Learning to Love Pilot Pens

I prefer Sharpie extra fine point pens. I had drained my last two and still had 300+ postcards to write. I’ve avoided stores since March, and didn’t have the luxury of time to order some online.

I had ordered the box of Pilot Precise V5 pens for Dad. He was in one of his extended stays in the hospital, and still taking care of business as though he wasn’t going through daily dialysis treatments and weekly chemotherapy. He asked me to bring yellow legal pads and Pilot pens from home – those were his tools of choice. There was only one Pilot pen at the house and the local Staples was out of them. I ordered a box of them on Amazon and had them delivered the next day. He used one from the box of twelve before he passed.

That box sits in my office. I never cared for Pilot pens. They explode on planes into an inky mess. That was important at one time in my life. I generally like a thicker line; the Pilot’s are razor thin. The box has sat in my basket of writing materials – highlighters, markers, pens, Sharpies – since last May. Each time I glance at it I fondly remember Dad’s preferences, but I’ve never opened the box.

Until now. I took out a pen and began writing the message on the postcard. It was surprisingly perfect. The fine line allowed me to write the entire message without crowding. I thought of Dad with each postcard I wrote, and how if he were still alive, we’d be writing the postcards together. Voting was so important to him. When I lived in California, he called me every voting day to ask if I had voted (I had). He volunteered to ensure everyone could vote. Our last trip together was to Montgomery, Alabama, where, in his declining health, he insisted on walking across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma. It was a cold October day, and we had to stop every few feet for him to rest and catch his breath. And he was so happy.

And last night I finished the postcards. Five hundred to voters in Georgia, encouraging them to vote. Written in my hand, with Dad’s pen. A labor of love.