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November 5, 2011

Looking Back: The little things people do really do mean a lot

Daily Star

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A sincere smile in passing and I don't even know the person. A door held open for me or just a simple "good morning." Those might seem unimportant, but a little kindness does mean a lot, and best of all it can be contagious.

I never thought I would spend so much time at doctor's appointments, much less a hospital stay now and then. It was during a "then" when another patient, a young girl, befriended me. It's so nice when the younger generation acknowledges us "oldsters" for I can look back and recall that I was sometimes very remiss in doing just that.

Seeing the younger generation having medical problems so early in life is most disturbing.

Our short friendship was enjoyable but she would always ask continually for what time it was. The hours seemed to go by ever so very slowly and especially so when a person wanted to go home.

What a nice thought I had and I just did it. I gave her my watch. Well, you would have thought I gave her the moon. It was just a nondescript, inexpensive item but what I did and how she responded was something never to be forgotten. Kindness and caring brings happiness and a contented spirit.

Contagious? Yes. Shortly after that I had a visitor. (Hospital visiting is greatly appreciated and makes the time pass so pleasantly.) The patient's woes and hurts are lessened for the time being and medical input does say that a positive happy attitude is a plus for healing.

I remember my first watch. It was a gift upon graduating from grammar school the many years ago. Watches back then were somewhat pricey and, hence, there were many watch repair shops that you don't see today.

Very few youngsters my age had watches, but graduation was a milestone for a family and a gift was usually given. Such was my case.

Today there are many inexpensive watches that can be replaced easily and not worth the repair costs, or they simply can't be repaired. I still have that little wind-up in my jewelry box _ a real antique by now, but never worn.

And, yes, I did receive a lovely, new-to-me watch that I wear each day. My visitor heard what I had done and didn't want me to forget the time ... the time we spent in friendship.

Her husband had just recently picked out such a lovely watch for her and she spontaneously just took it off her wrist and handed it to me. I was awestruck, but she was so sincerely persistent and all I could do was express myself with gratitude and a hug.

Twice in my lifetime, I have admired other friend's earrings. They actually took them off and gave them to me. Still to this day I treasure them and each time I wear them I think fondly of that gal, Jeanne.

Where is she today? I don't know and that is sad. I have lost contact with her but those earrings are still with me and each time I wear them I lovingly think of her and the kindness of such a thoughtful act.

Little things do mean a lot and an expression of thoughtfulness and caring doesn't have to be something out of the ordinary. How nice to get a "thinking of you card" in the mail or even a short phone call letting you know that someone cares. Even a message on your phone tape if you weren't at home or a note left in the door is appreciated

There have been flowers, chicken soup and casseroles: Many kindnesses throughout the years and I try to take the initiative to reciprocate.

The "Golden Rule" that many term Matthew 7:12 to be is so applicable and especially so, when read correctly: To "do" and not the negative, "not do."

Yes. The "doing" or giving of expressions of caring brings not only happiness to others but I've always found it to be most gratifying. We do "reap what you sow."

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 78-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at 'Senior Scene' columns can be found at