Just Because

My family has always been big on “just because” gifts, and it’s a custom I adore and have adopted as my own. It’s such a thrill to buy someone something just because it’s perfect for them or the time, and not because it’s Christmas or a birthday. “Just because” gifts say I’m thinking about you and you’re special; they say I love you all the time, not just two or three times a year.

It always saddens me that people get so stressed out about buying gifts. Will she like it? Am I spending enough? What is he getting for me? Yuck. It’s sick and we all know it, yet most of us partake in the craziness. I’m a terrible spoiler of surprises, and if I buy someone a gift in advance of the holiday it was intended for I usually give it early. I just can’t help myself.

I recently bought my friend Rich a locally distilled bottle of rye, not even knowing if he likes rye, because it was bottled on his last birthday, the start of his fortieth year. It brought me so much joy, and as I learned through my friend Dan Comstock, “Giving and receiving are the same.”

Two days ago I received a typed letter—single spaced and over two pages long—from my friend Geoff. It contained just exactly the words I needed to read on that day, the fourth of a ten day cleanse. I save all my cards and letters, but that one gets top shelf. Among other things, he said:

It seems you bring out the nice side of me. I love the way you get me to be honest, how you can be direct with some care and that you don’t pull punches. I trust you so much…

Then yesterday I received a “just because” gift from a boarding school friend, which because of our age makes her clearly an old friend. We stay in touch but I haven’t seen her in forever, though I hope that with my planned east coast time this spring and summer that that will change.

I knew the gift was coming because Hilary asked me what color I’d like and my address. She needed to ship my gift UPS, and I’ve only received one UPS package since I’ve been here—and that one I intercepted on the road—but was confident it would work.

I live in a cabin on a farm with some other cabins and casitas. As the weather has grown warmer I’ve started to get to know my neighbors better, and in the past week I’ve had a couple of knocks on my door. They startle me, just as a ringing telephone will when I get back to having one of those.

For well over a month not one person showed up unexpected, and now I have knocks. Avi knocked yesterday when I was only half dressed, and I threw on a shirt to answer the door and he had a small, square box in his hands, “You got a package!” he said, “It looks like a ring?!”

I love that he thought it was a ring; how funny. Avi is twenty-three and adorable. He throws pots, works at a restaurant in the ski valley, and coaches a ski team. He’s never without a megawatt smile, and is one of the sweetest human beings I’ve ever met. He’d been feeling under the weather so I hooked him up with some herb concoctions and made him a “drink” that wrinkled the poor boy’s face. After that we set to opening my package.

Hilary is a sales rep for a company called Wimberly, and their bracelets were recently featured in People’s StyleWatch. I saw the spread in the magazine (one of my guilty bathtub pleasures), and when she posted it on Facebook I commented that I wanted it. May have said needed it….She sent me a message: I’m sending you that bracelet. What color do you want? The magazine showed the one with the bee, but the link she sent was of the horseshoe, which I also love and would never, ever argue with.

Without hesitation I said “Turquoise!”


{Note: I did not wash or brush my hair, but did put on lipstick. And yes, it was tank top weather in New Mexico today. In case you were wondering.}

I thanked her before I received it and she replied:

I know you are going to love this piece and I’m so glad that you have chosen the bee. Bees are a symbol of the hard work that results in a sweet reward; a wonderful reminder to continue to enjoy the sweetness of our lives. Historically they are also one of the most prevalent symbols of rebirth and good fortune. Lady, I’m so impressed that you continue to appreciate, and most importantly acknowledge, the steps you have made as it takes a brave and strong soul to know how to be true to oneself.

P.S. When your book goes to print one of Wimberly’s horseshoes will be added to the mix.

I have no doubt, with these friends of mine, that I’m the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you, Hilary; thank you, Geoff. And seriously: thanks to all of you.