Cards are all the talk in cricket and one arrived in the mail this week.
It wasn't of the red or yellow variety, the sort that Martin Crowe reckons should be at the disposal of umpires to discourage and punish overly-combative and abusive players.
This one was from my old cricket coach, George Gardiner, accompanied by the small bat our First XI signed for him when he departed Onehunga High School.
Accompanied is not a strong enough word. The bat was imprisoned by cardboard - those troops from the old postal service age know how to wrap properly. They tend not to waste either: irrelevantly, the card depicted Saint-Tropez.
Mr Gardiner (it's still hard to drop the Mr four decades later) is on the move again, and decided it was time to pass this baton on. What a treasure, and thank you sir.
Looking down the names on the time capsule brought back wonderful memories, but also a shudder or two. Best friends no more, best memories still. We played a huge part in each other's lives once, but most of us are strangers now, scattered about. Where has the time gone?
And on pure cricketing matters, the bat led to the recall of other names, like Turner, Hadlee, Lillee, Chappell, Richards, Holding, Botham, Gavaskar and on and on and on ... the outstanding cricketers and personalities who stirred the wonderful 1970s, and into the 80s.
Reflections on the many good times might obscure the other reality of teenage growing pains, those years of angst, of trying to fit in, of severely frustrated sporting ambitions, and constant exams. In a similar vein, cricket can appear, from afar, to be something that it most definitely wasn't back then.
Crowe writes among the best cricket columns of this age, and his humble love for the game that has dominated his life never diminishes. He is dealing with a frightening health situation, his words on that score as revealing and inspiring as those he writes about his sport.
But while his fears around the state of cricket, that players might come to blows, and his call for a football-style yellow/red card system raised a worthwhile debate, the implication that cricket has got worse is certainly open to challenge. There has indeed been a blow struck on the field, one that pre-dates, just, Crowe's own international career. Having flicked the bails off as an act of defiance against Fred Goodall, whose decisions had rightly incensed the touring West Indians, fast bowler Colin Croft charged into the back of the Kiwi umpire. The same West Indian team also refused to take the field after tea.
These were not days of polite chit chat, total gallantry or overwhelming bonhomie. The West Indians, fuelled by an anti-colonialism rage, bombarded opponents with the most dangerous short-pitched bowling the game will ever see. Ian Chappell's Australians gave opponents a piece of their mind, Glenn Turner a favourite target.
Further still, the great Australians Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh took stock of their stranglehold position in an Ashes test and not only bet against their own side but won ... the money. One final exhibit - an underhanded delivery.
What we have now are stump microphones, better cameras, greater scrutiny, more games, a lot more money and more athletic players scooped up by cricket at a young age, and without the balancing life skills. Despite this, the outcome is on a par with the past and not all that bad overall.
The hidden hand is the danger, not a clenched one. Corruption is the big issue, not behaviour. Cricket will always throw up a few characters who overstep the mark, as do all sports. David Warner is bearing the brunt of the scrutiny for now, but cricket loves an Aussie villain.
I have always liked the way Australia play (and it is vital to point out here that some of the worst sledgers of recent times have been New Zealanders). Almost every series involving Australia has an enthralling edge. By comparison, the series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, while excellent, feels a bit tame. Maybe teams reflect national characteristics in a way, and what is life without our differences?
As for the tangled, yellow/red card idea which would put comparative claims of injustice into overdrive, put that one back in a very deep pocket. I don't believe Crowe is suggesting players are actually sent off during matches, but his proposed six-month suspensions are insanely long and harsh on earnings, and would never be accepted into contracts.
And can you imagine, for instance, an umpire carding a home player on the first day of a test in Melbourne or Delhi, and taking the heat in a packed arena for the next four days, poor sod? As if that would calm things down.