Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

May 26, 2023, marked the end of an era. While we had known for several months that the end was coming, we were still not prepared for it. We thought we were since we and many others had been lamenting about it and preparing for it. But when the day finally came, it was almost overwhelming. The end of an era I am referring to is the closing of our favorite watering hole for twenty-three years, Sawmill Tap Room.

SM, as we often referred to it as a shortened version in texts, etc. was our local Cheers. It was where we went on average once a week when we were in town. It was where the servers knew your preferred drink (half and half iced tea for me!) and brought it to you when you sat down. It was where you could always expect great service, good to great food, and a homey atmosphere. It was where you could sit in the bar or dining room and watch your favorite sports or sit on the deck when weather permitted. If you sat in the dining room, you would share the space with many kids, as full sports teams met and ate there, as well as elderly couples who might come several times a week. The prices were reasonable, the portions were ample, and the quality was predictable.

Mike and I were at Sawmill the first day it opened. We knew (some of) the owners from their time at another local restaurant, 42nd Street Oyster Bar, and wanted to support them. That was not hard to do, since SM became our favorite local casual restaurant, for reasons noted above. Through the years they became family. On May 26th, we hugged them and many other regulars as we said our goodbyes, shared our appreciation for them, and went down memory lane. Although many of us hope there will be another restaurant in their future, there is no guarantee of that at this point, and even if there is, there will never be another Sawmill. It is impossible to recreate Sawmill.

What creates loyalty at this level for a business? As one who speaks and consults on customer service, I have thought of this question many times, and have written about SM as an example of exceptional service. While Sawmill has not been error free for twenty-three years, more often than not they have delivered exactly what they promised: good food, reasonable prices, and a fun atmosphere. Because of that, when the occasional blips occurred, it was easy to forgive the lapse and keep on going back.

I believe one of the reasons for Sawmill’s success is the presence of the owners. This was a family business, with three brothers working in the business at one point, and other family members as well. There was usually one of the owners present, especially during busy hours, although they could not always be seen since they were in the kitchen!

Another success variable was who they hired, how they trained them to a consistent level of service, and how they led and managed them. Most of the staff were young and had their training not been consistent, it would have been easy for them to make their own assumptions about good service, and just as likely their assumptions about service could have been wrong. Sawmill management did not leave this important process to chance. They hired those who could and would serve, trained them in the Sawmill way of service, and led and managed them well.

Why is Sawmill no longer in business? That is a question that only the owners of the building, who are not the owners of the business, know the answer to. After twenty-three years, Sawmill’s lease was not renewed, and no answer to “why” was given.

Goodbye, Sawmill. You have been a good and loyal friend for many years. We love you and miss you.                            

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The Land of the Free Because of the Brave

As a very divided country, there isn’t much that Americans agree on. But I think it is fair to say that most Americans agree that we have our freedoms because of the sacrifices made by those who fought for those freedoms, many who made the ultimate sacrifice for them. We celebrate those brave men and women each year on Memorial Day. While many also enjoy the first long holiday weekend of the summer season, Memorial Day, is first of all, about celebrating the bravery of those who made our freedoms possible. On this, we stand united.

I wonder if we will always remember the sacrifices of our military. It is possible that next generations will lose sight of this history, for we do not have the same focus on the military that we once had. While many have watched the war between Russia and Ukraine, grieving over the devastation to Ukraine, we are still somewhat removed from this war. While we can sympathize, most cannot empathize, having not lived through a physical war on our land. We can, however, grieve with those suffering the injustices of war, and be grateful that these injustices are not a reality of our current lives.

One more thing we can do. We can keep the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms alive, not allowing the passing of time to dull our memories. We can talk to our children about our ancestors who fought in wars through the years, making sure they know them, and about the wars. We can reinforce our country’s value of freedom and connect that to the choices we are making today, or the choices we are failing to make. Connecting our current reality to our past, to the good, and to the not-so-good, can keep our history alive.

We should never forget that we are the Land of the Free Because of the Brave.     

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Time in a Bottle

You know the song, “If I Could Save Time in a Bottle.” One of my favorite lines in the song is, “But there never seems to be enough time, to do the things you want to do once you find them.” This time of the year this sentiment is even more true. With graduations, weddings, and other family celebrations in full swing, we become very aware of the passing of time.

Watching granddaughter Mary Grace graduate from high school last weekend was bittersweet. While I am certainly proud of her accomplishments, I was not really ready for this. I remember, as if it were yesterday, Mary Grace as a toddler standing at her glass door crying as she watched me leave. These years have passed at lightning speed. I can only imagine how quickly the next few years will pass. I hope to be healthy enough to enjoy each upcoming transition. (It goes without saying that I hope to live long enough to do so!)

Sitting in our home looking at photos of Mary Grace and our other grandchildren through various stages reminds me of how fast time and life pass. While Mary Grace is now a high school graduate soon to leave home to attend the University of Georgia, our youngest grandchild, Hayden, will be a year old this summer. And our precious other grandchildren are growing by leaps and bounds also.

We can’t slow time down, but we can prepare for how our life changes as we and our loved ones age. Mike and I have settled into our new (transition) home. While the move from our home that we built almost thirty-five years ago into a much smaller and very different home has not been an easy transition, we made the move that we needed to make. This home is much easier to manage, and it is exactly what we need at this point in time. We do not yet have a longer-term plan, and I do not want to rush that decision. I am confident that we will have a clear picture of that when it is time. While I would like to be able to see further ahead than I am able to, I am learning to live with ambiguity.

Looking back and yearning for what we left behind is tempting, but it isn’t productive. Looking ahead and wanting all the answers to our future is also tempting, but no more productive than looking back. What is best is to learn to be content with whatever stage we are in, to live in the present, being grateful for our blessings. As apostle Paul, who said in Philippians 4:11-12, “I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be content.”

Being content is a choice. It isn’t always easy. But it is a choice that can help us to weather life’s ups and downs. When we focus more on what we have than what we had, and what we can do more than what we can’t, we can find the joy that might otherwise escape us.

I choose to be thankful for everyday blessings, wherever I find them. I hope that you are able to do so also.           

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Transitions and Celebrations

This is a busy time for many. Mother’s Day just passed, and graduations are all around. Celebrations are in order. I hope that this is a happy time for you. But it isn’t a happy time for everyone. These transitions find some enjoying the passage of time, and some lamenting it. I hope that you are in the former category.

Mother’s Day is a day that mothers and mother surrogates are celebrated. Many people spent last weekend honoring these important women in their lives. Restaurants were full on Sunday, with families celebrating with their loved ones. But not everyone did, for there are some mother relationships that are troubled. Estrangement from one’s mother is one of the most difficult situations. If you are in this category, I hope that you have been kind to yourself, and did whatever it took to get through all of the Mother’s Day hoopla.

Then there are those who mourn their mothers who are no longer physically present. Mother’s Day brings that loss into full focus. If you still have the gift of having your mother fully present, and you have a good relationship with her, treasure that, and never take it for granted.

Other celebrations that many are having this month, even this week, are graduations. One of our most important transitions is high school and college graduations. This week our family is celebrating the high school graduation of our oldest grandchild, granddaughter Mary Grace. It was only a few short years ago that Mary Grace graced our lives, and now she is graduating from high school. Where have the years gone?

Mike and I are in St. Marys, GA, attending several pre-graduation events. On Tuesday night we celebrated Mary Grace at the Scholarship Night program at Camden County High School.  Mary Grace was honored as a Summa Cum Laude, which is the highest honor given. She also received a scholarship from the Southeast Georgia Bulldawg Club. We are so proud of Mary Grace and her achievements.

Wednesday night was the Baccalaureate service honoring the Camden County, GA class of 2023. This service is a nondenominational church service honoring the graduates.

Then the big event, the high school graduation ceremony, occurs Friday night, May 19th, when the graduates are officially launched from high school into their next steps. For some, like Mary Grace, the next step is college. Mary Grace will follow in her parents’ footsteps to the University of Georgia. I tried my best to get Mary Grace interested in my alma mater, the University of Virginia, but the UGA legacy was too strong of a pull.   

Saturday, May 20th, family and friends will join Mary Grace for a graduation party, the culmination of graduation week’s festivities. Her party is a poolside party, so good weather will certainly be appreciated.

Transitions. Life is full of them, but none is more important than those that take us from childhood into adulthood. High school graduation is an important time in the life of families. Congratulations to Mary Grace, and congratulations to all the graduates. May your lives be filled with purpose, peace, and joy.

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Life Without Alcohol

May 7, 2023, was the 4 year anniversary of my life without alcohol. I have learned a lot in these 4 years, about myself, and about life without alcohol. Perhaps my lessons can be of benefit to someone else.

On May 7, 2019, I decided to stop drinking alcohol. I made the decision mainly to lose weight. While I had been trying to lose weight for a while, I had refused to give up alcohol as one way to do that. Many times I said, “I am not giving up my Chardonnay!” Chardonnay was my alcohol of choice. While I had an occasional Appletini or Lemon Drop Martini, and a few other drinks on occasion, Chardonnay was definitely my drink of choice. I knew I was drinking too much, although it was rare for that to be obvious to others. I rarely drank before 5pm, except for an occasional glass of wine when out to lunch. But I had gotten into the habit of more glasses of Chardonnay in the evenings than I knew were good for me.

I do not have a clear picture of why on that day, May 7, 2019, I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol, or even more importantly, once I made the decision, how I was able to stick with it. Yes, I wanted to lose weight, and that was all I really had not yet tried to accomplish. But I do not know why then, when I had not done so previously. And I have no idea why I was able to be successful. But I was. For that, I am so very grateful.

When I decided to stop drinking alcohol, I did not determine how long this decision would last. I did not decide at that point to stop drinking alcohol completely, for forever. As I have lived with this choice, it became clear to me that not drinking alcohol again was the best decision for me.

I did lose the weight I wanted to lose, actually, I lost more than I planned to lose, 57 pounds. I do not think that eliminating alcohol from my life was the change that made this happen. I also got serious about Weight Watchers and worked that plan, and that is the key to the weight loss. However, I do believe that not drinking alcohol certainly eliminated unnecessary calories from my diet.

Without alcohol I sleep better, feel better physically, and feel better about myself. Having grown up with an alcoholic mother, and having many other alcoholic family members, I knew I needed to be careful with alcohol. I knew the fact that I would drink more than I knew I should at times meant I had a tendency toward alcohol abuse. While I had been able to keep my alcohol consumption in check most of the time, I knew that could change at any time, and why take that risk? I knew there was nothing good about alcohol, other than the socialization aspect, and I decided that alone was not a good enough reason to risk having a larger problem with it. Stopping completely was the absolute best decision for me. The longer I was without alcohol the clearer it became to me that this should be a lifetime plan.

I still go to bars with my husband and others, and restaurants where others are drinking alcohol. While I still go and usually drink half and half iced tea while others are drinking alcohol, I do not enjoy those outings. But I am clear that my plan does not have to be anyone else’s, and that if others I care about are drinking and I am not and I want to be with them, then my choice is clear. I do not expect others to not drink because I am not. We all have to make our own decisions about our choices, and alcohol is only one of those.

I am so glad that I do not have to worry if I should really be driving after having wine with dinner. I am glad that I am always available as a DD, and usually insist on driving if others I have been with have had more than one alcoholic drink, even when I am told, “I am fine to drive!” Why take the risk when it isn’t necessary?

I would be less than honest if I failed to admit that I miss Chardonnay and the socializing aspect of drinking with others. I do get lonely at times and feel left out when others are drinking and I am nursing my iced tea. But I do not miss behaving like some of those people behave when they have had too much alcohol. And I do not miss wondering some mornings if I said or did anything to embarrass myself. If I have those concerns now, alcohol is not to blame!

If you wonder if alcohol is something you should consider giving up, it probably is. Think about it, why should we continue to put something into our bodies that has no redeeming value? Is socializing with others around alcohol really worth alcohol’s negative effects?

Not for me. And maybe not for you. But you will have to make your own decision about that. I made my decision, and I am so glad that I did.

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What should we do when there is too much to do, or even maybe not enough to do? These are the times when it is important to Focus. Instead of focusing, we sometimes find ourselves jumping from activity to activity or chore to chore and do not feel that we have accomplished anything. If you accept the premise that Focus can help us be more effective, perhaps you wonder how to Focus.

As a business and life coach, I have been helping others (and myself!) be most effective for many years, thirty years, to be exact. That amazes even me! The structure I use for this is classic goal setting, which is nothing more than setting priorities. These are time sensitive, meaning, there are time frames established for the goals. For the purpose of illustration, I am going to use an abbreviated goal-setting process for this discussion. If you and I were engaged in a one-on-one goal-setting process, it would be more involved than this, but an abbreviated process will illustrate the points I am making regarding Focus.

I am going to use three Goals Categories for this: Personal, Family, and Financial. Each of these three categories can be subdivided into sub-categories that are involved in the larger category. An illustration will make this clear.

In the Personal category, one could have the following sub-categories: Mental Health, Emotional Health, and Physical Health. In the Family category, one could have these sub-categories: Spouse, Children, and Extended Family. In the Financial category, one could have these sub-categories: Budget, Income, and Expenses.

Before beginning to set goals in each of the categories, it is helpful to do an assessment. For example, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being poor and 10 being great, determine your current Mental Health, Emotional Health, and Physical Health. This information can help us focus. If our Mental Health and Emotional Health are 9 or 10 and our Physical Health is 4, we may want to focus most on our physical health in this category. The same is true for our Family category. If our Children and Extended Family categories have healthy numbers and our Spouse category doesn’t, our Focus could best be on our Spouse. In the Financial category, if our Income and Expenses are not in line, our budget will likely be off. Focusing on increasing income and reducing expenses might be time well spent.

Regarding the “time-sensitive” part of this process, we need to establish timelines for each of our goals. They should be long-term and short-term, in that order. If we focus too much on our short-term goals and fail to connect those to our long-term goals, we will probably not reach our long-term goals. For example, if one of my long-term goals in the financial category is to increase my income by $50,000 by the end of 2023, (8 months, for the purpose of this example) then my short-term goals will need to be directed to increasing income by $6250/monthly. This is a stretch goal for most of us, but it is doable if we get another job, sell valuables, or find another outlet to increase that money consistently. This is not easy to do, but it is easier if there is a definite goal, a reasonable timeline, and activities directed to the accomplishment of the goals.

Most of us have more to get done in a day than we are able to get done. But we are most effective if we set clear goals (priorities,) with reasonable timelines. We will get something done every day. The question is, are we getting done the things that are most important to us?

When we Focus, we are most effective.

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Don’t Postpone Joy

I suppose it is my age, but I find myself attending funerals lately. While life expectancy is not directly related to age, when we get into our 70’s, (I am 71) odds are that we will lose family and friends. I just returned from the funeral of a friend’s husband. He was 73 years young and lived a full life, but not a long enough life. While I have a friend who often says that she does not want to live to be old, what she really means is that she does not want to suffer. I believe most of us want to live a long life. And how old is that? Well, it depends.

I do not want this to be morbid. In fact, this post is not really about death, it is about life. It is about living a full life, more than living a long life. Even so, I can’t just forget that the one whose funeral I attended earlier today no longer has the choices those of us writing and reading this have. We have the choice to live a life of joy. While I believe he lived a joyful and full life, he has now passed, leaving his family and friends to treasure his memory and the memories they shared with him. The rest of us still have time, although we do not know how much time. But whatever time there is, there is time to live a joyful life.

What is a joyful life? We each have our own definition of that. Most of us would list loving family and friends as bringing us joy, although this is not true for everyone. Some people do not have close connections and spend more time with their devices and the TV than they do with living friends. And I am not referring to social connections as living friends. If you are in this category, make yourself get outside of yourself and develop good connections with others. It was obvious from the packed church at Ben Anderson’s funeral that he had good connections. There has been a significant decline in people attending funerals, so when there is a packed church, and the person wasn’t famous or necessarily powerful, you know the person was loved. Ben Anderson was loved.  

Many of us, especially those still engaged in work, would list meaningful work as bringing us joy. But this is a different kind of joy, not the kind that keeps you warm at night. Meaningful work can bring us many good things, but not the joy that comes from meaningful connections with others. Those who have only work to fulfill them find days and nights empty once that work is gone.  

Other than meaningful connections, what else brings us joy? That varies. Some find joy in helping others. Some find joy in travel. Some find joy at the beach or lake, some in reading, some in learning. Whatever brings us joy, we should take responsibility to make sure we have enough of that in our lives to fulfill us. For there will come a time when we are no longer physically or otherwise able to enjoy what brings us joy.

Mike and I had a joy-filled weekend recently visiting with friends we have known for forty years. We ate wonderful food, played cards (Hand and Foot,) went out in their beautiful boat, visited, and just talked. The TV was not turned on at all. We also did not waste time on our devices. Our time together catching up was too important.

While with our friends we were talking about traveling, which we all do a lot of. One of our friends made the comment, “I imagine that I have about ten good years left.” I have said the same thing. Think about that, only ten good years. What we mean by that is that just due to age alone, in ten years we may not be mobile enough to do the things we can do today, to enjoy traveling, boating, even entertaining friends. We do not take this time for granted.

How about you? What brings you joy? Are you making time for joy? If not, why not? And when?

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Traveling Challenges and Helpful Hints

Mike and I travel a lot, and much of that is by car. While traveling this week, I decided to mention a few of the challenges we, and likely you also, encounter when traveling.

First of all, there are bathroom challenges. Have you noticed how different bathrooms are? Have you stood in front of the lavatory faucet, waiting for the water to magically appear, only to realize that in this bathroom you have to turn the faucet handle, that the water doesn’t come out when you wave your hand in front of the faucet?! Actually, some of those that should have water descend when you wave your hand, don’t! Then you have to try several to get the water to appear! Frustrating, but still definitely a first-world problem. I try to remember that in some parts of the world, water is in dire supply, and it behooves us who have these small inconveniences to remember our blessings.

How about how differently the toilets flush? Some toilets have the old-fashioned handles that you operate to flush them. Many others flush the toilet for you, at least they are supposed to. I know you, like me, have stood there wondering if the toilet was really going to flush, finally deciding to manually flush it to be sure!

Then there are paper towels in some restrooms, and in many others, a blow dryer. (Dyson dryers are the best!) Previous to recently, I had only wanted the paper towel dispenser, being too impatient for the dryer to dry my hands, until I started trying to be more ecologically friendly. Now, I prefer the dryers, and if there isn’t one, I only take one paper towel, not two or three that I used to use. Now, I realize this act on my part will not save the planet, but if we all make small changes, over time we will reap the benefits, or our grandchildren will.

If you travel by car much, I hope you are familiar with my two favorite apps, Gas Buddy and Waze. Gas Buddy can save us lots of money, by giving us information on where the best prices for gas are. By checking Gas Buddy, Mike and I just saved almost five dollars on a tank of gas. Now, you may not think that savings is enough to worry about but multiply that by 52, assuming you fill up once a week, and you will have saved almost $260.  Many of us fill up more than once a week, so consider the savings that can be realized. Over time, those savings, and other changes we can make to save money, can put some serious money in our pockets to spend elsewhere, or better yet, to save!

Waze is an app that provides GPS navigation and real-time updates that help us avoid traffic delays. If I had turned my Waze on recently when traveling from St. Marys, GA to Southport, NC, I would have saved almost an hour in traffic. If time is not of the essence, then do not worry about Waze.  And if your money is unlimited, forget Gas Buddy. If, however, you want to save money and time, by all means, download and use Gas Buddy and Waze.  

One more helpful hint. When traveling, always have some cash and some change. Never be without cash when traveling, for you may need to pay or tip a helpful person if you need assistance. (Of course, be careful about accepting help from strangers; that goes without saying, hopefully.) As for change, you never know when you may need to put air in your tires when traveling, and those machines only take change! How much cash and how much change is enough? If you can, get in the habit of having $25 or more in cash, and at least $10 or more in change. And this is money that you do not spend for anything other than what has been mentioned, or if you do deplete it, replace it immediately. This will give you peace of mind, especially when traveling alone.

My passion is “Inspiring Positive Change in Work, Life, and Family,” and I blog (mostly) weekly on areas of interest in these three important aspects of life. Some of my posts are “heavy,” and some are “light.” “Light” isn’t less important.

Remember me when you need cash or change and you have it, or when you are trying to get the faucet in a bathroom to give you water! You will then know how important “light” topics are!

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Service Issues

It may be due to post-COVID challenges, such as short staffing, although I am tired of COVID being used as an excuse for every problem. It may be due to generational differences, such as some in younger generations talking to others with a lack of respect, although generational differences are not a valid reason for this. It may be personality differences that create the conflict. It may be isolated events, which just seem to all be coming at me recently. Regardless of the reasons causing the problems, I am so over it. What has happened to the respect people used to show to each other? When did arguing with the customer become acceptable?   

I am not going to be specific about the experiences I have encountered lately that show a lack of respect. You probably have your own list. Since a large part of my speaking and consulting business for over thirty years has been helping others with Customer Service, I am going to remind us all (me too!) of Customer Service Principles.

The customer is King. That does not mean the customer is always right. It certainly does not excuse the customer for treating the staff of a business poorly. What it does mean is that the customer should always be treated with respect. A business cannot survive without customers. A customer can survive without the business. Let’s not forget that order, ever.     

Communication is key. Communicating why you will not or cannot do what the customer is expecting or asking is insufficient. It is often in the “how” something is said more than the “what” is said that makes a conversation effective or not. Tone of voice is so important. So is facial expression. Also, words used matter. And there is never a place for threatening a customer, which our Uber driver did this morning while taking us to the airport. The threat was to stop the car and put us out on the side of the road if one more word was said! Amazing! The details are unimportant. You can imagine how hard it was for me to not reply to that threat.

Remember, regardless of what you are selling or providing to a customer, the first priority is Service. The definition of Service is “helpful activity, aid, the act of serving.” Another definition of Service is “duty to be rendered by one to another.” Simple, and even usually easy, but unfortunately, not as common as it was in the past.

If one is in any position in which there is an interface with a customer, it is important to remember that the customer puts food on the table of the staff. Again, that does not excuse the customer for treating the staff with a lack of respect, but it does put the responsibility on the staff to serve the customer, not the other way around.

When the staff of a business treats the customer poorly, it is important to make management aware of the problem. If management responds appropriately (which may include several options,) we may assume that is an isolated event, and continue to support the business. If not, we should walk with our money, taking our business elsewhere. When too many people defect from the business, something may change for the better for customers. We do not need to post negative reviews on social media, which may feel good momentarily, but create more problems than those problems are worth.

I have noticed an increase in customer service reviews lately. It seems that more businesses are having customers review their services than ever before. Unfortunately, the reviews do not seem to be solving any problems. Perhaps people are not taking the time to complete the reviews. If it takes too much time to do the reviews, people will not spend their time doing so. If, however, the review is simple and quick to complete, we should spend our time completing them.

One company I do business with frequently has a very simple review which I usually complete. There is one simple question to answer: “If you owned a business, would you hire the person with whom you last spoke?” All that requires is a “yes” or “no” answer, not a reason why. The reason for a “no” really doesn’t matter. The details may be important to management, but the customer does not need to take their time to go into that. Management should have other ways to figure that out.

We should spend our time and money doing business with those who appreciate us and our business, and who treat us well. Our time and money are too valuable to do otherwise.

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Lessons From A 6-Year-Old

How soon should a thank you note be written after the event that requires one? “Requires one,” you might ask? We will come back to that later. For now, let’s pose the question again. How soon should a thank you note be written? So as to not be dictatorial, the answer to this question is, the sooner the better. As soon as is feasible after the event. And certainly, before you receive one for something you did in the same time frame. Especially if the thank you note you receive is from a 6-year-old!

Mike and I traveled to Alabama a little over a month ago for the 50th anniversary party of long-time good friends. We stayed with another friend while we were in the area. Our friend who hosted us prepared meals for us, took me on an outing antiquing, and in general, provided great care for us for three days. And although I was very appreciative of my friend’s hospitality and had planned to write my thank you note as soon as we returned home, other things got in the way, and it has yet to be written. Imagine my chagrin when I received a lovely note from my other friend’s granddaughter, the friend who we were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, for a gift I took her when we were there for the anniversary party. My chagrin was due to my guilt over my thank you note to my other friend being so tardy, and recognizing how important it is to show appreciation for what we receive, tangible or otherwise.

I was touched beyond words by the thank you note from Ella Mae. I give her parents credit for teaching her the importance of gratitude, and likely helping her to express it. While I think the words are Ella Mae’s, her parents probably encouraged her to write the note, made sure she had the stationery on which to write it, and mailed it for her. I sent a FB message to her mom, letting her know how much I appreciated Ella Mae’s note, and asked that she tell her that I have it on my refrigerator for all to see how much I appreciate it.

In case you need help with the wording of a proper thank you note, Ella Mae’s note can be used as a model. She didn’t just thank me, she told me how much she appreciates it without using those words, by telling me where she has the dolls placed in her room. And how about her words, “Thank you for always being so sweet?” That is precious beyond words, and warmed my heart in a manner few things have.  

Now, back to the question of whether or not a thank you note is “required.” When someone is gracious to us, why would we not thank them in writing for that? I do not want to assume that my readers do not know this. I imagine many are like me, just tardy in sending the handwritten note. Hopefully, this example of my 6-year-old friend is a story that can be remembered and can encourage us to do what we should in this regard. We really are not too busy to do the right thing. How long does it take, really? Maybe ten minutes max?

Thank you, Ella Mae. You touched my heart with your lovely note. I treasure it.

Now, before another day passes, I will have written and mailed my overdue thank you note. And that is not the only one I need to write, some are even tardier. Oh, me! I really must do better!

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