A couple weeks ago Sally lost her hat, again. It's a knitted cap that our daughter, Erin, made for her, and one that she wears often. A month or so ago she misplaced it, but it turned up. This time Sally wasn't so lucky.
We were on a walk on a typical Portland day - it started out cool and damp until the sun broke through - Sally had already taken off her hat and put it into her jacket pocket, and then removed the jacket. That's when the hat went AWOL.
Sally missed the hat before we got home, and suspected the location where she had dropped it. We jumped into the car and drove there, to no avail. The hat was not to be found. Later we rode our bikes over the route with the same result. The hat was gone. Sally told Erin, who graciously knitted another hat.
Fast forward to yesterday.... I was returning home from the Post Office on my daily constitutional when I saw Sally's hat perched in a bush by the sidewalk. It was beyond surprising, almost surreal. We have walked by that spot at least ten times in the last two weeks without noticing the hat. And there it was.
As I walked home, hat in hand, I thought of the person who picked up the hat and laid it on the bush. I thought of all who left it there as they walked by. Scores of tiny kindnesses led up to my being able to interrupt Sally at a meeting with the welcome text, "found your hat".
I'm uncertain as to the efficacy of being grateful in general, and don't know who to thank in particular. So I'll thank you. Thanks for the kindnesses that you do, expecting nothing in return other than the satisfaction of having done the right thing. Your acts matter to someone. They matter.