Last week, I wrote about how I like storms, not violent ones, but very pleasant summer ones. I find they offer me a great deal of pleasure — simple pleasures for simple minds.

Another thing I enjoy doing is waiting for the mail. I don't know why because it seldom lives up to expectations. Generally, my dog, Hobo, will alert me to the fact that the mail has come. He hears the mailman open the mailbox and drop in whatever he has for me. Generally, there is junk mail. This is mail urging you to buy stuff that you do not want or do not need.

Once in a while it is more important. It includes sometimes a pension check, a bonus check or a notice of Social Security being deposited. This gives me guilt feelings. I do nothing to get these checks, but they arrive automatically.

Friends tell me not to feel guilty. They say somewhere along the line you earned those checks, so take them and be grateful. On rare occasions, I will receive a personal letter. As you know, letter writing is a dying art form. How long has it been since you have written a personal letter? Remember in school the way they had you practice ovals to make your penmanship better. It never seem to help much but I guess it did.

If you get a personal letter you are almost required to answer it. And it can be a lot of work. Writing a letter requires concentration, and good penmanship. I lack both.

Another thing that comes in the mail are bills. These are from the utility companies and other people trying to separate your money from your wallet. Because I don't see well, I often require help taking care of these matters. The junk mail is a constant irritation to me. But I guess the post office has to deliver it. They get paid to do so and most of it is pretty useless stuff.

After you read the junk mail and go through the good stuff, you are ready for the next days' delivery. There is seldom much in between.

Yes, waiting for the mail is a big deal for me. Once I get through the bills, I am ready to put it aside and look forward to another day. I don't know how much junk mail comes every day, but it is a lot. I rarely read it, but I guess it is effective because companies continue to send it.

Now, you know I have two simple pleasures, storms and waiting for the mail.

One reason letter writing is a dying art form, people prefer to use the telephone or the Internet. So now I have to think of something to write about next week.

I think I will write about dogs especially this little dog I have now. Some guy who claims to be an expert on writing says there are three sure-fire topics, Lincoln, doctors and dogs. So I guess the ideal column would be about Lincoln's doctors' dogs.

Sorry, I didn't know he had a dog, so I will confine my writing to my own dog because I know a great deal about him. It's always good to keep a column ahead. Getting the column idea is tougher than the writing, but the editor seems easily pleased. It is a good thing for me he is.

Jim Fox, a retired newspaperman who lives in Affton, writes a weekly column for the Journals.