Raised to be kind
I went online to shop for an item I needed for the kitchen that I couldn’t seem to find in the stores. [ETA - It was a bacon dripping jar to save the yumminess for later use.] My friend David was the one who inspired me to get one of these, but he himself does not have one.
When I tweeted him that I bought him something, he was quite surprised. Another friend chimed in asking it was because his birthday was in a couple of months.
Nope. I don’t need an occasion to buy a friend something.
This notion of a gifting without an occasion was quite new to David. He sent me a message later saying that he couldn’t remember the last time someone bought him something for no reason.
Welcome to my circle of friends, I told him.
I have made some new friends this past year or so. And they haven’t yet gotten used to the fact that I’m quite good at random gifting.
Old friends know that I would come back from a farmer’s market with the last of this season’s Asian pears because I know they like them; that I would turn up with extra cream puffs if I ever go down to Beard Papa’s; or that I would make extra meatballs so the new moms could have them later.
Yet another trait I’ve picked up from my mother.
As long as I remember, my mom and her friends have always picked up something for each other when they were out somewhere. I’m not talking about souvenirs from far away places–but yes, we received those too–but from a trip to the mall or a stroll through a market.
Bags of mandarin oranges were sent over with a motorcycle messenger–common practice in Thailand–from Aunty Rae’s office because she found a great deal from a fruit vendor when she was out to lunch. Aunty Sida’s driver dropped off barbecued duck for our dinner since she was at the restaurant that’s famous for duck. Mom just sent some tote bags she picked up from today’s shopping trip out with my brother as he headed to the sports club to hand it to Aunty Jim.
You get the idea.
Mind you, this was even before cell phones. They didn’t call each other to check and see if you’d need anything. They just bought the stuff and, most of the time, call each other before stuff get sent over. But most of the times, things would just show up from Aunty So and So.
Even while I was away in the U.S., I could come home in the summer to find a pile of Thai souvenirs my mom had collected for me to take back to give to people for Christmas. And 1/3 of that pile would be from the aunties who thought of me while they were out shopping. Not to mention something else they had gotten for me specifically.
Buying a treat for your friends once in a while never hurt anybody…as long as you can afford it, of course.
That was the message I got from my mom and her friends. My mom never really taught me to do this. I just learned from watching her and the aunties.
One of the very last things I got to do with her before she had the stroke (and eventually passed away) was to hit the mall with the aunties. It was in February and the mall was full of Valentine’s Day stuff. My mom sent me slinking off to another cashier station to buy everyone a red carnation each.
“But mom, there are ROSES!” I protested.
“The roses are too pricey. The aunties will yell at you for wasting money if you get those. Get the carnations!” She grabbed my hand. “Trust me.”
The carnations did delight everyone. But Aunty Sida outdid us all by later passing around bright red hand towels with “LOVE” printed on them to everyone on the car ride home. But we didn’t even see her buy anything! The trick was that she spotted them on the way to the restroom. She had them held, then texted her driver to buy them while we were in a different section of the mall! LOL
Now I found myself wandering through Target, calling my friend Aurora to ask what size shirt do you think our friend Jim wears because I found a $5 Captain America t-shirt he’d love.
I’m a lot more like my mom that I thought.
Oh, and if you’re thinking I would be driving Brandon crazy with my shopping for other people, guess again. The mister does the same thing with his friends.