Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Surprise Thank-you notes



In the Spring, 2013 issue of the magazine Lucky Peach there was an amusing article by a  chef who flies from New York to Los Angeles to do a tour with the punk band C.R.A.S.H., for whom he is their drummer. Like many articles in Lucky Peach, “C.R.A.S.H. Landing” by Brooks Headley is set at the intersection of the food subculture with another subculture (punk rock, in this case). Being more interested in food than punk rock, I would have forgotten about the article had it not been for a couple lines:


“I write Jon a thank-you note and put it in the fridge in the vegetable crisper. Hidden thank-you notes are the best. I also empty my pockets of $1.75 in change and put it on the windowsill. A tip!” 


What a wonderful thing to imagine—not just Headley scribbling a thank-you note and squirreling away for his host to find at some unspecified time (I hope Jon uses his vegetable crisper), but also the image of Jon reaching for carrots and finding “Thanks for the crash pad!”

One or two days after I read this article, I received my own surprise thank-you note. My mother is cleaning out all her kids’ accumulated junk (we’re 34 and 40, so it’s been in her house for a while) and she asked me what I wanted to do with my collection of glass Disney figurines (see http://calstate.fullerton.edu/news/Inside/2009/photos/disney-figures.jpg for the best picture I could find of what I mean). I wasn’t interested in keeping them and told her she could sell them or give them away. She had a coworker whose young daughter liked Disney and would be interested in them. “Fine,” I said, “it would be nice if someone who would appreciate them got them.” And I put the figurines and their future with this girl out of my mind.

Maybe a month after I told my mother this, I got this in the mail:



My own surprise thank-you card. 

“Hidden thank-you notes are the best.”

What’s the best thank-you you’ve ever received, card or otherwise? I’ll choose one random commentator on Saturday to receive one copy of each of my books (The First Move and Reservations for Two).

11 comments:

Kaelee said...

What a great thing for all three of you to do. Your mom for thinking of the idea, you for giving up something you no longer wanted and Kenadee for sending the note. It's definitely an AW moment.

Once in a while I get thank you notes from my great nieces and nephews. It is always their own idea to send them. I like getting thank you hugs also.

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

What a wonderful story. When we were dating, my husband used to hide surprise notes at my job. I would find them while I was working.

I work with a very nice lady who says she knows you from a reader's group in Durham. Her name is Meg.

Rogenna Brewer said...

I once hid a box of Enstroms Almond Toffee in my fridge for Christmas and didn't find it until well afterwards.

Jennifer Lohmann said...

@Kaelee:
How nice that you get thank-you notes from your great nieces and nephews!

@Tammy:
Oh, the world can be so wonderfully small sometimes. :-)

@Rogenna:
I've done similar things with treats or something I'm going to "save for a special occasion."

liztalley said...

Awwww...That's the sweetest little note!

You know, I've gotten out of the habit of handwritten thankyou notes. I usually just message with FB or email, but maybe you just talked me into using them again. I've received some really nice ones - one from our sweet Kathy Altman who wrote me one about two years ago. It had a cat on the front :)

Nice post!

linda s said...

Thank you notes... Surprises... Lovely post. I haven't received a real Thank you note in years. But I love phone call thank you's as you get an added treat of having a chat.

Jennifer Lohmann said...

@Linda S.

I never thought of the benefit of the added chat for a phone thank you. Good point!

Laney4 said...

I am fortunate to have received lots of thanks, "cards and otherwise" and all were special to me. I have received thank-you cards, emails, phone calls, baked goodies, flowers, indoor plants, perennials, items someone was going to donate to charity and thought I'd appreciate them instead, lots of hugs, and I'm sure other gifts of love. From my daughter, I have recently been blessed with tears along with those thanks/hugs, as she knew how lucky she was to have such a supportive family. Because I write poetry, many have blessed me with their own renditions of poetry too (although one 40+-year-old emailed me two Valentine poems he definitely wrote himself this year thanking me for being so nice to him, despite knowing I am happily married for 32 years; cringe).
One of my favourite things to do for friends is bring them homemade desserts, fresh out of the oven, if possible. By bringing small quantities, nobody feels like they are over-indulging/pigging out, but instead enjoy their little treat.
When we would visit my sister and her family 2000+ miles away for Christmas Break when our kids were young, I often spent the last evening going through their cupboards and writing on cereal boxes, for example, or leaving notes where they wind up the grandfather clock, or in between towels. I left dozens of them so that they enjoyed our closeness/bond long after we had left. I tried to gear my comments to the item, like, "Hope there isn't a 'cereal' killer in the neighbourhood!", "Looks fishy to me", or "time to get to work". I've been punny most of my life, but my family bears the brunt of it.

Mary Preston said...

I knit baby booties for my friend to give to all the new bubs born to the Kindie parents. I've been doing this for years now. A while ago I received a note and a photograph. The booties I had made were worn to the baby's Christening. My booties had been blessed in every possible way.

flchen1 said...

That's awesome! Our family's been the blessed beneficiaries of some generous friends with kids older than ours, and after an especially bountiful gifting, our kids made thank you notes, which we delivered with a container of chocolates. Because chocolate can help sweeten almost anything ;)

Thanks for the lovely surprise thank-you ideas, too!

Jennifer Lohmann said...

@MaryPreston:
The baby booties is a wonderful story!

@Laney4:
How nice to get so many wonderful thank-yous

@flchen1
Chocolate is always appreciated :-)

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