A Legacy of Kindness

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This day, this federal holiday, we set ourselves to remember. We remember those who died serving our country, we visit graves and leave flowers, and we speak of those we loved.

I just returned from a weekend of remembering.

In a small New England church packed to overflowing, we celebrated the life of a remarkable man—my great uncle, Allen Raymond.

So what made him remarkable?

Certainly his civic contributions to Westport and beyond, his tenacious building of the magazine Teaching K-8, raising five thoughtful, creative children, living an open-door life of hospitality. . . .

And then countless, quiet, one-on-one acts of kindness.  I have to tell you about one.

On Sunday, the day after the memorial service,  my first cousin, once removed (that’s a mouthful!) invited us to the cottage on Long Island Sound—my great uncle’s summer home and happy place. John and I pulled into a public lot and said to the parking attendant, “We’re visiting relatives at the cottage of Allen Raymond and wonder where we can park.”

“Allen Raymond? You know Allen Raymond? He is my sweetheart. Just pull around and park here. No charge.”

When John asked how she knew my great uncle, she said simply, “He talked to me. Who talks to a parking attendant? He talked to me.”

As we walked toward the cottage, I prayed silently, “Oh, Lord, always remind me of this day, of my great-uncle. Let me never forget to take the time to notice others and to give the gift of a kind word.”

How thankful I am to have known Allen Raymond and to have celebrated a life well-lived. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God every time I remember you.”