The Ugly Green Thing
"The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident."
- Charles Lamb
I bought "the ugly green thing" at a rummage sale for 50 cents in the early '90s. It looked like a pea-green house that some kid made out of plaster at Brownie Camp. I presented it to my brother Joe foe his birthday. Five weeks later, he sent it to me for my birthday. Six months later, I hid it in the linen closet in his Kentucky home. A year later, I found it at the bottom of the woodpile in my Milwaukee home. The object went back and forth for years.
Once, Joe filled it with cement so it would be prohibitively expensive for me to mail it back to him. I once decorated it with a picture of Joe in front, complete with a goofy hat and teeth. We've added sayings, stickers, and each other's addresses over the years. When I was a struggling single parent, my finances were tight, and times were tough; every time I found the ugly green thing, however, I'd laugh for days, then giggle my way through figuring out a devilish way to get it back to Joe.
I once wrapped the object in freezer paper and put it at the bottom of the freezer chest in Joe's garage. A couple of years passed before he found it that time. Another time-while he and his wife were vising me - I carefully hid the beast at the bottom of a huge tool chest in the back of his truck. The next morning they left to drive back to Kentucky, and I was quite sad. My spirits were lifted an hour later, however, when I stepped outside. There on the bench next to my front door sat the ugly green thing. Untold hours of laughter and storytelling have flowed from the green creature that just keeps on giving.
TODAY I WILL DO A GOOD ACTION BY STEALTH. IT WILL BRING JOY INTO THE RECIPIENT'S LIFE AS WELL AS MY OWN.