Dan and Who Gave The Gift to Whom


First, what does an British owl say? The answer is at the end of this posting.

This summer of 2021 our friend Steve said your sign could use an upgrade. He was right on. We’d had our Hannah’s Loft sign up since Hannah began her five-year run as a Bed & Breakfast Innkeeper (1987-1991) for the two rooms we have above our garage. That’s 34 years of summer’s sun blasts and winter’s cold, wind, and salt.

Hannah’s Loft sign before

In addition to being a solid guy and a key member of our pickleball pod, Steve is an artiste. We couldn’t be happier that he was going to spruce up our sign. Teaming up with our buddy Fran, mechanically inclined and an equally valuable member of our pickleball pod, who handled the hardware, Steve put us in business.

Two weeks later in late August, Steve returns the sign with gold-leaf flourishes around the corners and a sparking new paint job. He does suggest that we remove the sign for the winter to keep it out of the elements. We are just two miles from the briny coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

Fran, Hannah, and Steve

So that brings us to this past Monday (December 13, 2021) when the afternoon temperature rose to a balmy 42F; a perfect afternoon to take down the sign. Retrieving our eight-foot step ladder from the shed, I climb up as Hannah braces the ladder. It is soon quite apparent that I am just not strong enough to lift the heavy sign off its hinges.

Hannah and I discuss our options. Our son-in-law Tip could do this in his sleep. Unfortunately, he lives an hour away and won’t be in York for two more weeks.

The very next day as I return from walking in town, I think about our neighbor across the street, an affable, always willing-to-help kind of guy. Indeed younger and stronger than I.

I pause and think I will, in an act of friendship, give him the gift of helping me out. You might be thinking he’s helping you out, how is that a gift for him, Danny Boy! Think about it. Most people love helping others. Removing the sign might take two minutes and it would really help this 73-year-old.

Soon to be tucked away for the winter

So I do. I walk across the street, knock on his door, and ask him if he could help me to take down the sign. He said sure. Bracing him on our step ladder, I see him simply lift the sign off its hinges no problemo, and hand it to me. He is beaming; I am beaming.

Certainly he has given me a gift by helping out when I needed it, but I think my gift to him is just as important – the gift of letting him help. I do appreciate our neighbors who let me help them.

Are you buying my interpretation of gift giving?

And by the way, British owl says, “Whom, Whom.” Thank you, Ted Lasso.

Dan’s Good Friend’s Quiz

What could be better than a quiz with no grades!

There are old friends, occasional friends, distant friends, new friends, and family friends.  There are good friends.   For me, a good friend is a regular, supportive part of one’s life.  To paraphrase Thomas Fuller, If you have one good friend, you have more than your share.

It’s a “true, false, maybe yes, or somewhat” quiz.  Let’s rock.

Friends and adventure

Uno, do good friends both like and actively show their interest in you?  Duh!  Pretty simple?  Many people may like you (i.e. find you pleasant, nice) but don’t really have much interest in your story, the details of your life.  With a good friend, you have a voice in the relationship.

Two, one of the primary characteristics of good friends is that they listen, and then listen some more?  (Not a hard quiz, yes?)

Three, do good friends have common interests?  To develop as good friends, must there be a meaningful intersection of mutual interests (i.e. being, say, physically active, talking politics, the same faith, involved in the community, or literary topics)?  However nice and decent two people may be, can their friendship jump into the good category without common interests?

Quatro, time.  Some folks in retirement have lots of disposable time.  People who are working, raising kids, and/or tending to extended-families do not often have the same amount of time.  Do those most reasonable demands by one party make growing a good friendship a challenge?

Friends and wine

Cinco de Mayo,  between times together, do good friends connect, evenly briefly, by say text, phone, or email?  Such digital communication may be just a line every week or two, but is it necessary to keep good friends connected?

Six, let’s throw in geography.  Without the casual contact friends, whether it be in the neighborhood, over coffee, on the pickleball court, while walking in town, can distances of even 10 or 25 miles away keep friendships from making it into the good category?

Seventh heaven, maybe a good friend is just someone who makes you feel special.