Friday, December 23, 2016

The Pleasure of Unexpected Gifts

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.


  1. I too was touched by the little gifts you enclosed with your card - unexpected but delightful (and practical). Many thanks.

    I am glad that you have been the recipient of some thoughtful gifts too and I am sure there will be some cats scramming discarded ribbons and wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Tell Jim that I DID note that he did NOT wait for Christmas morning to open his!

    I love that photo of you with your dad. Since Tricia died, I have realized I take far too few photographs of people, and far too many of the scenery, and that is going to be remedied forthwith (I even have a new camera under the tree for Christmas).

    Those breakfast rolls looked AMAZING. I really must get into the routine of breadmaking again - it has been on the back boiler (like crafting) for much of the year.

    Have a joyous day tomorrow. I shall think of you - and the cats. : )

  2. What lovely, heart felt gifts and the photo is priceless of you and your Dad.

    May you and Jim and your critters have a lovely Christmas and a great 2017 ~ FlowerLady

  3. A happy Christmas to both you and your family and may you have a wonderful New Year. Keep on blogging. love Thelma xxx

  4. This is how Christmas should be, simple thoughtful gifts, given for no other reason than the giver wanted to. You take after your father. Merry Christmas!


  5. Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

  6. Thank you all for the lovely comments and Christmas good wishes!

  7. Thanks for sharing your pleasure in receiving such wonderful gifts. The photo of you and your dad was my favorite - you favor him quite a bit.

    I wondered if your Beachy family is related to a family that ran the best restaurant in Holmes County (Ohio) Amish country until the past couple of years. Visiting their restaurant was always a highlight of our visits. Lillian of Lillian's Cupboard.

  8. Lillian--and others who may have wondered--although this family's surname is "Beachy' they are part of a larger group sometimes called Amish/Mennonites--they follow 'plain dress'--but have automobiles, electricity, apparently not TV. I think they tend to 'reach out' beyond their own group more than the Old Order Amish who are ultra conservative. Our area of Kentucky is home to several denominations of 'plain people.'