A few weeks ago I wrote a column about simple acts of kindness - about how opening your heart to another can prove an enriching experience that often gets repaid tenfold.
I invited readers to submit their own heartwarming stories of kindness. I received quite a few, but here are a sampling of my favorites:
A Christmas miracle
Lillian from Warrensburg wrote:
When I was a little girl living in Weavertown in the 1930s, we had barely enough money for food. It was the height of the Great Depression and as winter approached we had no idea how we were going to heat our home for the winter. As Christmas neared, we were in a very bad way. My father had been seriously injured working in the woods and my mother had no choice but to tear boards off our chicken coop and the side of our home to burn in the woodstove for heat. A very proud man, my father was not one to ask for handouts, even though there was no way he could provide for me and my three younger brothers. Most days he could barely get out of bed.
On Christmas Eve, my elderly next-door neighbor saw me sitting on our porch and asked me what I had asked for for Christmas. I told him all I wanted was for my family to be warm and have something to eat. He said he understood. He was in as bad shape as our family and said he hadn't had a real meal in days.
The next morning when I woke up it was Christmas. We had no presents. Didn't expect them like kids these days. But when I opened the front door to help Mom peel some more boards for heat, I saw a strange sight in our front yard. To my disbelief, there stood a huge pile of split firewood. On the porch was a burlap sack containing a smoked ham. On it there was a note that read simply "To Lilli, from Santa."