My mail-lady handed me a stack of mail and said, “Looks like mostly bills.”
Then, she lit a smoke and we talked about a whole lot of nothing. Namely: the weather. Though we do have some things in common. For example, we both have too many bills.
When she left, I opened my stack of mail. She was right. Bills. Coupons, real-estate flyers, a Bass Pro catalog, and a gift certificate for a free chiropractic consult in a bad part of town.
And one thick envelope from Georgia. A three-page letter.
The author of the letter is ninety. She has stunning penmanship. Her name is Louise. I’ve never actually known a woman by this name. But I wish it would make a comeback.
“I am not good on your Facebook,” Louise begins. “I still write letters…”
I wish more people would.
She’s from the old world. Her husband was a blue-collar. A grease-covered face who smiled at her just right when she was eighteen.
He was rowdy, but he settled down the moment he slipped a ring on her finger. Rings do that sometimes.
“A minister came through our church,” she said. “I brought Joey to listen to a quite captivating speaker…
“And though my husband was less than impressed with Methodism as a whole, the minister made it through to him…”
The holy-roller did more than make it through. He talked about one thing in particular that evening: anonymous acts of charity. And for some reason—call it good timing—her husband took the idea seriously.
At lunch after church, he wrote a Bible verse on the back of a business card—one which he carried in his wallet for many years. It was the only Bible reading she ever saw him do.
“…A man who has two coats is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
That same year, he bought several swing-sets for needy families in town. They were delivered anonymously. He did the same with playhouses, trampolines, bicycles, and baby formula.
She estimates he gave away millions of diapers.
“But second-hand cars were his specialty,” she said. “This, mostly during the Christmas season… He’d hide them in his outdoor garage to work on and give them away.”
Once, he delivered a car to a widow who lived outside town. He left the car in the woman’s driveway during the middle of the night with a title in the front seat and groceries in back.
The charitable act made the newspaper. But nobody ever knew it was him.
“…Because he never divulged what he did, nor to whom he gave, that was most important.”
She goes on, “I miss him… And I often feel compelled to share him with anyone who might appreciate the kind of life he believed in living. He was my example… The first man I ever kissed.
“I thought learning his story might truly bless you today, especially amidst the news of our modern day.
Check your mailbox.