Friday, February 11, 2011

plum baker project: the stories

When I set out on this sudden idea to honor kindness with baked goods, I was ready to try a few times before I got any nominees. Not that there isn't enough kindness in the world, or that people don't eagerly jump at a chance to sample sweet treats. I just know that sometimes an idea spends time ... baking ... before it grabs folks' attention.

So wasn't I pleased when I received my first nomination? And then another ... and then two more! And wasn't I happily surprised to see how broad a range the submissions covered and from what far-flung corners?

What strikes me about all of them is the level of appreciation knitted into all the stories. I have a feeling that many of the folks being nominated, when they were doing their act of kindness, didn't even realize they were doing something special. They were likely doing something that just seemed like The Right Thing To Do.

Regardless, those who wrote in felt the weight of it.

Here are the stories, in the words of the folks who sent them along.

Nominator: Lydia
Nominee: Sarah
Note: Upon getting the OK from Lydia, I will include her and Sarah's full names. I've edited her nomination so I may share her story while honoring her privacy.

My friend Sarah should totally get a baked good! Even though we haven't lived in the same state for two years, she and her husband have always been there for me and my husband, and even flew to our home with their baby in November when they heard that we had a family health scare.

Nominator: Sharon Bonham
Nominee: A homeless shelter

"Is there a homeless shelter in Roanoke? (I assume yes.) I think the people who work there deserve a little recognition, and I think you should take a round of cookies to them and all the homeless people one day!"

When I was preparing to write this update, I asked Sharon to elaborate on her reasons for her nomination. This was her response:

"I made my nomination for the simple fact that homelessness has been on my mind lately. It's a major issue in Colorado Springs [where Sharon lives]. I know most people who work to help the homeless are probably fine remaining anonymous, but they also need to know that everyone is grateful for the work that they do. And, of course, the homeless need to be given dignified recognition as well, to let them know that we all care. Little things matter. I've seen it in the faces of homeless and hungry people: being told, 'I see you' can be the greatest moment of their day."

Sharon's nomination has inspired me to volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen in town within the next month. And if the staff is keen on it, I may return with cookies enough for them at those they serve thereafter. If anyone in Roanoke has suggestions for a place in particular need, please feel free to e-mail me (lindsay (at) theplumbaker (dot) com) or leave a note in the comments below). 

Nominator: Erin Wommac
Nominee: Maria St.Clair

"My nominee is Maria St.Clair. After 2011 had gotten off to a rocky start, she was one of the many friends that helped to calm the seas.  When she heard that I was having a hard time, Maria immediately offered to have me over for dinner with her family. A home cooked meal, the raucousness of being in a home with a laughter, and a crushing hug were pretty much all I needed in order to begin to feel that things were looking up. I will always be grateful that when I was probably at my crankiness and surliest, Maria was there to open her home to me."

Nominator: Laura Tuggle Anderson
Nominee: Larry Hill and his staff at Crouch Pharmacy

"I would like to nominate Larry Hill and his staff at Hill’s Crouch Pharmacy on Williamson Road, just up the road from Hollins. My husband and I have been going to this locally run pharmacy for years. When I got pregnant, I was sick A LOT, and husband was constantly going back and forth to Crouch’s to pick up meds. One day, I can’t remember why, husband couldn’t get to the pharmacy but I really needed the medicine – and so Larry Hill, the pharmacist himself, drove to our house to give us the prescription. We didn’t even have enough cash to pay him, he waved us off and said he knew we’d pay the next time we came in. Now, Crouch’s has a policy that they DO deliver prescriptions, but we’re young and hardy folk so we never thought we’d need them to do that for us – and we didn’t even have to ask.

"Now that our daughter is here, we take her to Crouch’s and she is toddling around and saying “hi” to Larry and his staff – especially Mary, who gives her lollipops. Larry even gave our daughter a doll for Christmas – telling us that he doesn’t do that for just anybody, but she’s  a special little baby to them.

"I know that when people work in service-oriented fields, these acts of kindness can often be overlooked or explained away, humbly, as just “part of my job.” But I feel that Larry, Mary, and the others who work at Crouch’s take a true personal interest in our well-being, and they have become like family to us. I never would have thought of my pharmacist as family, but they are!"

thank you!
Thank you again to all who participated in the first round of The Plum Baker Project. I was honored that you shared your stories with me, and I look forward to getting more next time. See you in a few weeks (if not sooner), do-gooders!