A handful of contest entries, grabbed at random, leads to comfort for a grieving widow.
Posted in , Nov 28, 2011
Christmas was coming—the busiest time of year for the tree farm my husband, Bob, and I run just outside Tuttle, Oklahoma.
For the past decade, we’d held a drawing every September at the Oklahoma State Fair, collecting people’s names and addresses for their chance to win a six-foot-tall Virginia Pine Christmas tree.
After each drawing, I saved all the entry slips in a canister. I had this plan to mail the entrants flyers around the holidays about our Christmas-tree operation, but I never had time.
This year I was determined to get the project done once and for all.
Names and addresses had piled up over the years and the canister was stuffed. Rather than rewrite all that information, I figured I’d use the slips themselves as mailing labels for envelopes and send out flyers that way. Even so, it was a daunting task.
“I’m never going to get this done,” I moaned to Bob.
“Don’t send them all this year,” Bob said. He reached into the canister and grabbed a handful. “Send these.”
I taped the addresses on and mailed the flyers, hoping they’d impact our business.
Christmas came and business was good, though there was no way to know if it was from the flyers. The following September, Bob and I were manning our booth again at the state fair when a woman approached us.
“I want to thank you,” she said, “for being part of a miracle.”
Miracle? I asked her to explain.
Three years ago, she said, her husband passed away from a heart attack. On the two-and-a-half-year anniversary of his death, she was driving her daughter home from a soccer game. They talked about how much they missed him. They still hadn’t found the peace they needed.
“When we got home, a stack of mail was waiting,” the woman said. “On top was an envelope addressed to my husband—your flyer. Normally, something like that wouldn’t have brought comfort. But the amazing thing about this envelope? The address was in his handwriting! It was like a message of reassurance just when I needed it.”
I thought about all the names, the years I’d put off my mailing, the random handful of slips my husband had grabbed. Our flyer had an impact all right—in a way I never could have planned.
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