The Spirit of Giving Is Catchy in Dover

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Even Gumby gives. Susan Dromey Heeter photo at Dover High program.

By Susan Dromey Heeter

It’s lovely to give. It’s joyful to know that in some small way we can contribute to this moment, today, our world.

So, as I muse joyfully on generosity, I celebrate the gift of giving, of sharing, of knowing we have more than enough.

Today I watched as students and staff counted canned goods collected during the Dover High Spirit Week.  There were thousands upon thousands of packages of Ramen noodles, pasta, jars of peanut butter, cans of peas and string beans, boxes of cereal.

Susan Dromey Heeter

And the enthusiasm was palpable, the energy of giving charged the air.  It was lovely to witness, to hear the numbers announced of items counted, “50, 75, 85, 100…”

Counters even resorted to multiplication, “What’s 24 x 6?” And my colleague, Johnny, responded, “Don’t ask the Spanish teachers, we cannot do math.”

But all could count. And giving counts – even in little bits.  I thought of the box of cereal that might delight a hungry child, the box of Ramen noodles that would fill an empty stomach.

Last night I ran into a friend who’d just eaten at the Dover Soup Kitchen. He told me of his meal of meat loaf and potatoes and patted his stomach. “I’m so full,” he smiled.  And I thought of those who brought him that meal, honored him with food, allowed him to feel full and healthy and put his energy to good.

At that moment, my friend gave back that which he received, a conversation, a smile.

Students at Dover High Spirit Week

Giving does not have to be much – it can be a prayer, the holding of a door, the letting in of someone in traffic.

Years ago, when I commented on a lovely tin cup a man was holding at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, he said, “Here, take it.”

I use that cup every day to scoop up the kibble for my dog. And every day I think of that man simply saying, ‘Here, take it.”  I send him prayers and undoubtedly this guy who I’ve never seen again has no idea how much his little act of generosity meant.

A tin cup, a small gesture, a kindness.

So, today, I’m going to try to give more and take less. Why? It’s joyful and feels good. Thank you Dover High students for letting me muse joyfully on the goodness of giving, whether it’s canned goods, a good meal or a tin cup.

Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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