and place in the refrigerator.
*At the same time, rinse and pat the fish dry. Whisk the olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, dill and garlic, and place in a pan. Add the fish and flip over a few times to be sure it's all covered in the marinade. Refrigerate until 1 hour before cooking.
*When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium high. Lower the temperature to medium. Remove the plank from the cider and place on the grill. 
*Remove the fish from the marinade and place, skin side down on the plank. Brush the top of the fish with marinade from the pan and immediately close the grill.
*Allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until the fish flakes with a fork. Remove to serving plate. Discard the plank.


  1. To me, the greatest thrill is receiving a HAND-WRITTEN thank you from my 4-year-old grandson and I am glad his mom is old-fashioned enough to have him do that. Saying that.....I would appreciate any type of thank you -- it's just one step better.

    1. I agree, there's nothing like a cute note from a little kid, whether it's a few words or a picture or even a design with stickers, they are so cute. They're like a gift themselves.

  2. I taught my son to send thank you notes no matter what - it truly is the thought that counts. And your recipe reminds me of our visit to Seattle back in 1979, when we tasted cedar planked salmon for the first time. Too bad, when I tried to share it on Facebook, it linked to some other recipe - strange! Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. I taught both of my sons to also, but now that they're on their own they don't send them. They do acknowledge with phone calls and emails though.

  3. I think it is sad that for many writing a thank you note is lost, they don't get it the parents didn't teach them that it was a nice and polite thing to do. I write thank you notes, well I try to if I don't forget, usually I like to write the thank you note as soon as possible after receiving the gift or whatever I am saying thank you for because if I don't I will forget.

    1. I'm the same way, I do it as soon as possible so I don't forget.

  4. This was a nice read, Karen. Loved the topic...so well put together.
    And that fish looks super yummy...I am still drooling over it:)

    1. So glad you enjoyed the read. Hope you try the recipe.


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