Practiced what was preached
Saturday September 26th 2009, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Richard and I had a wonderful time at Don‘s this afternoon; ice cream was consumed, chocolate was sauced, raspberries were sacrificed. Don’s little parrot Pepper stole the show, making it very clear that Don was emphatically hers, not ours, thank you very much.  Where Don went, Pepper puttered along right behind on tiny waddling feet and we were not to come between.

And a good time was had by all.

There’s a proud little corner of me that was glad we went in Richard’s car; mine is a wreck. It’s  a ten-year-old minivan the kids learned how to drive in, and boy does it show. The third time the sliding door got sideswiped against a pole, we refused to fix it again: it still shuts.  The alarm doesn’t sound.  Good enough.  If it’s ugly, I thought at my then-teenagers but didn’t say, you guys made it ugly and it’ll be all the more disincentive to do stupid kid driving tricks because there’s no way in heck that car is ever going to impress other teenagers.

Even if it has comfy heated leather front seats.

Nowadays it also has a crack in the windshield going nearly all the way across the bottom.  Nice touch.  The deductible would put it all out of pocket, and I refuse to put a dime more into that car that I don’t have to.  With about 17k by now in out-of-pocket medical expenses this past year, starting just after we contracted for that solar system having no idea what was about to hit us, that wreck is just plain mine for awhile longer. The transmission keeps threatening to die, but it’s been threatening for two years and I keep calling its bluff. So far so good.

We got home from Don’s.  I was a bit tired, so I tried to find a ride to Menlo Park.  The church there was showing a worldwide meeting being broadcast from Salt Lake City to the Relief Society, which I believe is, at 167 years, the oldest women’s organization in the world.  Several wards’ worth of women were coming to watch it there, with a potluck to be held afterwards. I would get a chance to meet many people I didn’t know and to see old friends I rarely see.

But no luck on the carpooling idea. I got in my van and simply went.

There was a talk given wherein they described some of the history of the Relief Society: how the early women’s efforts started some of the first hospitals in the western now-states, how the Mormon Church’s system of being able to reach into disaster areas with medical and food supplies grew from the efforts of those women way back when.

But, they said, the point is to keep remembering to be actively involved on a personal level, taking care of and looking out for one another right wherever you are.  I sat there thinking, oh yes.  The small moments mean so much more than it seems like they could ever, at the times we’re planning them.

There was the potluck, there was chatting; there was the woman who bumped into me so slightly that she probably didn’t even notice, who was stunned when my cane and I went sprawling; she grabbed me, along with Julia of Julia shawl fame, just before I totally went over. She apologized profusely, having no idea, poor thing.

I explained to her she had no need to whatsoever, that the only person who should apologize was the man who’d smashed my car nine years ago.  She looked at me…? Head injury, I affirmed. My balance is tactile and visual only now. Bump and the tactile goes poof, especially when the visual’s already on overload. No big deal, honest.

She felt better when she saw it didn’t bug me. My standard line is, hey. Burns extra calories.  Keeps me thin.

All of which, it turned out, delayed me just a bit more.

…I went out to my car, ready to go home…and stood there speechless.

A group of five women I didn’t know walked out together a moment later, and I tried to tell them and did such a bad job of it that one of them asked, “Are you okay?!”

There was just too much to put into any simple sentence by way of explanation. The surgeries. The extreme sun sensitivity. The cracked windshield that makes it so I can’t possibly put my car through a car wash. The abdomen that still makes me have to take it easy.  The hose I can’t yet manage to get around to the front of the house.  The sunlight I can’t begin to stand out in to hose the thing down anyway.

My car was spotless. Someone had snuck up on it and washed it while I was inside. My car was clean!  Months of tree dust and dirt and bird poop and quiet inner frustration on my part, not spoken of to anyone outside my family as far as I know. It had so bugged me.  I hadn’t been able to do a thing about it.  MY CAR WAS CLEAN!  I had to do a doublecheck to make sure someone hadn’t removed my car and put the same model and color in its parking spot.  Nope–there’s the crack in the window, there’s the box inside still waiting to get dropped off at Goodwill.  I was absolutely gobsmacked.

I don’t know how they got away with it.  I don’t know how I got singled out nor by whom.  But I will forever be grateful someone noticed, that someone thought of it, planned it, and carried out that suds attack. (And if someone is guffawing that it took me all day to notice, if you did it last night–but I don’t think so. My family doesn’t think so.  And Michelle says she knows nothing.)

I’m still shaking my head in delighted disbelief.  Yes, Universe–yet again, I owe you. THANK YOU!!!

22 Comments so far
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You’ll never know (unless someone spills the beans) what caring action of yours triggered this act of kindness. But you’ve done so much for others, it’s about time you got what was coming to you! Remember, what goes around, comes around. Excellent use of a Suds Attack!

Comment by Kathy in San Jose 09.26.09 @ 10:26 pm

What a lovely little miracle to happen to you, and it sounds like you really needed one about then. So wonderful to read, and of course you of all people have done so many of those unexpected little miracles for other people– who could have been more fitting to be on the receiving end of a much needed car wash?
Thanks for the lift after a long hard day… 🙂

Comment by Beckett 09.26.09 @ 10:49 pm

Ooh, that gives a whole new bent to the saw “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. What a lovely surprise!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 09.27.09 @ 5:51 am

I love this post. It gave me warm fuzzies to know that someone was looking out for you and chose to remain anonymous and allow you to think of all the good peoplel that might have cleaned your car.

Comment by Joansie 09.27.09 @ 6:00 am

I’m always amazed to observe how well my Mormon friends are taken care of in time of crisis.

Comment by suburbancorrespondent 09.27.09 @ 6:01 am

In our current world of public rudeness and ugliness, your experience is even more beautiful. Reminds me to be kind every day to every one.

Comment by Judy 09.27.09 @ 6:38 am

Wow – so awesome! And having recently sweated through giving mine a good (and overdue) scrubbing I know how wonderful it feels to drive a nice clean car!

Comment by (formerly) no-blog-rachel 09.27.09 @ 6:39 am

Congrats to whoever pulled that off. Awesome!

Comment by RobinM 09.27.09 @ 6:57 am

What a lovely gift for someone to give! Stealth van cleaning, I love it.

Comment by ccr in MA 09.27.09 @ 7:16 am

Sometimes turnabout IS fair play! Lovely surprise for you.

Comment by sjanova 09.27.09 @ 7:35 am

What a wonderful surprise, but what a frustrating mystery. Who to send the thank you shawl(s) to, eh? The universe is too big to wrap in lace weight baby alpaca.

Like Joansie, I loved this post, too!

Comment by LynnM 09.27.09 @ 7:55 am

You are so loved! I am glad you got to the broadcast. We had a lovely potato bar beforehand. Can’t beat Idaho potatoes. I really like to hear Pres. Eyring speak and could listen to him all night.

Comment by sherry in idaho 09.27.09 @ 8:35 am

How lovely! What a terrific gift :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 09.27.09 @ 10:28 am

How do you know you owe? Could it be you’re receiving from all the giving you do?

I don’t know why I wrote that, since my reflex would be the same as yours: say thanks and try to pay it forward.

Oh! And CPR for a squirel? I’m glad you decide to pass on that. Made me chuckle. 🙂

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 09.27.09 @ 10:31 am

Well, I was not the one to wash your car! Somebody(s) got it in for you if they go around taking away all the lovely dirt on your car! At least they didn’t steal your cracked windshield.

So glad that you and Richard enjoyed your visit. I know that Cliff and I certainly did. Just for the record, Pepper is a member of the parrot family, and she is a cockatiel.

Other fun:

A young daughter loved to go to performances at the local high school, so when her brother was in a spelling bee, she happily came along. But halfway through, she lost interest. Leaning in to her mother she said, “This is the most boring play I’ve ever seen.”

A listing in the Costa Mesa “Daily Pilot” described a volunteer girls organization as a “National Youth Prevention organization”.

Comment by Don Meyer 09.27.09 @ 10:33 am

Great for you! I’m sure it made the SudsVandal happy too!

Comment by TripletMom 09.27.09 @ 5:16 pm

I’m so glad you weren’t injured when you fell.

Hehe, the sweetness of blessings, it does runneth over, doesn’t it. 🙂

Comment by ldsvenus 09.27.09 @ 5:54 pm

That is a real blessing right there. God knew and worked through a couple of real-life angels just for you, knowing that you needed that today. What an amazing blessing and a great idea to pass on. 🙂

Comment by Carina 09.27.09 @ 6:59 pm

I’m so glad you were gobsmacked, and not just “surprised.” How much better for the phantom van washers who are probably laughing triumphantly and planning an even bigger and better surprise for the next person on their list.

Comment by LauraN 09.27.09 @ 7:54 pm

What a great moment! That’s wonderful. See?! Being kind and good catches on.

Comment by Channon 09.28.09 @ 6:22 am

Oh, what a wonderful gobsmacking! I love hearing about your adventures, Alison, and being reminded that putting good energy out into the universe as you always do reaps limitless treasures.

Comment by Kathleen 09.28.09 @ 5:12 pm

I am so happy to think of you receiving this kindness.

Comment by twinsetellen 10.03.09 @ 7:25 am

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