Hey. Thank you for the tomatoes. I don’t know who you are, or how you got them to my doorstep anonymously. But thank you.
They are Slocomb tomatoes. The best in the known Western world. The last of the season. Red. Warm from the sun. Juicy. Have mercy.
I’d also like to say thanks to the little girl who opened the door for the boy in the wheelchair. The boy was wheeling toward the door. She raced to the door and held it open. She must’ve been nine years old, hair in ribbons.
He thanked her.
She answered, “Sure” in the voice of a little girl. But she is not a little girl. She is an incredible human being.
Thank you to the man who gave his hat to the Hispanic kid. The kid was in the open sunlight, standing beside his older sister, who held a cardboard sign. They were begging for money in Pensacola.
People drove past them. People wouldn’t even look at them.
But you did, sir. You gave that child your own hat. An Arkansas Razorbacks hat, of all things.
I was three cars behind you. I made a note about what you did in a little notebook in my truck. That’s what writers do. We carry notebooks. And I’d almost forgotten about what you did until today, when I found that notebook.
And thank you, Robbie. You are the right arm of my elderly mother-in-law. You drive her around town. You water every fern, scrub every dish, change every light bulb. And I’ll bet if you had a mind to, you could install brand new heating and cooling ductwork using nothing but a roll of duct tape and the Bible.
Thank you, Sylvia. Thank you for hugging my neck in the middle of a grocery store, even though we’ve never met in person before. Thank you for giving me a handwritten poem that reads:
“I, beneath Heaven and Earth, am,
“Though it may be that I am not,
“Beneath them, but within,
“With the saints, spirits, angels, and God,
“And all that swims around me. Now.”
Thank you, Freddie Freeman. You are my favorite Atlanta Brave. This year, you will earn 21 million dollars as a base salary, and thereby can afford to purchase two British Virgin Islands.
But you give me something to cheer for when I watch baseball. And you give kids something to believe in. And adults, too. And you are a very good batter. Thank you.
Thank you, Lily. My niece. You might not know this, Lily, but you are the miracle of my family.
You are the person who reminded us that life did not end because of sadness. You showed us that beautiful things can be born.
You reminded me that there is love to be seen, heard, touched, smelled, and talked about. You are only a toddler, but one day you will read this. Maybe after I am gone. I want you to know that I love you. Just for being born.
Thank you, Jamie. For letting me be me. I could never seem to do it. I kept getting lost. And confused. I forgot what I was. Who I was.
You let me make mistakes. And you gave me you. I’ve never been given a whole person before. That was a very big gift. And it was worth more than Freddie Freeman’s base salary.
Thank you, Mama. For being like nobody else, and for surviving, and for listening, and for teaching me to use my inside voice.
And you. I don’t want to leave you out of this. Thank you for being you.
You might not believe this, but I don’t think this world would keep spinning if you weren’t standing on it. I mean it.
I think the earth would stop, and we’d all float into outer space and die of sudden asphyxiation and have our internal organs sucked out through our nostrils from a critical gravity deficit.
You are vital to this whole thing—whatever “this” is. You. I know you don’t think much of yourself. I know you think you’re overlooked. But you’re wrong.
Look at the sky. The moon. The earth. The flowers. The clouds. Puppies. Pound cake. Sunsets. The simple words you’re reading now. It’s all for you. Every ounce of it. You just don’t know it yet.
You deserve a thank-you for what you do. For the people you love. And one day, when we meet, when time will be no more, I will be in line to shake your hand. For helping that woman load heavy potting soil into her trunk. For giving that kid a hat. For loving a child.
And for the tomatoes.