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Just Detours
by: A. Brian Fielder, Heartwarmers4u

I have a little story I thought I would share with all of you. I recently relocated, bought a house and moved in the first weekend of July.

Since I have been in my new neighborhood, I have had the pleasure of meeting a few of my neighbors who seem to be extremely nice people. For Christmas, I thought I would do something nice for each of the neighbors that I know. I sat down and counted. There were nine neighbors whom I knew by name or spoke with often when I was out in my yard. I also knew which houses they lived in.

I decided to add one more person to my list for a total of ten. This lady that I decided to add lives down the street from me. I meet her every morning walking to work as I drive down the street. She always manages a contagious smile and a hearty wave. I had no idea what her name was and not even sure which house she lived in.

My gift idea was to make small fruit baskets and leave them on each of my neighbor's front porches or door steps the night of Christmas Eve for them to find, either that night or the next morning. I signed the cards: "Happy Holidays from 5104 Northumberland Road."

I saved the friendly lady for last, since I was still not exactly sure where she lived. I finally decided upon a house down about where I met her each morning and felt relatively sure that it was hers.

My neighbors really appreciated the baskets and would tell me as they saw me in the yard or they would call, and a couple even came by to thank me.

This morning on my way to work, I placed my mail in the mailbox and noticed a small note inside. It was addressed simply -- Resident, 5104 Northumberland Road.

I opened the envelope and took out a Thank You card. I opened the card and read the message which really caught me by surprise.

The card said. "Thank you for the lovely fruit basket you left on the porch of Richard Kelly. It was very thoughtful. Richard Kelly passed away on January 19, 1999. He never stopped talking about how nice it was that someone remembered him in his time of illness. He really appreciated it."

I was sincerely stunned. I had no idea who Richard Kelly was or that he had been gravely ill. I had left that nice lady's basket on Mr. Kelly's porch by accident. I wanted to say by mistake, but that would be wrong. I believe that Richard Kelly was meant to have that basket and the Lord knew that he only had less than a month to live. I hate that the nice lady did not get to receive a fruit basket from me this Christmas, but I believe that if she knew what happened, she would have had outcome no other way.

I feel blessed to have helped Richard Kelly's last days be more cheerful. This just further reinforces my belief that there are never any mistakes in life -- just detours, shortcuts, and small excursions along the way.

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