Remember when you were a kid (and maybe even now), when you asked someone for something and they said “Say the magic word”? We all know that word is please, but there’s also a magic follow-up word pairing: thank you.
This past week I’ve received thank you(s) from three different people and organizations that said “please” weeks or even months ago. They used the magic word to recruit me for volunteer presentations. Presentations are a form of performing, so I happily said yes. It makes me feel good to contribute to the community, and it’s a bonus that I can do this through activities I enjoy.
What about the thank you part?
I’m getting there, 9. Honestly, it makes me kind of shy to even talk about it because when I volunteer to do something, I do it from my heart. The folks who engaged me were lavish in their praise following the presentations and that was plenty of thanks. But. . .their unanticipated ways of saying thank you leave me amazed.
Two of the presentations happened in October. The first one was portraying local historic figure Nellie Gilliam Day for Mountain View Cemetery’s fall tour (Nellie is buried there). As Nellie I gave a brief history of her life, visiting from the year 1918. About 100 people joined the tour, a diverse and appreciative audience!
The second October presentation was a time traveler classroom visit to a local private school, also as Nellie Gilliam Day but from the year 1906 (costume historians will appreciate how differently I had to dress for these two events). Fifteen middle schoolers grilled Nellie about history, and some tried to trick her with technologies from the present. Did they buy the time traveler story? Middle schoolers are a skeptical bunch, but I felt that some of them wanted to believe Nellie was visiting from 1906.
I thought some of the boys were quite immature but some were very nice and polite.
Fortunately for them, Lily, not all fourteen-year-old girls have reached your level of social sophistication.
I’ll take that as a compliment.
Nellie was invited to visit the classroom by a friend of mine who was teaching a two week art module, a project that involved making nature journals and hand printing foliage in honor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806). As Nellie is part of Pacific Northwest history, which they were studying from all angles, she seemed a good fit as a special classroom visitor.
I repeat, what about the thank you part?
I received a beautiful hand-printed card, 9, signed by the students and teachers, which really warmed my heart. Then, last Friday, the friend who recruited me also gave me a personal thank you card and a gift certificate for a local bakery!
That’s a good one!
Yes, it is, and you’ll be glad to know they make excellent cinnamon rolls.
Honestly, I was flabbergasted! I’d already been thanked, in person and with a lovely card, and now this!
The next day I gave a presentation for Walla Walla County Rural Library District’s 50th anniversary. I was the last presenter on their year-long speaker roster. It was a really fun series and I attended many of the presentations during the year.
My talk, “Myth-Taken Identities: Using the Greek Pantheon in Fiction,” took place at the Touchet Library (one of several under the WWCRLD umbrella). An enthusiastic handful of folks showed up on that extremely windy day. I was pleased with their response to the subject and amazed to sell several books from my “G” series! That, and the kind thanks of the folks from WWCRLD was more than plenty, but then they presented me with a lovely gift basket and a thank you card!
There was an iced sugar cookie with Thank You written on the top, too, 9, but I ate it before I thought to take the picture.
Do we drink coffee?
Starting at age 19, Lily, and this is a very special variety from an excellent local roastery.
So, a bakery gift certificate and a lovely gift basket in a two day period. Did I ever feel appreciated and spoiled!
The cemetery superintendent at Mountain View had emailed that she had something for me, and to please let her know the next time I was stopping by the cemetery (note: I don’t have a weird obsession with cemeteries- -Mountain View’s 80 acres are a great place to walk). I made it there yesterday and she presented me with an amazing item: a mug, decorated with a photo of Nellie Gilliam Day sharing her life history! I was so tickled by this it made me giggle.
I love it! And her 1918 outfit looks perfect.
Something I am incredibly thankful for, Lily, courtesy of my talented friends Diane and Audney. And yes, I did thank them appropriately.
I’m bowled over by all the kind thank you gifts I received in the space of a few days, but what’s the real lesson here?
That it’s important to say thank you?
Forever and always, 9. Also, if there’s something extra you feel compelled to do for someone, it will likely make them feel seen and appreciated. It doesn’t have to be something big. This week I gave a friend who has a lingering cough a packet of Breathe Deep tea, and she was really touched- -not only by the gift, but by knowing I’d been thinking of her.
During this month that focuses on gratitude and thankfulness, take a few moments to watch, listen, and find a simple way to let someone know that you appreciate them.
Help the good feelings roll!
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Thanks for writing this!
And thank you for reading this, Betty!
Your love of dancing, art, acting, music and history have been a gift shared by you with each community you,ve called home throughout your life, Susan. It makes me happy to know that the community in Walla Walla appreciates all that you do for them, as well! And, in this season I just want to say, “Thanks for giving.”
Very kind of you, Harriet! And thank you for all the wonderful things you do for your family and community, too.