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.

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.

Good talk.

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.

The verse:

“…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.”

Right.

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.

“Sincerely, Louise.”

Dear Louise:

Check your mailbox.

30 comments

  1. Kelly - January 18, 2019 10:00 am

    We seem to forget that kindness and love to our fellow man is the way we should live our lives everyday. Thank you for sharing this today. Louise is right – we need these reminders of goodness more than ever. God bless.

    Reply
  2. Steven P Bailey - January 18, 2019 10:41 am

    Wonderful.

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth Edens - January 18, 2019 11:12 am

    Well now Louise has gone and made me cry too! Beautiful!

    Reply
  4. Dell - January 18, 2019 11:27 am

    I do so love handwritten letters. It reminds me of my grandmother writing to her sisters, and of her Mother writing her letters sitting at the end of her lane by her mailbox. It is a lost art that I mourn. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Connie Havard Ryland - January 18, 2019 11:34 am

    If everyone had your address you would be swamped with letters. Sweet story. There are good people out there still. Thank you for the reminder to us all to be good stewards. Love and hugs.

    Reply
  6. Debbie Phillips Hughett - January 18, 2019 11:40 am

    I puddles up on this one. That last sentence was a perfect ending.

    Reply
  7. ponder304 - January 18, 2019 11:50 am

    A true heart like Jesus…..A servant in his truest form….

    Reply
  8. Jan - January 18, 2019 12:06 pm

    So many lessons to be learned from this example! Thank you Louise and Sean!

    Reply
  9. Grace - January 18, 2019 12:50 pm

    So incredibly touching. God works miracles for some who share the miracle with others. Bless Louise’s heart.

    Reply
  10. Sherry - January 18, 2019 1:15 pm

    Inspiring…we are all servants…to serve and not be served is the best way to live.

    Reply
  11. Edna B. - January 18, 2019 1:37 pm

    What a beautiful story and such a beautiful man your Louise was married to. An inspiration for all of us. Sean, you have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  12. Karen - January 18, 2019 1:47 pm

    Now we have all been blessed by this story because of you, Sean. Thank you.

    Reply
  13. tommypalmerblog - January 18, 2019 2:05 pm

    Love your life stories…keep em coming!

    Reply
  14. Liz Watkins - January 18, 2019 2:12 pm

    OMGOSH!!! What a blessing this man was and a blessing his wife was to him!!
    Love this❤️
    Thanks for sharing your mail with me❤️

    Reply
  15. Phillip Saunders - January 18, 2019 2:12 pm

    Thank God for the Louises of the world and for men like her late husband. We need more of them.

    Reply
  16. Jakki - January 18, 2019 2:37 pm

    Truly heartwarming. Thanks for sharing. I also agree with Louise- we should write more.

    Reply
  17. Shelton A. - January 18, 2019 2:41 pm

    A man like that is an example to us all. To give without thought of reward or recognition is truly giving God’s way. Thanks for sharing Louise’s letter with us and good job writing back!

    Reply
  18. Jack Darnell - January 18, 2019 2:50 pm

    Good title. It is good. Of course I like it. THANKS!

    Reply
  19. AC - January 18, 2019 2:51 pm

    What a wonderful man, wish there were more like him. It is a me – me world now with no thought of others.

    Reply
  20. Jack Darnell - January 18, 2019 2:51 pm

    PS: Of course that ‘I like it’ don’t go for the bills. 🙁

    Reply
  21. Jeanie C. - January 18, 2019 3:06 pm

    My best friend since school days and I have hand written a letter a week to each other since the late 50’s and followed by several moves and new addresses and children being born, married and grands and greats. She can’t write anymore but I still get her a hand written letter in box once a week. Her husband reads them to her. I miss getting her letters so much. There is something about waiting for mail carrier, rushing to the box as they pull away and reaching in knowing you are going to have a letter. Going inside, pour a glass of tea and opening your letter and enjoying it. I wish I had more people to hand write to.

    Reply
  22. Jack Quanstrum - January 18, 2019 4:30 pm

    Beautiful story!

    Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - January 18, 2019 5:47 pm

      Perfection!

      Reply
  23. Debbie Britt - January 18, 2019 6:52 pm

    Her husband gave the way God intends! Not for praise or for gain but he gave from his heart! And I’m sure his reward was great!

    Reply
  24. Jane Vaught - January 18, 2019 7:39 pm

    What a blessing to so many!

    Reply
  25. Janie F. - January 18, 2019 7:59 pm

    The precious lady with the good penmanship has blessed my heart through you today Sean. I too, believe handwritten letters should make a comeback. As for her husband, his kind of giving is the best. I often think when a rich celebrity gives a gift it would be more fitting if they gave anonymously. I believe that’s the truest gift.

    Reply
  26. Sheila - January 19, 2019 3:26 pm

    My prayer for you Sean, “May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.”
    Psalm 20:4 Louise was a blessed woman for the love she had in her life. And the letter she will find in her mail box

    Reply
  27. Jamie - January 19, 2019 3:36 pm

    My mother was a Louise. And, yes, those of us who have been loved by a Louise are just the luckiest!
    Her heart was much like Joey’s … confined to her chair, waiting out cancer, heart issues and macular degeneration, she broke hundreds of bushels – yes, bushels! – of half runner beans to give away. And when they weren’t in season? She made sandwiches for the local homeless shelter.
    God got a very special lady when He took her home!
    Love you more, Weeze!!

    Reply
  28. Cathy Callender - January 19, 2019 4:01 pm

    What a wonderful man to have loved!

    Reply
  29. Rhonda Howell - January 20, 2019 2:47 pm

    I have spent the last few days going through a box of letters from the Louise before me. A treasured box filled with mail post marked 1926 and 1927. A year of “courting” letters from Walter’s Grandfather, followed by a year of letters from her Father to a new bride that he missed terribly. Another box holds a years worth of letters between a 5 year old child and a broken hearted Mama. A terrible time spent in the children’s ward in a hospital in Atlanta where visits were only once a week and you could only peer at them through a window. Can you imagine? Another box is filled with letters from the son who never came home from WWII and another 424 letters from Korea in the 1950’s. A small suitcase found under the bed held every single card Edgar ever got. It was a life documented by vintage Hall mark graphics and heartfelt words on paper. They are history of family and the times. They are among my most treasured possessions. And I made sure there was a Louise for me to pass them forward to. She will probably be the last My grandchildren all have new fangled trendy names. 7 generations of Williams and Louise’s are coming to an end. But I will make sure these letters are carefully preserved and passed along in an attempt tp make them love folks they never knew.

    Reply

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