“Merry Christmas, your account has been paid”, said a voice behind me. Behind me stood a young man—at my age most people seem young— smiling and nodding to the cashier as he repeated “Merry Christmas, your bill is paid.” “Well, I, uh, I thank you—is this an act of kindness—if so I accept and thank you and I will pass it on.” Being a gracious receiver had long been an important goal of mine. This has certainly brightened my day. I had just come from a Christmas church service and this made the service even more special. I even had opportunity to pass it on before leaving Middlesboro.
I was in Food City getting a few items. Since I live on Stinking Creek I don’t get to town very often except on Sunday. So that is why I was at the right place at the right time to participate in that act of kindness. It was also a special day because I had made a resolution to broaden my horizon—to think outside the box. Since I am a farmer, I raise most of my food and pretty well limit my food to what I raise. Because of that, I was really quite ignorant of the aisles and rows of boxes, cans and jars of food in the store. I felt if I didn’t look I wouldn’t be tempted to buy things I didn’t need so you can see I had formed quite a confining box. So I had resolved to purchase something each month that I had little or no knowledge about. A can of French Fried Onions caught my eye. I was contemplating how to use them when the voice interrupted me.
That simple act of kindness set me to thinking about what a good Christmas gift that would be for our friends and especially for our families. That could be a very good place to consciously practice daily acts of kindness with siblings. What effect would that have on the parents trying to not just provide a house for the family but help with the house keeping duties that make the house into a loving and safe home. This very idea is what gave Peggy and me the idea of the name for our community center. We have had fifty-eight years to practice living up to our name—Lend-A-Hand Center. It hasn’t always been evident but we have kept it as a goal as we have lived and worked on Stinking Creek. What a Christmas gift!