What better subject to kick off this new year than that of kindness. I sent out a few requests, and this is what came back.
Barbara and Art Bradley, Otter Rock: “We are the Bradleys, and we are in our 90s. We live in the friendly village of Otter Rock. Our neighbors on both sides check to see if they can help with town trips for groceries and meds to keep us protected from the virus. During the last few months, our newspaper has magically been appearing, not on our porch, but right by the front door, and all I have to do is bend down and pick up the Oregonian. Such a small act of kindness, but so appreciated that it starts our day with a smile. Our motto is: “Why does man look so far away when a bit of Heaven is right here day by day?”
Karlia Bertness, Newport: “Going into the pandemic, I was confident that, as a hairdresser, I would have no problems staying open. Protecting my clients from cross-contamination is something I have done each and every day of my 18-year career. Enter the governor’s mandate requiring all salons to close, causing my personal tailspin. However, it was not long before certain clients of mine began to contact me with concern and desire to help see me through. They did so in the kindest form of love offerings. Although they had uncertainties to deal with on their own, their kindness and generosity brought me out of that tailspin and into clarity. I knew everything would be all right. I could never thank them enough.”
Tony and Tina Molina, Toledo: “Our four children, in the middle of this pandemic, made sure to come see us and celebrate our 50th anniversary, since we could not have a celebration. We even arranged for a family photo shoot outside of our home.”
Karla Clem, Waldport: “Amid the challenges of this past year, I received uplifting, thoughtful notes out of the blue from my friend Martha. She is the kindest person I know. I hadn’t realized how much I needed to hear her words, until they arrived, and I still wonder how she knew. In her signature way, Martha‘s short notes have made me feel loved, inspired, capable and strong. Everyone should be so blessed to enjoy the kindness of a friend like Martha. Everyone would be even more blessed to BE a kind friend like Martha.”
Patty and Peter Benjamin, Seal Rock: “Back in June, four months into the dark days of the pandemic, some musician friends of ours, Mike and Carleen McCormack, streamed a live concert from their living room in Eugene. They sent a link to us and a group of mutual friends so we could enjoy the concert virtually. Joined by fellow musician Dale Bradley, they played and sang for nearly an hour. It was wonderful to picture so many friends that we missed — enjoying the concert at the same time — brought together through the power of music and friendship ... a lasting memory and a definite gift of kindness.”
The following is a variation of one of my favorite examples of kindness.
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The Starfish Story (source unknown)
A young girl was walking along a beach on which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and asked, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach. You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish and hurled it as far as she could out into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and said, “Well, I made a difference to that one!” The old man looked at the girl and, inspired, he also began throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon, others joined in, and all the starfish were saved.
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I am so thankful to the people who contributed to this column. I think all five pointed out the importance of kindness. This new year has to be better than the last one! May all of us find ways to be a little kinder.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]