Bluffton Packet

Sometimes people do the most unexpected, but nicest things

Having a “no beating around the bush” personality and a “cut to the chase, tell it like it is” lingo that can sometimes, if I’m not careful, come across a little too blunt with folks, it’s actually surprising when friends go out of their way to do something nice for me, unexpectedly. Hmm, makes me wonder. Maybe they feel sorry for me and are trying to soften me up. If so, their theory works and I like it!

It’s been said, “A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, allows you to grow.”

My cousin, Pat Simmons, who lives a “stone’s throw” down at the water’s edge of Stoney Creek (lucky duck), where I walk on mornings, pulled up in my back yard 12 years ago, rapped on my back door calling out, “Hey Jean, I have something for you in my car. Come and get it.”

So I’m thinking, “What in the world has this woman done now (since she’s known for some eccentric, off-the-wall tricks).”

Lo and behold, she opened her trunk and there sits a used HP computer she had purchased from Habitat for Humanity. I said, “Pat, what am I supposed to do with a computer? I don’t know beans about computers!”

Her simple reply, “You’ll learn. Now, c’mon, let’s get it set up and you can upload those photos off your digital camera P.J. gave you for your birthday.”

So we hauled it in and she set it up on my Grandma Simmons antique desk I had used when in high school doing my homework. She showed me how to start, send an email, how to shut it down and how to upload my camera’s memory card to a photo file. I had fussed at son P. J. when he gave it to me, saying, “What do I need a digital camera for? My Pentax K1000 works fine taking photos.” To which, I was told, “Mama, everything’s going digital. You’ve got to rise with the times. It’s called change.”

Ugh! As we get older we don’t cotton to change. But, I embraced the change and now I’m using Pat’s computer knowledge and P.J.’s digital camera to project my article ideas and my photos to the newspaper.

Many years ago, one Saturday morning, when taking our Shih Tzu, Muffy, to be groomed by Donna Underwood, whose pet grooming shop sits on the edge of her parents’ property, I visited with her mom, Sylvia Underwood, while the grooming was taking place. Noticing the beautiful afghans on the back of her sofa and chairs, while enjoying a cup of coffee, I ask if I might take some photos of them and her for a future article. She complied and the article ran in an edition of the newspaper in February 2012.

Shortly thereafter, on another grooming trip, she presented me with an afghan made by hand especially for me. It took many hours of crocheting, with a center onset of a royal purple “Iris” design with bands of white and purple surrounding it. It’s absolutely beautiful, and created by her own design after I had mentioned to her my love of purple Iris flowers.

You never know, in conversation, what consequences might result from words falling on receptive ears. I, for one, am still enjoying the results of that conversation.

Other times, a simple bouquet of sunflowers have warmed my heart. Once it was from a guest gracing my table at a luncheon invitation. And another time, a very large bunch of fresh-picked sunflowers from Sanders Farm in Okatie, given to me by my granddaughter, Cheryl Tanner, is all it took to brighten my day.

Just recently, on her way back home from a girls’ vacation trip to Hawaii, Louise Mayfield presented me with an emery board, a souvenir from the Aloha State designed with a palm tree and the word Hawaii, spelled “Hawai’i” in Hawaiian language. How sweet to be thought of by a friend some 5,000 miles away.

Henry David Thoreau said, “Nothing makes the earth seem so precious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

Since the contraction for “am not,” “is not,” “has not,” and “have not” is a continuing subject of controversy when applied in the English language, this country girl will use it anyway. My thoughts are: “Ain’t friends Great”!

Jean Tanner may be reached at