My Favorite Compliment

A lot of packages arrived at our house today. More than the normal amount for people who rarely darken the doors of a store except to buy food. I had ordered some summer clothes as I am outgrowing my pre-pandemic wardrobe. I know that I should do my best to fit in to what I own, but fear that until I am able to, I should not go around naked. Also, it seems like I lose weight when I have bought bigger clothes and shrink out of them. Please god, let that be the case this time.

Besides, the clothes and the “cloth” paper towels I ordered from “deals and steals” there were two unexpected packages. One from my father-in-law that Russ says is an anniversary gift. I don’t believe that anyone other than the married couple needs to give a gift for your anniversary. Since it may be a ceramic Chicken I am going to wait and let Russ open that box on our actual anniversary. That might be my present to him for 30 years of blissful commitment. Being married to me is the gift he gets everyday, (cough, cough.)

The last package in the giant pile was an Amazon box. I had no recollection of ordering something, but I never know when Russ’ auto ship of freeze dried liver treat for Shay is coming so I opened it.

Immediately I recognized the overly expensive Amazon Gift wrap bag of some kind of woven/pressed-paper/cloth-like drawstring bag that acts as gift wrapping for a mere six dollars. Maybe it’s three, but the bag costs them a nickel, making it the biggest profit item in the whole company.

I read the gift tag. “Happy Birthday to the best story teller I know. Love You, Suzanne.” Then under the typed message was, “From Suzanne E. Worden”. That line is obviously added by Amazon to cut down on the number of calls they might get from gift receivers wondering exactly who sent them the gift. I would have known without that added line that the gift is from my college best friend Suzanne because only a best friend thinks you are the best at anything.

Before I even loosened the draw string on the not-quite-fabric, not-quite-paper bag to discover the gift, I was already thrilled with the card. Being told I was Suzanne’s favorite story teller was the best gift I could ever get considering I know many of the fabulous story tellers in her life. As the learned writer, with a masters in Journalism from Columbia, that she is, Suzanne is a continuing student of writing and the most voracious reader I know.

I am not a writer of her caliber. I am much more at home as an in-person storyteller, playing off the reactions of my audience. This is the difference between an introverted writer and an extroverted story teller.

The gift turned out to be a book by a writing professor, George Saunders, called A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. With the sub title, In which four Russians give a master class on writing, reading and life. I think, but don’t know, that Suzanne might have had this book as part of a curriculum for one of her writing classes, but I have not heard back from her to confirm it.

I read the prologue and love the idea of this book. We shall see if it can have any impact on my writing. I am an undisciplined yet prolific writer as I have written this blog everyday going on thirteen years now. I do not let the writing take more than twenty minutes a day and have no editor. All writers benefit greatly from an Editor. I would do well to just reread what I type before I post, but my time restraints often don’t allow me the luxury of even doing that. So dear gentle readers often send me messages pointing out spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or misused words. I welcome the corrections along with those who argue against my point of view or observations.

I would much prefer a group of friends I could tell my daily story to. I know the stories would be much more colorful, entertaining and probably funny if you were here in person.

Thanks to my practically life-long friend Suzanne, for giving me this best compliment and interesting book. I fear I might learn from it that I should spend more time thinking about my writing than I do now. Sadly that would rob me of time I get to spend with real people, having experiences that become the fodder for my stories. After all, I write a story a day and if you have read me for even one month of 156 I have written, something story worthy does not always happen everyday. Today is a day I will remember because I got the best compliment I could ever ask for. Love you too Suzanne.



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