A columnist of heart and mind

A columnist of heart and mind
Interviewing the animals at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. L-R: Bobo the sheep, Gideon the miniature donkey, me, Tumbleweed Tommy the miniature donkey, Juan the alpaca, Coco the pony

Monday, September 17, 2012

Good News And Happy Endings

(Above: Casey sees her new ornament for the first time as grandma looks on)
OK, folks. Nothing but good news and happy endings today.
First, remember when somebody swiped the Ugly Duckling statue from atop Aesop's Playhouse at Children's Fairyland last June? It's been returned – just as mysteriously as it disappeared in the first place!
"Our baby bird was found yesterday morning, returned to our front gate," Fairyland's executive director, C.J. Hirschfield, emailed me last week. "He/she needs to be touched up and re-installed. The money we received in donations, which wouldn't have been enough for a replacement, will be used for this purpose."
Hirschfield credits media coverage of the ducknapping for the statue's return.
"I truly believe that the perp was shamed into doing the right thing," she says.
Next, we have the Christmas ornaments, which had been lovingly collected over three generations - that were stolen from Brad and Nenelle Bunnin's home in Berkeley.
The police never caught the perpetrator, so the Bunnins' 8-year-old granddaughter, Casey, appealed to a higher authority – Santa Claus.
Sure enough, one of Santa's helpers came to the rescue.
She's Sarah Kidder, proprietress of Sarah Kidder Designs in Oakland. Kidder is an event planner and etiquette instructor who is writing an etiquette book for the 21st Century using examples from James Bond movies.
"When I read what happened to the Bunnins I knew I had to do something," she says.
So she handmade customized ornaments for Brad, Nenelle, and all four of their grandchildren, each one with the recipient's name on it.
I was there when she handed the new ornaments over last month. The Bunnins couldn't have been more thrilled.
Brad joked, "This is going to be the most memorable Christmas since the year I bought a 12-foot tree for an 8-foot room," but I could tell he was moved.
Casey said the ornaments are "awesome," and when you're eight years old there's no higher praise than that.
But I think the person who was happiest of all was Kidder. Doing something nice for somebody else will do that to you.
Speaking of Kidder, let me wish you a happy Return To Sender Day. It's a guilt-free day designated for the safe return of items to their rightful owners.
The idea came to Kidder last spring when she was re-organizing her office and came across a handful of items that she'd attempted to return to friends, but to no avail. Later, she realized she was looking for items that she'd loaned away but never got back.
Thus, RTS Day was born.
"It's a day to help people get up the nerve to have that awkward 'I-know-it's been-three-years-but-could-I-please-have-my-book-back?' conversation," she says. "Friendships can be injured over borrower/lender issues, and RTS Day can help, especially in touchy situations such as the end of a romance."
RTS Day is observed twice a year – March 21, the first day of Spring, and today, the last day of Summer. Kidder has set up a website (sarahkidderdesigns.com) and Facebook page (facebook.com/RTSDay) with downloadable templates of reminders to send your friends, such as "Missing: Deep Fryer. Last seen: Your house. For that BBQ you hosted. You said you'd bring it back Monday. That was nine months ago. I'd like it back on RTS Day."
Shakespeare's Polonius warned, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." But if you must borrow, give it back!

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