Monday, August 6, 2012
The Kindness of Strangers
American soil firmly under foot, Neighborhood With the Hills our new home, the White Behemoth shared transportation for two, a mother ready to spread her wings. My father thought it a foolish waste of money for my mother to form a group of like minded women who wished to sell the art they had created. Highway driving every evening to Iverson Mall, hours spent hoping for any sale at all.
My mother was a gifted painter and a prolific one as well. Every painting she took to display easily sold, the money in her wallet increasing. The month's end would be a day of reckoning with a husband who needed convincing.
The last day of the month only days away, highway driving home interrupted by the sight of a young man standing alongside a station wagon that had gone it's last mile. My mother pulled over and rolled down her window. The man asked, "Can I walk to the nearest service station from here?" My mother noticed his young wife, an infant in her arms, in the front seat. "All of you get in, I'll take you there myself."
Interior warmth welcomed by the trio, a further explanation given. "We sold all of our belongings to buy this car to travel to Florida for a job interview. I'm afraid we won't make it now, the interview is in two days."
Instead of taking the young couple to the service station, she took them to a Used Car Lot where she retrieved the earnings from her sold paintings and purchased the couple a car to continue their journey. The grateful man promised to repay her kindness, her address tucked into his wallet now filled with money to continue the trip.
When my mother passed away, the remaining members of her art group gathered for a memorial luncheon hosted by my brother and myself. My brother rose from his seat to share a letter that had come in the mail from Florida. The letter recounted a story we had never heard. "I am now the head of the company I interviewed for so long ago. My wife and family have flourished all these many years. Your mother kept in touch with us, and we are so sad to hear of her passing. We have never forgotten her kindness."
A package came in the mail for me today, without a return address. A waterfall of vintage handkerchiefs opened themselves across my craft desk, "Dear Elizabeth, You don't know me, but I feel as though you are a friend. I get so much enjoyment from your blog, I wanted to give a little back. Your little corner of the internet is a wonderful place to visit."
I thought of my mother as I hung these wonderful treasures above my craft room closet. We often would ask my mother why she was such a generous person. She would tell us that joy felt when receiving a gift is exactly the same as the joy felt when giving one. Today is a joyful day. Thank you Daisy!