Either the U.S. Postal Service is doing a horrible job of marketing, or we are doing a horrible job as parents. My wife called our daughter in college and asked her why the thank-you notes from her graduation party, months ago, were not sent out. My daughter replied, "I don't know where to buy stamps."

The U.S Postal Service spent $32 million to sponsor now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong's Tour de France team from 1998 through 2004. Currently, they are trying to get their money back.

My wife has started and I am slowly coming around to thanking people. People who make a difference in our lives. Even if it a small thing.

"We need to thank people more," my wife says. When she was growing up, my mother-in-law insisted that a handwritten thank-you note be sent every time Laura received something. My wife is trying to instill that discipline, with limited success, in our children.

I never learned the handwritten note thing. So I thought I would use this column to thank the people of our adopted hometown of Fairfield for making it easier to raise our children here. I'm not sure Fairfield has helped that much, however, as my daughter doesn't know how to buy stamps.

Thank you to St. Anthony's Church on South Pine Creek. You have made us feel welcome even though we are at best sporadically-attending Irish-Catholic Jews.

Villari's karate studio downtown. Again, our attendance is an issue. Great group. You let us go at our own pace.

There are seven post office branches in the city where my daughter goes to college. The school's mail room also sells stamps. My daughter already has picked up several packages from us at the mail room.

Thank you to The YMCA Guides (formerly Indian Princess) Father Daughter program. I met a lot of great dads, some of whom became my good friends and my children's good friends.

Thank you to Dee at the Driftwood in Southport. She always says, "Hiya, kid," even though I am no longer a kid.

Also thank you to Bob Saloomey at the S&S Dugout for carrying on the tradition of fried mashed potatoes and hot roast beef sandwiches started by his parents Sassin (Ed) and Magdalena.

Pequot Library in Southport called us about a picture they found in a book we returned. They said "the people in the picture looked like you." It wasn't that flattering a photo of me, but the rest of the family looked good so we kept it. Thank you for the personal service, Pequot.

The volunteers on the RTM, school board, planning and zoning, and the other town boards. They volunteer, they don't get paid, we yell at them and call them names. I apologize for any snarky remarks I have made through the years, both to your faces and behind your backs. Thank you.

Thanks to Kevin at Verizon in Mashpee, Mass. Technically this is not Fairfield. But he went out of his way, so my wife wanted to thank him. Normally we have other words for the phone company.

Thanks, Cousin Joe, for hosting us at your place last weekend. It was great.

The post office spends more than $100 million on advertising. Mail volume hit its peak in 2006. It has been going down steadily since.

Thank you, Philip, the manager of the Wendy's in Richmond, R.I. He found my wife's pocketbook in the women's restroom last weekend. Why Phil was in the women's bathroom, I don't know.

Thanks to our neighbors who sit on nonprofit boards throughout town. Sometimes, if there are shortfalls, they make up the difference. Thank you.

The post office just came out with a Janis Joplin stamp. She is by far my favorite singer. Sometimes at night, I turn off the lights in the living room and play her real loud. It makes my family uncomfortable.

Dave Schulz, athletic director at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. When they have the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life, he drives my aunt around the track for the Survivors Lap. It is hard for her to walk all around the track. It means a lot to our family.

To Blinns of Fairfield, then and now a wondrous toy store. Thank you for persevering as an independent toy store in a chain-store world.

Thank you to the Mill Hill School staff, including Jackie Skultedy, Joan Huff, Suzanne Grigg, Larry Shire, Deborah Crossly, Jeanne Gaughan and Tara Carlson. Other teachers have touched our lives but somehow elementary stands out the most. To the teachers of Fairfield, we couldn't buy enough stamps to thank you enough.

So as my oldest is turning 18 in college, it occurred to my wife and me that we picked a great place to raise our children. I would send a nice handwritten note to everyone in Fairfield, but I have horrible handwriting and, like my daughter, I'm not good with stamps.

Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His "A Father's Journal" appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunications.com.