I know it's technically bad form to node email, but my dad sent me this today, and it just made a lot of sense. Maybe somebody else can get something out of it, too. I have edited the names to help the letter make more sense to the casual reader, and to protect the innocent. I have preserved the formatting, and the questionable spelling to the best of my ability.

Hi [ClockworkGrue],
Just dropping you a note to say that we are thinking of you. Because [your sister at school in Colorado] is an hour behind us I have picked up the phone a couple of times to call her but I keep worrying that it is too late to call you.

I imagine that you have settled in to your classes for fall. Did the dance class work out for you? If you have ever seen me dance you would know why I couldn't manage to pass a class like that. So, good luck to you.

[Your sister] was saying that you were going to look up graduate schools in computer graphics. I imagine that as things get more and more computerized that they will get more grahpical (sic) and eye catching. It will be interesting to see how much this war stuff actually changes how we live. My guess is that we will keep watching companies lay people off until January or February but I think by June we will be expanding the ecomomy (sic) again. When I was in college they reinstated the draft for the war in Viet Nam. It made us think alot (sic) about our beliefs. We thought about going to Canada or being conscienious (sic) objectors or going in the navy before the army drafted us. There was a lot to think about in that war that was so unpopular. We were finally let off the hook when the lottery was held and both [your uncle] and I had pretty high numbers so we knew that we probably would not be drafted. The way it worked was that we had college deferments (called S2 status). So when we learned what our numbers were we wrote the the draft board and asked them to change us to 1A status. Then for one year we were in line to be drafted. My birthday (Feb 25th) had a number of 142. They had to draft everyone with a number up to 141 before they got to me. It was nice to get through that year without being drafted so I could finish college. Then I got to the place where you are... not knowing what I would do next. The fear of the unknown does motivate one to pursue some things and that is good. On the other hand looking back from 30 years experience I can say that I was anxious for no real good reason. I decided to go into corrections and did that for a year before I figured out that wasn't right. So I went back to doing youth ministry that I had done part-time during college. Then after another year I went back to Graduate school while working full time to make a living to move into a career in the ministry. There are days when I wish I had not done this. Most days I like it. My regret is that I probably spent more time working when you were small that I should have spent with you, [your sister] and mom. This is also a low paying profession so that has effected (sic) this whole college thing. But it is a good lifestyle and I think it has kept me thinking and made me a better person. It is the one profession that makes you think about God and the meaning of life in our very secular world.

Let me know what's up when you have time. Dad