Surprise KindnessPosted: January 4, 2022
Russ brought in the normal pile of holiday mail yesterday. Some Christmas cards, a New Years Card, giant post card advertisements for Gyms, junk “magazines” we don’t subscribe to, appointment reminders. Amongst the larger than usual pile was a small hand written envelope that looked more like a thank you note than a Christmas card. After discarding the obvious junk I began to open the large cards, enjoying the photos of friends from afar. The last thing I opened was the little envelope. I recognized the name on the return address as my Aunt’s best childhood friend, Townes, perhaps it was a Christmas card.
After undoing the flap the first thing I noticed inside was the corner of a large folded check, which I pulled from the envelope along with a card. There is nothing better than seeing a check in an envelope, especially one I was not expecting.
I unfolded the check first, wondering what in the world Townes would be sending me a check for. As I opened it up I looked first at the amount. It was a big. Then I read the payee, my church. In the memo was written “In memory of Ed Carter, Dana Lange’s father.” I burst into tears, rendering me unable to read the card.
Back in October, when I was writing my father’s obituary I asked my mother if there was a charity we might designate for memorial gifts. My mother said that there was no place she felt my father was close enough to. To my father his children were his charities. I remember once when my parent’s received an annual report for Carter’s school, where they had once donated a small amount, my father read the report and discovered how much Russ and I had given to the school. He called me right up and said, “Why the hell have you given that school so much money, you weren’t raised that way.” I laughed because he was the most generous person I knew, having given many people money they needed when they were down and out.
Townes has been a constant in my mother’s family for as long as she and my Aunt have been alive. I remember when I was an adolescent going to spend a weekend with her in her New York City Apartment. She was like my own personal “That Girl” as she was only a little more than a decade older than me. She was well traveled and glamorous and was so kind to invite me for a girls weekend in the city.
Eventually I pulled myself together to read her sweet card. Telling me how much she loved my father from the second she met him at my grand parent’s house in Knoxville when my parents were just engaged. The card would have been enough without the check, but the check was a surprise kindness that meant so much to me. Townes reads my blog and knows how important my church is to me. Her gesture is one I will never forget and an example I hope I will remember to follow.