I received a beautiful thank you letter from my niece Rachel yesterday. It gave me an idea. Thanks to modern technology, we have lost a good deal of the tradition of thank you notes. I had decided that I wanted to recognize all the kind strangers-become-friends whom we met on our journey but I was just going to write ABOUT them. Rachel’s letter gave me the idea of writing to them…only publicly on the blog in the form of a traditional letter. I’m thinking it will be a way to be more descriptive of what they did for and with us as well as more personal. So, here goes the first one to our first angel who volunteered to become part of our journey without even meeting us.
July 2, 2013
Thank you so much for helping out with our putting in and taking out of the river. When I called the Chesapeake Community Center, it was really a last ditch effort to find someone who would meet us in Athalia, OH, and take Karen’s van for the week and then come downriver some 130 miles the following week to meet us again. I have spoken to many people about my hunt for a kind person who would want to be part of our journey. More than once I got that strange look and sometimes the comment: “I wouldn’t take a whole Saturday to do that for someone I didn’t know!” I believe you are exceptional in your readiness to help strangers.
You listened to me that day just five days before we were to leave and you quickly said: “I’ll do it!” I worried that you maybe did not realize that you were committing to most of the day that it would take to drive down river and then back with us. But when I emphasized the length of time, you simply wrote back with these words: “That’s great. Can’t wait to meet you ladies.”
And now we are friends. We may or may not see each other again but we are connected by this journey and, of course, through Facebook and email. You were the one who all along the way “liked” my posts and stayed in touch. You read the blog from cover to cover before ever meeting us…and yet you STILL came to meet us! We have shared our stories with each other now and thus recognized that we are all on the same adventure called life, though it takes different shapes and forms.
And you know that the favorite part of me being led to you is your last name: Tiller. Just like a tiller on a boat, you helped guide our journey and keep us on a good path.
Thank you so much for being open to meeting us and helping us with an open heart and the open arms with which you embraced us when you met us at the other end.
With deep appreciation,
PS: There was another stranger who took this photo for us at the RV park where we landed. I neither got her name nor photo but it was kind of her to take this wonderful photo of Sheila between Karen and me.