Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm in love...

...with Cokeville. I may never leave.

This morning Amelia and I were just headed out to walk to the Post Office. (US Mail doesn't get delivered to your house here; everything goes to your P.O. Box. Amelia and I walk the two blocks into town to check the mail most days since she is begging to go for a walk the minute she gets out of bed every morning.) I saw a truck pull up to the house and I knew Dan was sleeping and it would be hard for him to get up to answer the door. So we hurried back to talk to our visitor.

The man introduced himself and I recognized his name as someone who had been recommended as a handyman that might be able to help us get our wood stove installed and help with other chores around the house since Dan was hurt. I assumed that Dan had called him and he was there to look at the wood stove.

I was completely flabbergasted when he handed me a check for several hundred dollars and said, "I figured you guys would be needing some money right about now." At first I was confused, thinking it was a check I was supposed to hand on to our landlord for something and then it dawned on me that the money was for us. This complete stranger who didn't know us from Adam, who had just heard about Dan's accident around town, was giving us money just because it felt like the right thing to do. He said, "I've just been thinking about you guys for the last couple of days and I felt real strongly that I should help."

There are no words for the feeling that came over me, this feeling of "this town, these people are amazing." You would never get this in the city.

You hear stories about stuff like this, but nothing like this has ever happened to me. I was stunned and said something stupid about us being fine financially because Dan could work from home still and we had some savings. I asked him if Dan had called him about the wood stove and he said no. I said, "well, we could sure use some help with that. But we're OK financially and I'd rather you saved this money for someone who really needs it." I asked him some questions about the stove and awkwardly gave him the check back.

For the first couple of hours after he left I was on this euphoric high, totally jazzed by the genuine kindness and charity for a complete stranger. Then the more I thought about it, the more I started thinking that I might have hurt his feelings or come across as ungrateful by not accepting the money. I don't think it was necessarily pride that kept me from accepting. Two years ago we were in a financial situation where we would have desperately needed that money and I remember that feeling. I was thinking that the money would be better given to someone who needed it more than we did. But the more I thought about it and talked to Dan about it, the more I thought, "Yes, we could use his help in the form of time, but maybe right now he has more money than time to give, and I totally spurned him." I felt horrible.

So this evening I went to his house and apologized for my reaction. I explained that no one had ever done anything like that for me before and that I was just dumbfounded by the whole thing. I was a little teary-eyed as I explained that I didn't want to come across as ungrateful. I said, "If you have time to help us at the house, that would be great, but if the money is what you'd like to do for us, we'd be very grateful to have it." He went and got the check and gave it back to me. He and his wife explained that after they'd been to Stake Conference this past Sunday, he felt strongly impressed to offer us some help. He talked about living in a small town and how everyone helps each other out and supports one another.

I am overwhelmed and grateful. I told Lily about it tonight as I was putting the girls to bed and I said, "That is exactly the kind of thing Jesus would do."

All of you who are praying for us, God is answering. Thanks and we love you!


Spymommy said...

I'm in my pajamas, crying over your post and very, very grateful for that kind man and what he did. We all need to be more like him. Really. Thanks Sue.

ps. I'd love your new home address so I can send a card to Dan at your "PO Box". :)

Nathansma said...

America...a wonderful place with wonderful people!

Manina said...

There is definitely something special about small towns that you can't get any place else. There are many days I wish I lived back in my tiny hometown in Alaska where everyone knew everyone and things were...just simple.

Anonymous said...

Holy toledo! What an awesome place to live! Cokeville, not Toledo!! Hee hee... Hey maybe you should let your husband play with chainsaws more often!!

Pilch Construction said...

Wow. What an incredible story. Thanks for sharing it and giving me a little more faith in humanity. Oh, could you e-mail your p.o. box too? We have a little something for Dan.

Sue said...

Our address is:
P.O. Box 67
Cokeville, WY 83114

If you are shipping anything besides US Postal (like UPS or FedEx) then you need to use the physical address:
130 First North St.
Cokeville, WY 83114]

Thanks, guys!

Becky in Wyo said...

I'm so glad you were able to talk to that man, and find a better conclusion for your feelings. Accepting help can be hard, for so many reasons, but it's nice to find that connection to other people that can be missing so much in our modern lives.

Mom2BJM(Amy) said...

What an awesome thing! I think it was also very thoughtful of you to go back and apologize to him..I don't know that I would have thought of that..

Neat also that it's small enough to WALK to the post office!

The Queen Vee said...

Sue, trust me, the man who so generously gave you a donation is receiving more blessings than you are getting from his gift. I'm really happy that you didn't deny him those blessings.

Thanks for your snail mail addresses, now if I only had your email address, remember we lost a hard drive a month ago.

Hollyween said...

Whoa. I miss blogging for a few days and look what happens! I can't believe what you guys have been through. Your family will definitely be in our prayers. I had to bring my hubby over to show him those ghastly pictures. Man!!!

Speaking from experience of tragedy and wounded legs:

As you may or may not know, my husband John had cancer removed from his left leg and had his lymph nodes from that area stripped with a hole drilled in for the drain and a 9 inch incision to remove the lymph nodes int he groin and a 6 inch one to remove the cancer. Granted, his situation is definitely different and his cut more 'clean' per se, but I get the immortality thing. He still struggles with the pains in his legs, but we're so grateful that he's okay and the cancer is gone that we don't even care. I say 'we' because it affects ME too. Even though HE is definitely the one who deals with it more.
Anyway, I feel your pain. Taking care of a husband who's 'down and out of commission' for a while really put things into perspective for me. You'll be amazed at how your relationship will be closer than EVER. It's amazing.

If there's anything I can do, let me know.

I'm still dying over those pictures. Whoa.

Sue said...

My email address is:

Amy (I think)-
It's great to have a new reader. I have some good ranch pictures to post so you can get all nostalgic for Wyoming...

Hollyween said...

p.s. I love your header. I'm looking for a new one. I'm sort of sick of the whole look of my blog.

The Donnells said...

I love two things 1) that there are people out there, who, without even knowing you will help you in anyway they can and 2) that your little town is so small your PO number is only double digits, mine is like six.
Hope the whole family is doing well and we send our prayers and love your way.