Sometimes the sweetest gifts are free…
Readers of this blog know that I collect feathers, and I have for several years. I don’t remember how I got started with it, but at some point I saw a pretty feather someplace and decided to pick it up and take it with me. For the longest time I simply stuck them into my Bible or other books I was reading, and many of my books still contain feathers. I came across one the other day and it both surprised and delighted me. I hope the people who inherit my books someday will have the same reaction.
Larger feathers, or ones from trips or momentous occasions, I have laminated on pretty paper or photographs with a description of when and where I found them and why they are special. These make wonderful bookmarks as well. I have also included them in notes or little presents to people, taping a small feather to a letter or the inside of a book.
Several people have spotted feathers and photographed them for me, sending the pictures via e-mail or on social media. Those are always nice surprises and they tickle me to pieces. And a few people have found feathers, picked them up and saved them to give to me when we saw each other next. A couple of these “feather presents” came earlier in the summer, just a couple of days apart. My friend Ann Rita is an avid hiker, and on one of her excursions she found a gorgeous dark-brown-and-white striped feather and picked it up to bring to me at church. It is gorgeous and unique, and sturdy enough to use as a writing instrument like they did in the olden days. Just a couple of days after that, I met my friend Marc to practice music and he said he had a surprise for me. He had found an enormous, shiny black feather and saved it to bring me because he knew I collected them.
A couple of years ago my cousin Judy sent me one tucked inside the pages of a magazine featuring Alton Brown, my favorite food personality (and nerd crush!). Rebecca and Karen, friends I have sung with in Knoxville Choral Society, have also contributed to my collection. Rebecca brought me a huge, HUGE turkey feather from a trip to North Carolina. Karen’s property has geese and she gathered a baggie full of soft grey feathers and brought them to me at rehearsal one night.
Most recently, my sweet husband Jeff was outside our house and something caught his eye. It turned out to be a blue jay feather, with black stripes and a white tip. It’s unlike anything else in my collection, and he could easily have just left it on the ground where it had landed. He found it on the 3rd anniversary of my last visit with Aunt Ruby before her stroke. I hugged him so hard I think it surprised him! And I may or may not have cried in private a little later on for that precious gift from God letting me know that Aunt Ruby is indeed with Him.
Any time someone sends me a feather picture, or actually picks one up to give to me, I am amazed at their thoughtfulness in doing so. For that moment, a person remembered me, and chose to let me KNOW that they remembered me. That in itself is a gift, just as much (or even more sometimes) than something purchased with money.
Thoughtful gifts don’t need to be expensive…and expensive gifts aren’t always Thoughtful.