The past week has brought a spate of surprises.
I usually walk down the lane for the mail [delivery time is quite undependable] but Jim picked it up one day having driven out on errands. When he put a little packet on the table, I asked, "What's that?"
'Don't know--its got your name on it.'
The cardboard mailer had a faint flowery scent when I picked it up.
The return address identified it as coming from Jim's younger sister.
She remembered my love of roses and chose the bars of soap for me when shopping at an emporium that specializes in natural foods and toiletries.
I was working upstairs yesterday at noon when I heard a vehicle approaching up the lane.
The car, a faded red Jeep Cherokee, had a US Mail sign on top.
[Yet another unfamiliar mail carrier.]
I met him at the front door and brought in a brown paper wrapped parcel.
This one bore the return address of my son and daughter-in-law.
My family think it odd that I don't tear into a package, wrenching at tape, pulling off the paper.
This package had been wrapped by a master hand, paper neatly folded and tucked at the corners, the seams liberally sealed with wide tape. I ran a sharp knife under the bands of tape, picked at the edges of the flaps. In the end I had to tear the paper!
Inside, a box layered with bubble wrap and tissue, held a beautiful card, a wrapped and be-ribboned package for each of us.
I placed Jim's package on his desk, rescued mine from Teasel who sniffed it over, then turned to thrash the ribbon with her tail.
Jim already knew the nature of his gift--he helped Howard choose it.
He ripped off the wrappings with no ceremony and gloated over the high-powered compact light he has been coveting to add to his collection.
I have my package propped on my desk where I can enjoy the shiny gold ribbon and anticipate the joy of opening it.
I had served the cats their 'tea' and was tidying away the dishes when a diesel truck lumbered up the lane. Jim was on the phone, but peered out the window and announced, "Andy's here!"
Andrew Beachy is the older son of the Beachy Amish family who have a produce farm and sales barn several miles up the ridge. In addition to selling their own fresh vegetables, potatoes and such in season, the Beachys offer quite a few varieties of apples brought in from Pennsylvania, special order citrus fruit, and recently, overstock items such as frozen meats, cheese, yogurt, butter.
It has become a shopping 'treat' to rummage in their big walk-in cooler whenever we are alerted to a fresh shipment of goodies. We enjoy doing business with them.
Andrew has recently gotten his driver's license and is the delivery person.
He emerged from the cab of the pickup, smiling and holding out a covered plate.
The dinner rolls, still warm from the oven, are the best I have ever eaten!
My sister, C. has long been the family photographer.
She enclosed this in her Christmas card.
I scanned and shared it on my Face Book page, but include it here as one of the week's most astonishing surprises.
I have gotten so used to my older grey-haired image reflected in the mirror, that it was a jolt to recognize myself with my late father.
I calculate that the photo was taken circa 1990--give or take a year.
I was in my late 40's--Daddy about 74.
I am feeling warmed and blessed by the kindness and generosity of the gift-givers--hoping I can find creative ways to pass on such unexpected pleasures.