Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

I intended to provide an unexpected kindness on this day – the celebration of William Jefferson Clinton’s 65th birthday.  Random kindness where there is a real need.  The only thing more “clinton-esque” would be purposeful informed kindness where there is a real need.

With that intention I headed out on my errands.

Two cars were ahead of me at the stop sign. Neither showed any inclination

toward movement.  The second vehicle, a white truck,  pulled over to the shoulder,

rolled his window down and shouted to the driver at the stop sign, “Sumpin’ wrong?”

All I heard in response was a bunch of words punctuated by a “won’t go.”  Instantly the second driver was out of his truck, yelled, “Neutral,” and put his shoulder to the back of the stalled truck.  I don’t talk truck and I barely talk “car” (although I DO listen to “car talk” on NPR with great engagement) but I saw a Clinton kindness potential.  I said if the stalled vehicle was still there when I was done with my post office errand, then I would offer my help.

Ten minutes later…there he was.  Hood up.  Puzzled look on his face.  And one tired big dog pacing his truck bed.  I pulled alongside and here was Bill Clinton’s birthday present, “How can I help?” This was all about the model of Bill Clinton’s capacity for kindness.  So I didn’t asked, “CAN I help you?”   His need for help was obvious.  I asked, “HOW?”

Twenty minutes later we determined his battery was too dead for the kind of charge my old dependable could offer.  But I did have one cell phone to his zero…so I offered that for calls.  And, I prayed.  I didn’t pray that I could start his car but that he would have a good solution.  After determining I couldn’t help any more, I saw one thing I COULD do…his big dog was panting fiercely in the afternoon sun.  I told him I’d be right back with a big bowl of water for his dog.  Just as I was climbing back in my wheels that worked…the answered prayer walked up in a pair of Carhartts.

When I returned moments later with a big bowl of water…Mr. Answered Prayer Carhartt was walking out of a local business with an extension cord…plugged in to the source inside.  He had a battery operated charger (just happened to have one in his truck) and assured the Big Dog’s man that ten minutes with that puppy plugged in – his car would start without a stutter.     I patted the dog, shook the charge-ee’s hand and said to Mr. Carhartt, “I bet being at the right place at the right time is one of your best things.”  He just smiled.  Real big.

I walked away, happy.  Now if it had been President Clinton offering that kind of assistance – he surely would have been recognized (for years international polls have named WJClinton as one of the most recognizable faces in the world).  Me?  He had no idea who I was and I didn’t tell him.  No name – no sense of obligation.  It was a purposeful kindness toward a specified need…and as I went my way home I found myself humming my favorite  birthday song.

Happy Sixty-Fifth Birthday, William Jefferson Clinton.  You inspire the world with your kindness, compassion and service.


Enjoy these quotes from my book on friendship:

US! Celebrating the Power of Friendship

Stand often in the company of dreamers…They tickle your common sense and believe you can achieve things which appear impossible.  mary anne radmacher

Smiles are wordless paragraphs of friendship. mary anne radmacher

A new friend expands experience much like a new idea opens the mind.  mar –

When you have one friend you hold the hand of the world.  mar –

It was my second Saturday that I sat with the small group of knitters.  Once my good friend learned that my passionate interest in knitting was going to “stick” she invited me to be a part of this long-standing group that sits! and knits.  More than knitting, they share solutions with each other than have specifically to do with knitting and in general have to do with life.  In fact, Bonnie, my friend who recently taught me the basics of knitting said she found metaphor for just about every problem in life in the process of knitting. (That’s a story for another day!)

We were each working on our projects and engaged in vibrant and easy conversation when a stranger approached the table announcing, “You women are driving me crazy with your knitting.  I can’t knit.  I haven’t a creative bone in my body.”

My friend cast a sympathetic look toward me.  She knows “them’s fighting words” to me who helps people discover their innate creative at many different levels.  I held my tongue and kept moving my needles while I listened to a series – a very creative series, I might add, of sentences using
“can’t” in more incarnations than I have room to list here.  Trust me – there was a world of can’t contained in her paragraph of problems as it relates to knitting, specifically, and fiber arts in general.  She had some harsh words for crocheting, as well.

The most seasoned knitter at the table took the bait.  She explained there were four essential steps to successful knitting. 1-2-3-4.  There it was.  My friend offered her a cup of can without the “T.” What I quickly heard was this stranger was more attached to the story of Can’t than in learning how she could honestly say,”Hey!  I can knit.”  Unable to resist, halfway through I turned to her in the midst of her “cant-ing” and said, “I learned to cast on, knit, purl and cast off just last month.”

I think how she dismissed my newly acquired knowledge with something that would be spelled like, “Phfyughfft.”  Pretty close.

I turned to the non-tutoring knitter on my left and quietly said that there were an awful lot of “can’t’s” flying around our table.   She assured me not to worry.  That we at the knitting table did indeed prefer our cups of CAN with the “T.”

Do you?

Enjoy these uplifting quotes:

courage doesn’t always roar.  sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “i will try again tomorrow.”  mary anne radmacher

In science, one can learn the most by studying what seems to be the least.  Marvin Minsky

What you risk reveals what you value.  Jeanette Winterson

I keep six honest serving-men/ (They taught me all I knew); / Their names are What and Why and When,/ And How and Where and Who.   – Rudyard Kipling –

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.  – James Thurber –

A key to a vital life is an eagerness to learn and a willingness to change.  – mary anne radmacher –