The Unexpected Gift is…

the best kind…

There’s a house behind mine. A set of twins live there – a girl and a boy – and all last summer, they practiced for their baseball team. The kids have a variety of balls, and most were the white plastic wiffle balls with all the holes. As balls go, these are pitched as perfect for use in confined spaces, but they sail easily over fences when hit just right.

It became a form of treasure hunt for me, finding those errant balls and tossing them back. Late at night, I’d be out in the dark, prowling through the ground cover like a mad woman. No particular reason other than I thought they’d stop playing, one of those warm days, if all the balls were in my yard. And white wiffle plastic reflects in the moonlight.

Then, one day, I hear a knock at the door. Two smiling faces. This time, it was a football, foam I think, and they apologized but it was lost in my yard and they’d be happy to look. I told them no worries, I’d find it, toss it back – and it was waiting for them by the time they ran around the block and through their house, out onto their deck.

Yes, I’d watched to make sure they found it.

By the end of that summer, we’d established this routine. I would sit on the patio enjoying my coffee. They were hitting their balls and shouting “thank you” when I’d toss one back from the “outfield.”

That fall, we were out in the front yard weeding-so much fun, which is why we always put it off – and a car pulls up to the curb. A man gets out.

“I’m your neighbor from behind,” he said, holding out his hand. “Father to the twins. I just wanted to thank you for throwing all those balls back over the fence.”

He’s holding out a bottle of wine, too, and do you know, I’ve been out in my backyard almost every night since, looking for wiffle balls. It’s a ritual, now. Oh, not for the wine.

Because the gratitude for a simple act was an unexpected gesture. And I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a good thing when we put kindness out into the world.

Thanks for reading!

~ Sue Wilder




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