July 23, 2007

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Nice Things


10 Nicest Things that People Have Done for You
I can't wait to read this week's posts. It'll be like a reality TV scripting version of "Pay It Forward." In making my list, I specifically excluded family (how many people will say "my mom gave me life"?) because family are supposed to do nice things for you. Otherwise, you end up on the Springer show. I also excluded people who did nice things as part of their job, like the American Airlines attendants who were so accommodating to us on that cross-country flight with a toddler and an inconsolable baby. (I did, however, write a letter to the airline praising them.) But here goes, with a raised glass to those who did me a good turn and which, I hope, I have paid forward at least in part in my time:

  1. Thank you Mrs. Grace Curtis, my sitter for several years in elementary school. Often on summer Saturdays, my friends and I would arrive at your condo unannounced, sweaty on our bikes, and you never failed to invite us in, give us cold drinks, and let us swim in the pool.
  2. Thank you, Mr. Kretzmer. How old was I, eleven? I sat on that baseball field alone as darkness fell, and when you drove by you recognized me as Mark's little brother. My dad thought my sister was supposed to pick me up, and she thought he was picking me up. Thank you for rescuing me after that lonely two-hour wait, and for taking me out to ice cream with your family, and for calling my dad to let him know I was OK and then for taking me home.
  3. Thank you, Alastair and Linda Houston, formerly of Dumbarton, Scotland. Though we had never met before, you gladly took us into your house overnight, took us out to dinner and beers, and showed us some local sights on our drive through Scotland. I will never forget the hike up the Dumpling or the very special "tablet" you left for us after breakfast.
  4. Thank you, Gene Anderson, for helping me build this awesome wall in my house that allows me to have a home office... with a locking door.
  5. Thank you, UC Men's Octet, for not pulling a Simon Cowell on me when I totally sucked in my audition in 1988. Though my second try was not so bad, my first try was so off key I should have been thrown gruffly through the window. Instead, you offered encouragement and then rejected me with grace and geniality.
  6. Thank you, Belinda, for hanging with me when I crashed from my first big break-up. We all have to go through it, and I was lucky to have your shoulder to cry on.
  7. Thank you, Marge Noble, for allowing your house to be a second home for me growing up. You not only let me in whenever I wandered next door, but you even took me to your cabin on the lake, where Blake (your nephew? friend's child?) introduced me to the concept of the Playboy centerfold.
  8. Thank you, random anonymous cute chick, for saying I had a nice smile as you walked by that day in Sproul Plaza. It was a crappy day until that moment, and although I have no idea who you were and have never seen you since, I'll never forget that tiny kindness.
  9. Thank you, random anonymous German person, who helped me navigate the Hamburg train station and allowed me to get back to Hannover on the night's last train so I wouldn't be absent for my duty at CeBIT the next morning.
  10. Thank you, the gang at the B-2 project, for the lovely going-away card and money tree when I left to move back to California. You were all good friends, and I miss you even though it's been 15 years and we've entirely lost touch.
When something is given out of altruistic generosity, with no expectations of return or gain, it can make a tremendous impact on someone else's life. I think I am a better person for how these ten things have helped form me as I've grown. Grace and generosity never go out of style.


Becky said...

What wonderful sentiments. I'm all choked up! Beautiful list.

cjm said...

This is my favorite 10 on Tuesday ever. Great list!

Patois42 said...

Beautiful. We all have so much to be thankful for.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting my Ten on Tuesday.

~looks around~

I think I am going to grab some more coffee and stick around here a bit before I head off to work. I like it here.