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Fondness And Favors

Kindness still exists.

Chances are this isn’t ground breaking news for any of our readers. Yet there were two instances most recently which reminded me that people are not just kind, they are giving.

And well ... as the “mommy” who “muses” or so the column states, I thought I’d share a bit.

For those following my antics in the 209 Magazine (Fitness and Beyond column) there’s a piece beyond the writing which must be taken into account each issue – the photos.

Typically speaking, resident photographer and fellow staffer, Virginia Still and I try and brainstorm on photo ideas to accompany my words.

This current issue (February/March) I focus on dating and single life post-divorce. Finding the setting for the photo is equally as important as the props and the subject (aka me). So midway through last month, with deadlines looming I reached out to Angela Garcia of Most Wanted Wine Bar for permission to use their space. I quickly learned via text that a new grand baby was on the way, so she and husband Mark were out of the area. Yet, in the same text she was gracious and welcoming as she shared she would let the staff know to expect us and “make yourself at home.”

And that … we did, using every bit of their beautiful space from inside to the outdoors. The setting proved not to disappoint and the staff was amazingly accommodating and mindful as we rotated around the venue.

These are the moments our readers don’t get to see on the printed page. The selflessness of a business owner, no expectations from us other than appreciating the space which they have created.

Fast forward to last weekend and a quick trip to Texas, to celebrate the 50th birthday of a longtime friend of my guy. By quick, I mean, we flew in Friday early afternoon and home Sunday morning. Fully prepared to book a hotel room and rent a car, that’s what you do when you travel, right?

Not so fast.

As my guy reached out, inquired via text the best hotels via proximity and accommodations, a somewhat unexpected offer found its way back. Apparently a friend of the birthday boy’s mother was headed out of town on a cruise and wondered if we’d like to stay in her home. Each of us being open to making life as easy as possible, we replied “that’d be great.”

So Friday afternoon, shortly after arriving in Pasadena, Texas we were taken to the home of Lou Ann. It’s important to note here, how both interested and guilty we felt as we spent more time in her home. After all, we had not met this lady. We don’t even know what she looks like. What we knew was she was a dear friend to Jimmy’s mom and girlfriend. Her home was located within a short distance of everyone’s home and it was more than we truly needed, yet we were grateful.

Saturday, following lunch as we began getting ready for the big birthday bash, I couldn’t help but notice the little things Lou Ann had done for us (two complete strangers). Both bathrooms stocked with soaps still in the boxes, extra toilet paper, and toiletries, coffee left out in plain sight by the coffeemaker. You name it; we had it – even an extra blow dryer left out “just in case.”

That night I shared with my guy the sadness I felt in not getting to meet this incredibly gracious and thoughtful lady. I also shared the inspiration for this column – there are still good, thoughtful people in this world and how lucky are we to benefit from such.

So what’s the point of this really? I guess it’s quite simple; you just never know when your kindness will touch the heart of another. Both of these instances touched mine. Neither of these women doing anything other than living true to who they are and therein lies the lesson.

Sometimes (most times) it’s not about the big splashy check written for a non-profit or the elaborate news story highlighting a celebrity’s selflessness. Kindness, grace, selflessness surround us and when we’re truly present we have a unique opportunity to not just see it, but perhaps even pay it forward. Just can’t get much better than that.



Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.