Spring arrived a bit early this year in Minnesota. Not many were complaining other than a few snow lovers related to me. And with every new season, traditions follow along. One of them being the first spring walk around the southern half of Lake Harriet to visit the Elf House.
For as long as I can recall, the Elf, who we refer to as Mr. Little Guy, has lived in this tree and responds to every single letter he receives, sometimes more than 1,500 in a year. The enchanting story has caught the attention of people young and old, yet his identity remains a mystery. Impressively, Mr. Little Guy does not write generic letters but personalizes each one with responses to specific questions and details from the lives of his correspondents.
In past years his reply letters have usually been typed so we were surprised to find a stash of handwritten notes on our first visit a few weeks ago. Not only were they hand written but were sealed with a wax stamp. Mr. Little Guy had stepped it up. Of course the next trip to the Elf House was soon in the making now that we knew our friend was back from hibernation. In our first letter to Mr. Little Guy, Emmett was curious where he lived over the winter and Oliver needed to make sure the Elf was aware of how many mugs of hot cocoa & marshmallows he consumed during the cooler months.
For the boys, I think it’s mostly the mysterious life of this secret creature that keeps them coming back for more. For me, it’s the fact that this anonymous individual has created a free system in the middle of the city for anyone to correspond. Not only have they taken the time and interest to keep a tradition continuing, but they are encouraging people to write. It’s like their own pen pal that leads another magical life. I want to be the Elf. Maybe before our next visit I’ll write my own letter and ask him if he ever needs help. Or maybe I’ll just stay a kid and believe in the magic of the unknown writer.