|From Google Images,www.dreamstime.com|
They began corresponding through a church penpal exchange when they were 14 or 15 years old. At the time, my mother lived on a farm in Pratt County, Kansas. Jill lived in Melbourne, Australia. They wrote letters back and forth two or three times a year during their teenage years.
With families and busy lives, the frequency waned, but they always exchanged Christmas cards and letters. This year was the 65th time they've sent Christmas cards and letters across the ocean.
I didn't consciously name our daughter after the Australian Jill. But maybe there was still some childhood fascination with this exotic "visitor" who arrived via the mailbox from a land so far away. I won't rule out a subconscious attraction to the name.
My parents finally met the Australian Jill in 2001. By that time, Jill had moved to Paradise Point, a town near Brisbane. They spent some time with Jill playing hostess to the tourists. My mom said it was like visiting with an old friend, though she admits that both of them needed to slow down their speech cadence to cope with the unfamiliar accent of the other.
Perhaps that is why I felt an immediate connection to an Australian blogger, Lynda. But even more than the Australian penpal legacy, I am amazed at Lynda's photography featured on her blog, Farm-ily.
Lynda and her husband, Phil, farm near Tocumwal in New South Wales.
In November, she posted the cover of her 2016 Farm-ily calendar. I commented to her that it could have been taken at my favorite "sunrise" tree.
|Photo from Lynda's November 18 Farm-ily|
Her calendar came in the mail before Christmas, and what a gift it was! Even though the photos were taken halfway across the world, there's the familiarity of the beauty of life on the farm - whether it's in the middle of Kansas or in New South Wales.
|The front of my 2016 calendar. I do it with special occasion dates for some in my family.|
I was refreshing my memory with my mom about her Australian penpal, and I learned something I didn't know. Some 20 years ago, the two penpals began exchanging calendars as Christmas gifts. My Mom sent Jill a calendar with Kansas images. Jill's calendar reflects the scenery of Australia.
I may not have a penpal from Australia. But I have a blog friend. Developing friendships with people you only know from their blogs is one of the fringe benefits.
It really is a small world after all.