July 24, 2013 | Volume 100 / Number 30

A Kinder, Gentler Columnist

Over the past few weeks many people I’ve spoken with have congratulated me on the award I won in the state newspaper contest – first place in Division 2 for Best Column Writing. And I’ve received several lovely notes of congratulations.

I deeply appreciate all the kind words I’ve received. They’ve uplifted me and given me memories I will always treasure. And that brings a whole host of thoughts on kindness.

Several months ago, I saw a funny “thinking of you” card. I purchased it, penned a short note inside, and sent it off to a friend. A few days later I received a call from my friend who said, “Thank you so much for that funny card you sent. I picked up my mail today and saw a letter addressed to me that wasn’t a bill. Things have been a little tough for me lately. Your card made me laugh and the rest of my day went a lot better.”

A spur of the moment purchase brought happiness to my friend. Just a funny little card and a note helped them through the day.

In this world of ours that is so flooded with emails, electronic greeting cards, and social Web sites, we often lose sight of what a simple card you buy or a hand written note can mean to a person.

Cleaning out an old trunk years ago yielded postcards my father-in-law had sent to his wife. They weren’t married yet. At the time he wrote the postcards to her, he was working with a traveling harvest crew. I smiled as I saw he signed each card “Your friend.”

I took the cards to my mother-in-law and watched her face as she read each one. She had a constant smile and once in a while I saw the glint of a tear. She hugged me and told me thank you for bringing them to her. Then she began telling me stories of their courtship.

Years after she received those cards, they still brought her joy.

There are more ways to show kindness to others than you can possibly count. A phone call, a hug, a smile, a hand on someone’s shoulder can all mean more than you know.

One of my neighbors loved cherry pie. So whenever I baked pie, I’d make her one. Every time I gave her a pie, she’d say, “Thank you for thinking of me. What can I give you in return?” My reply was, “Just say a prayer for me now and then.” And she’d answer, “That I can do. Are you sure that’s enough to repay you for your kindness?” I’d tell her, “It’s more than enough.”

We live in such a state of hurry anymore that we too often forget to slow down, take a deep breath and simply live. Taking a few moments to connect with a family member or friend isn’t going to stop the world from turning. Rather it’s going to keep it turning in a far better way.

It doesn’t take much to be kind to each other. All that’s required is a moment of your time. Each moment you give to being kind will make your life and that of the recipient of your kindness go a lot smoother as well as create memories for a long time to come.

Sandy Laumeyer is The Courier's Nashua correspondent.

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