Thank you for being just that: dear
I just finished reading the most
marvelous book, Reflections of a Purple Zebra.
It is a collection of essays by someone
a lot of you either know, or might remember, because
she used to write for this magazine: Nancy Wright Beasley.
I had the happy pleasure of meeting
Nancy at a writerís conference recently. One session was about writing
oneís memoirs. Heaven knows, Iíve got memoirs galore. Hundreds of them
are lurking somewhere in this computer, just waiting for publication into a
So, after listening to Nancy talk about
writing a memoir, I went to the lobby to buy her book. I really had some
questions she could answer, if I could only find her among the 400 or so
people jamming the lobby. I touched the book and gazed upward, silently
asking the angels to help me find Nancy Wright Beasley.
Within 15 seconds, there she was. An
enchanting stranger across a crowded room. I waved at her and smiled big.
Surprisingly, she waved back and smiled big. We rushed toward each other
like long-lost soul sisters.
ďItís you!Ē each of us cried.
ďHuh?Ē I wondered.
Turns out, she reads my columns here,
and recognized me. It astounds me to discover how many people read this
magazine. I know the circulation hovers around 400,000; still, Iím
Here is one of the many things reading
Nancyís book taught me: Thank your readers. And that, folks, is my New
Quite a few of you write dear little
notes, or go to the trouble of sending ďstore boughtĒ cards. Each one of
them makes my day, and I really, truly, do mean to write back to you. But I
do not. I am the Queen of Procrastination. Just ask the Cooperative Living
editor. Heíll tell you this column arrived in
mid-December, although it was due November 15.
You are all so very sweet to seek me
out, and I am so very appreciative. I really, truly meant to thank, for
instance, the kind lady who sent her recipe for roast beef made with
Coca-Cola. She even invited me to dinner at her home, provided I did not
write about it. Thatís a promise I never make.
One nice lady, Pam from Dumfries, sent a
Thanksgiving card. In it, she wrote, ďIf I ever run into you at the store
or around town, I will give you a hug.Ē I sure hope so.
Iím amazed how many people recognize
me when Iím out of town. I have learned to be on my very best behavior at
all times, because, sure enough, a smiling reader will come up to me as
Iím loading groceries in my car at Ukropís in Richmond, or Martinís in
Staunton, or Fresh Fields in Roanoke. (If you want to find me, cruise the
major supermarket parking lots.)
After reading about my broken dolly tea
set, another couple dropped off a lovely hand-painted Italian cup and saucer
at my favorite Covington restaurant. I really meant to thank them.
Just yesterday, I found a package in my
mailbox. It came from this magazine, and looked as if it might contain
But when I opened it, I discovered a
plastic tub of homemade fudge. Written across the top of the tub was this:
ďMerry Christmas for Margo Oxendine. I love your articles! Elaine
Tears came to my eyes even as I tore
into the yummy fudge. Somewhere out there is a dear, sweet lady who likes my
columns enough to make a batch of fudge, pack it up nicely, write a little
note, and ship it to the magazine, hoping that, somehow, it will end up in
the mailbox at the end of my driveway.
Elaine McBennett did not include an
address anywhere on her package. Thus, I donít have to feel guilty about
yet another thank-you note Iíve not yet written. But, I feel guilty and
grateful nonetheless. Iíve received many Christmas gifts in my day, but
never one from such a thoughtful, caring stranger.
Thank you very much, Elaine McBennett,
for infusing me with a feel-good Christmas Spirit that lasted throughout the
holidays. And thanks again to Nancy Wright Beasley, for showing me how
really good writers treat really good readers.
This year, I resolve to at least TRY to
thank you darling note-writers, recipe senders and candy shippers. Well, at
least Iíll think about it. And really, truly mean to get back to you.