RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Dance of Life
Walking around our town near sunset, the last light reflected on the birds’ wings in this beautiful piece, and I felt grateful. Grateful to live in a town that values the arts and understands how they uplift us, even on our harder days. Grateful to share this community with people who care for each other. Grateful for a clear, blue November day.
Winston Churchill understood something about the power of art to inspire and shape us. He said, “The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them…ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.”
As we move on from a contentious election and try to reach one another in community, art reminds us that what we share is far stronger than any issues that divide us. Art gives us pause to both consider beauty and to seek it in our lives together, our dance.
Thank you to town leaders who support public art—an act of true civic kindness—and to citizens who greet art with time and energy and intelligence, generous donors who help make it possible, and talented artists who create such work as this piece.
Shall we dance?
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Kindness: A True Story
The first thing I can remember is feeling warm on the back of a sofa next to a window. Looking for birds. I was happy. The lady who picked me up and ran the food machine was around a lot, and she liked me to sit with her by the hot place.
I had a man, too. He called her “Peg” in a big round voice. They both called me “Kris” and liked me to sleep on their bed.
Sometimes Peg put me in a box-thing and carried me out to the very small house that moved. We went to a big smelly house with other creatures where I got poked and stung. I was a “good boy.”
Peg and my man had creatures too, and that made life smell interesting. Cats like me and not-cats they called “good dogs.” These all came and went. Then more came. Peg loved us all, but me the most.
One time we all went to a new house with a new window, but the same sofa, and we stayed. I forgot about the other house and got used to the new smells.
I liked the farm house the best – I got to go out the door whenever I wanted and I got to chase things. Sometimes I caught them, but I wasn’t hungry, because Peg fed me chicken. So, I gave her the little dead things as a present. She seemed to like that.
One time I got “lost.” I knew I was in the dryer, but no one else did. I could hear Peg calling, but she couldn’t hear me. It seemed like a long time before she opened the door. She said my name the loudest I ever heard! KRIS! KRIS! Then she went to the phone thing and talked and laughed, her eyes were so big. I just rubbed on her legs.
I have heard about nine lives, so maybe I had them. I had more than one house for sure, if that’s what those nine lives are about. Anyway, before my very last house, Peg and my man and the last Good Dog took me to a smaller house. Another lady and man came to visit. Lots of times. This lady sounded a lot like Peg, and even smelled the same. The Peg-like lady and her man would sit and laugh and sometimes find the phone thing or make the TV come on. Peg and my man were always happy to see them, even if they came every day.
Came a night we were all on the sofa. Peg, my man, Good Dog, and me, like most nights. Peg went off the sofa in a quick way. My man shouted and was not happy. Then a terrible noise happened outside, like tigers screaming, and the house was filled with new people, all strange. They took Peg off the floor and put her on a very small bed. They carried her out the door. My man made terrible sounds.
I waited for Peg to come back.
My man was quiet. Peg-like-lady came and went. I waited.
Then one day Peg-like-lady came and took my man out the door.
It was just me and Good Dog. We waited for our man to come back.
The noisy-machine lady came and made the house smell different. When she left, Good Dog went out the door with her. I waited for him to come back.
Peg-like-lady and her man came to feed and love me, but then they left.
I wanted to get back in the dryer.
One day Peg-like-lady put me in a box and took me to her house. It smelled wild, with another cat who hated me and a good dog who didn’t like me either. I had to stay in a room by myself so that cat wouldn’t scratch me. This was not good.
Then! A new lady with big eyes and a smile came. She took me and the box to a new house. My last house. There was a sofa and a window and another cat, who hardly looked my way. No good dog.
I began a new life. Maybe it was number nine, I don’t know how to count. But here was the big surprise: I wasn’t old, after all! My new lady loved me and fed me chicken nuggets, and liked me to sleep on her bed. I played with strings and chased around and she sometimes put silly hats on me. I could have scratched her, but I never did. She was my new lady.
And she gave me a new name. Now I was “Theo.” And that was just fine.
My new lady had a name, too. I called her Kindness.
And lived with her forever.
A professional communicator with a long career in higher education, Meg now consults and volunteers in areas where words and images work together to tell a story. She's a proud member of Davidson's Class of 1977 and lives nearby with her husband, Don, Davidson professor emeritus of biology, with whom she shares a family grown by kinship and choice.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Farmers, Friends, Food, and Flowers
On a recent Saturday, members of the News of Davidson editorial board hosted a table at the Davidson Farmers’ Market to introduce our website, a new guy in town.
We arrived at half past seven to set up, part of the early morning flurry of vendors and Farmers’ Market volunteers. Everyone was friendly and helpful, and we were ready to go when the opening bell rang at eight. And so were the shoppers. How is it possible that so many people are out that early on a Saturday morning? But there they were, with their reusable sacks and pull-along carts, finding the perfect heirloom tomatoes, the summer’s last batch of corn.
The fragrance of coffee mixed with freshly baked breads and pastries, waked us up to greet those who stopped by to chat about the site, hear about the project, and encourage us to keep at it. Some took our flyers, others became donors on the spot.
Tall trees with their summer growth of leaves shaded us and dappled the grass with flickering light, as people moved by at a leisurely pace, laughing and talking. There’s nothing frenetic about the market, just a sweet ebb and flow, neighbors catching up, children hopping along, cookie in hand. Blue grass tunes filled the air and lush bouquets filled the shoppers’ arms.
I felt peace. Peace. Such a rare gift in this worrisome world.
The morning sped by. Before we knew it, farmers were taking down their stands and folding tables to tuck away for the next Saturday’s market. Volunteers came by to make sure we could manage our little corner’s clean-up.
That Saturday morning simply brimmed with kindness, from old friends to complete strangers. Nothing random about it, but it seemed surprising nonetheless. It all seemed easy, but it took years of work and planning and organizing to make the market such a happy success. It took vision, from the first days when a few folks asked if they could use the land beside Town Hall to create our very own farmers’ market. It took optimism. They weren’t quite sure how it would work, but they knew that the time was now and the place was perfect.
How lucky for us that they were right.