Tuesday, March 10, 2015

warm wishes ... anonymously

Written in a small, literate, ornate and somewhat shaky hand, I received an anonymous birthday card yesterday. It was addressed to "Adam Eustis Fisher." No one uses my middle name outside some persnickety governmental agencies. The card's sole identifier -- though what identity I wasn't sure -- grew up around the postmark: "Manchester, N.H." Without a signature, the note said, "Happy Birthday, dear Adam" and signed off  with "An admirer and, ever so briefly, an acquaintance." The picture was a pointillist representation of something called "Breakfast in the Open," a calming and decorous scene in which ladies wear long dresses.

Briefly, I wracked my brain for literate acquaintances who might plug into a New Hampshire post office. It was no use. Equally briefly, I wondered why someone conveying a warm sentiment would want to remain anonymous.

OK, it was a mystery and as birthday presents go, mysteries are pretty nice. But the energy or desire to solve them seems to trickle away with the passage of time.

But what it did make me think of was all of the unnoticed or unidentified ways in which anyone affects the people and events in his or her life. Literally zillions of minuscule gestures or words that are overlooked in the effort to pursue more creative and telling efforts. A raised pinky, a quick wink, a half-smile, a narrowing of the eyes, a poorly-sung song, an unheard whisper ... zillions and zillions of small-potatoes expressions that are forgotten or overlooked because to note each of them would be impossible. And yet, even so, others may find solace or fear or love or sorrow or delight or thanks or anger or who-knows-what-heavy-weight implication or importance.

I guess the best that can be said for all this is, "it can't be helped."


  1. Many faces linger, but few names survive.

  2. Have to say for a 75-year old geezer to still have a secret admirer is real cool. Right, daddy-oh?

  3. The older a guy gets the easier it is to call him a hotty, harmless now. I even get it occasionally, and nobody ever loved me for my looks.

  4. Regarding the envelope, maybe she thought it fitting to name both your parents on your birthday. They both seem to loom large in your ponderings, especially your mother.