Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: Small Packages & Good Things


As 2019 comes to a close, I thought this would be an excellent time to wrap up a few loose ends — or, rather, unwrap a few small packages and share the good things inside.

Small Package #1:

In April 2018, before I left my nursery job in a local box store, I purchased a small vanda orchid. Vandas are incredibly beautiful plants. Flowers are large and plentiful, and the roots hang down from the pot openings in long strands, absorbing moisture from the air. Normally, when these orchids are sold fully grown and in full bloom, they can cost as much as $30 — and that’s on the low end.

It’s always been my gardening opinion to not purchase expensive plants, and to never purchase plants in bloom. Personally, I’d rather have a plant that hasn’t been forced into bloom so that I can enjoy the flowers for a longer period of time.

Such was the case with my vanda, a large purple and white speckled variety. I noticed it on an endcap in the garden center, part of  a display of various orchids packaged in small bags made of netting. These are younger plants, grown from award-winning stock, and all that’s needed is time, patience, and about $11.

The plant, though, never seemed to get any larger and I was surprised to see it send up a flower spike. Maybe, I thought, this is what they do. Eventually, the flower buds opened — and the flowers, although lovely, looked nothing like the original package. They were red and they were small. Very small.

Although, I no longer had the receipt, I reached out to the company, Better-Gro, on Facebook. I shared photos of the original packaging, which I had saved, and of the flowers that bloomed. In a true testament to their excellent customer service, they quickly responded with an apology

Good Thing #1:

Within two days, a small package arrived. Inside was a replacement plant that was my original intended purchase, and one which I am now showering with time and patience.

Small Package #2:

At about the same time, another package arrived in the mail. It was from a former colleague of mine, Diana Marik, an English teacher who is now living her retirement as a paranormal romance writer.

Good Thing #2:

I opened the package and there was the most recent addition to her Seven Deadly Veils series, Veil of Orion, a story of enduring love and the forces trying to tear it apart. There was also a note.

Hello Kevin,

 This is a surprise, I’m sure… In this trying world a spark of joy is here. Since I’ve already dedicated the first six books to close friends and family, I decided to dedicate this book to you.

When we had worked together, we were both independently thinking — dreaming — of writing a book. At the time, I was playing around with the idea of compiling blog posts and photos into a book format, which eventually became Seeing Green. I had heard through the school grapevine that Diana was also exploring writing.

One day, I visited Diana while she was on hall duty and we had our first book-writing conversation. We spoke of the stresses and time, genres and the possibility of self-publishing. At some point, I mentioned that I had registered for a self-publishing conference in NYC and I gave Diana the information. We met in the city that day, attended various workshops, and shared what each of us had learned.

I never forgot the simple act of kindness of informing me about the Self-Pub Expo in Manhattan and pretty much holding my hand when I was so nervous about discovering this ever-changing, crazy world of publishing.

 Isn’t it amazing how simple acts have such a profound rippling effect even when we’re unaware of it?

Amazing, indeed. Uncharacteristically, I found myself at a loss for words. I was touched, honored, humbled, flattered — and none of these words can truly capture the feeling. It was amazing.

Small Package #3:

Joe and I stopped sending paper Christmas cards years ago. As much as we love the idea of sending holiday messages to friends and family, there was something — whether it was the number of trees needed to produce the paper or the money for the cards and the postage, and then to have all of it tossed out at the end of the season… It all seemed wasteful and especially unnecessary in this digital age.

We did, though, have so many peoples’ emails, Facebook contact info, and cell phone numbers. For us, it made better sense to make our own digital card and send it to everyone — and they could print it or delete it. Either way, they would know they were in our thoughts.

Good Thing #3:

So, from Joe and me to all of you:

10 thoughts on “Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: Small Packages & Good Things

  1. I really enjoy your blog and I too send Christmas Cards over the internet. I’m not experienced at making a card so I use Blue mountain cards. I love getting cards but most get thrown after the first of the new year too.
    Love the orchid even it is as not the one you bought!!! Nice customer service!!!!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • Hi Karen. It was a big step when we decided to go digital. For years, I had done a newsletter that was like a small magazine with movie and restaurant reviews, puzzles, funny updates, and an advice column from the dog. That became too much — hundreds of readers! Then we went to cards, and the mailing list became smaller. Finally, we made the decision to go digital. Some people love to get a hand-written card, so I’ll make a holiday phone call instead. Digital has been easier — and much less wasteful. I’m glad you enjoy the blog — and have a beautiful holiday season. Happy 2020!

  2. Your “publishing talk” is not lost on me. Success breeds success — you’re both rising stars!

    Hmmmm. I’m thinking that you both were AWOL on the same day. Hmmmm… 😂

    Enjoy the holidays, Kevin and Joe! 29 here tomorrow. Count your blessings!
    ♥️ —K

  3. You have had a nice variety of recent “good things,” Kevin. How nice to take note as another year winds down. And I think digital cards are a great idea. I like to receive them, so it’s funny that I haven’t followed suit. All the best of holiday wishes to you and Joe, Kevin. 😊

  4. Back atcha! And your hallway conversation is what a TED talk called a “lollipop moment.” If you haven’t heard the term, it’s essentially a small moment for one person, that they likely forget quickly, that is large and makes a great impact on another.

    • HI PD. I will have to check that out. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a former student years after he graduated. He asked me if I could remember when I had first met him. I had an idea that it was during a school field trip. He was by himself and I simply said “good morning” or “how’s it going?” He, on the other hand, had committed all of the details to memory. The moral of the story — you never know how much a lollipop means to a person. 🙂

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