Sowing Seeds…of Friendship

When grocery shopping, I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing in my “green” shopping bags.  I originally started using reusable ones when I first joined the Sisterhood, earning  my first Merit badge by collecting the bags to go green. Easier to carry  groceries in, the bags act as coupons as well, as the store deducts five cents off my total for each one.  I’d amassed a collection of about twenty the past year.  Most of them were “freebies” I received with purchases, or that I had paid a dollar or two for; none were homemade or that pretty.  Imagine my surprise several weeks ago when someone stole them!  What happened afterwards, surprised me even more.

I had brought the bags food shopping with me as usual.  I always open the largest bag and tuck the rest inside.  I turned around to look at something and when I turned back to my cart, they were gone!  What a petty thing for someone to do.  Now, thankfully it wasn’t my purse.  I would’ve shared them with the person, had they said they needed them!   I always like to believe that, despite what we see in the media, people are still mostly good. But this act, while not earth-shattering, made me feel violated and irritated. It bothered me even more the next time I went shopping and I ended up with a sea of plastic bags.  Needing to vent, I wrote about it in a post on the Farmgirl Connection.  Feeling better, I didn’t think too much more about it, until other farmgirls answered, sharing stories, feeling badly for me, and asking to replace my bags!

One day, a package arrived, wrapped “farmgirl style”.  What a brightener in the mailbox!  It was from Joey, a farmgirl from Florida, who wanted to share with me her shopping bags.  There was a card inside, written as if from an old friend.  The package arrived on a Monday, a day which had not been the best. Then another pretty package  came in the mail with a bag, but I’m not sure who from!  Still, just this week, another package arrived, again from a farmgirl.  This one was from Kathy, a farmgirl  I’ve never met in person, but who was my “Yearlong Secret Santa” in a “swap” last year.  She’s a dear, also enclosing a sweet card.

I lost a bunch of non-valuable, replaceable bags, but gained so much more.  There’s still good in the world, and friends are so important. It’s a lesson which the farmgirls have taught me yet again.  The Farmgirl Connection Chatroom makes our big world so much smaller and cozier.

Then, last weekend, while running around doing ten things at once, I received a phone call from my next door neighbor.  When I answered, she said, “I just wanted to tell you how great it is to have you as a neighbor, and that I miss you.  Just want to say “hi”.”  What a nice thing to hear!  Julie and I have been friends for many, many years.  We’ve relied on each other for help with this or that more times than I can count.  We used to make a point of getting together often.  These days, we’re both so busy, I can’t remember when we got together last.  She told me she thought about me a lot, that she means to call, but time just gets away…something we all can attest to.  I’m guilty of that, even though I have the best intentions.  I need to tell my friends I think of them, too.

My friend Betty had a birthday a few months ago.  I love homemade cards, but I found one in a store that I had to get her.  On the front, was a picture of two women from the 1940’s, smiling together.  It read, “And could I have one wish this year, this only would it be.  I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me.” – Edgar Guest

So dear readers, I hope today you are inspired to not let another day go by… call a friend, someone you “keep meaning to call”, or drop a surprise “thinking of you” note in the mailbox. Take the time. When you sow seeds of friendship, you cultivate a garden of happiness!

Suburban Farmgirl Tip:  Tie a plastic store, bread, or produce bag onto the leash of your dog before you take a walk.  It’s there if you need to “curb” after your dog, or if you see trash in the road that needs to be picked up.

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  1. Joan says:

    Oh my goodness my sister and I can relate to your reusable bags – we had gone shopping – she had the bags in her cart – she too turned to look at something – turned around and GONE were the bags – thankfully years ago we learned to attach our purse either by the child restraint strap or by a quick click clip – so her purse was not taken. We too would have shared if the person had just asked – we don’t always shop where one gets money for using the reusables – so it wasn’t like they were worth anything at that store. Anyway now we attach our bags as we do our purses. Also thanks for the reminder to be a FRIEND – I’m getting into making more cards and I will for sure use the verse you found on a card. Thank you ‘friend’ you joyed my week.

    Joan, Thank you so much for reading!  Wow – you had your bags stolen, too!  Just never know what is going on in someone’s life to make them do what they do.   I love to make homemade cards, too.  Isn’t that just such a lovely verse? -Nicole

  2. shawna says:

    This is such a heartening story! Thank you for sharing it. I am going to make sure all my friends know how much I appreciate them this week!

  3. Diana says:

    I, too had bags stolen out of my grocery cart. Luckily, they only took half. I thought, at least they won’t be using those icky plastic bags!

  4. Joy Howard says:

    Today, my youngest daughter and two young women from work and I went out to lunch. Afterwards, we sat in rocking chairs outside the restaurant and just talked. I was thinking to myself that everyone is always so busy that we don’t just sit and talk with each other enough. I’m in my fifties but these young women are all just starting out. So I told them that I’m going to invite them over just to sit on my porch for lemonade, cookies and rocking.

    Joy, isn’t it so true?  If you lived in Connecticut, I’d come!  I love to sit on my porch with ice tea or lemonade and cookies, rocking!  Such a simple joy!  -Nicole

  5. Tauna says:

    Those plastic bags can be valuable…lol. I have made rugs, or better yet, large bags that are wonderful for carrying wet bathing suits or other things. Durable, strong, washable, but it takes many of them to make one item. Bet that is why you lost yours to someone…..now that is recycling at its best…:)..Tauna

  6. Amy says:

    Great post, Nicole! And I’m glad that the farmgirls all pulled through for you. :) Friends are fabulous and its so nice to see the farmgirl connection helping like minded ladies connect!!

  7. Rose says:

    Sorry about your bags getting taken! I have some favorite bags I used all the time when I go shopping. I will keep a close eye on them in my cart. I will send you some more animal related ones. Thanks for the column. Thanks for keeping in touch even if it is a quick text message.
    Miss you! Rose

    -Miss you, too, Rose!  Hugs!  -Nicole

  8. jennifer says:

    It is truly amazing- both the badness of people in the world in general and yet the goodness of a few can truly turn around the bad feelings and help us to put on our "thinking caps" and learn from it. I was sorting out a bunch of things that were passed on to me and found a couple nice bags-one canvas and another leather-like. I decided that I would use the leather like one to store my shopping bags in and when I go to the store, toss in my small purse and just carry the whole thing as my purse (attaching it to the buggy of course!. Perhaps it won’t be so obvious until after I get to my turn at the check out line. I too often try to think that if I loose something in a public place, the person who found it and kept it must have needed it much worse than I did. It helps the frustration levels to go down considerably!!!

    Jennifer, thanks for reading.  I believe there is still so much more good in the world than bad.  It’s hard times that bring out the worst in people, but also bring out the best.  -Nicole

  9. charles lagroue says:

    Nicole you hit it again always true and interesting.Dad

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Since you’re a knitter, here’s a way to turn lemons into lemonade: Take your plastic (ugh) bags, cut them into strips and make ‘plarn’ by joining the loops together (the way you’d join two rubber bands together), then knit (there are also crocheted bags) the ‘plarn’ into re-usable bags. Here’s a website that has instructions: Vhttp://www.allfreecrafts.com/knitting/bag.shtml

    Elizabeth, what a great way to use up those bags!  Love it!  Thanks for sharing!  Will try it.  -Nicole

  11. Pam says:

    This was such an inspirational story, I quickly sent 5 emails (sorry, at work) to friends that I think of and just don’t get to tell them … thanks!

  12. Rangle says:

    The forum is a brighter place thanks to your posts. Thanks!

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