My readers are far too kind.
I've written Night Owl Cards for 12 years and I've received so many incredible gifts over the years, some of the greatest cards ever made and various other crazy memorabilia. All of these have come to me simply because I write words that some people enjoy. There are no expectations on the other end, other than that I keep writing. They are simple thank yous, attached to significant cardboard.
I consider it a great honor. I never expected any of this.
We are operating in weird times. People have become too defensive, less trusting, more apt to look out for No. 1. It's taken a pandemic to take the edge off of some folks' hardened exteriors and place the focus on the importance of caring for others.
I've been the recent beneficiary of that pandemic mind-set a few times just on this blog and I have two specific examples based on envelopes I received on the same day.
The first is from Rod of Padrographs. You know him as deliverer of free cards and creator of customs. I know him for that, too. But I also know him for the signed autograph card of Gorman Thomas he sent me, his help on my completion of the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards, the posters in my card room of Ron Cey in a tux and a selection of owls, and a volleyball signed by Duke Snider. Oh, and the birthday card he got Cey to sign and send last year.
That's the kind of guy he is.
Recently, he mentioned on his blog that his wife was making facemasks. I had been in need of a mask for several weeks, because the makeshift thing I had was not comfortable and it seemed every time someone around here was making masks, all of the patterns were frilly girly stuff, because dudes don't need to breath, I guess. Then there'd be mask giveaways. Giveaway time: 8-10 a.m. Well, that doesn't exactly help a night owl, does it?
I casually mentioned I was in need of a suitable mask and that was all Rod needed. An appropriate homemade mask arrived in the mail not long afterward.
Seriously, this is how I should go out and about for the rest of time. Baseball head to toe.
On to the second envelope that arrived that day.
This was from Jonathan, who has sent me many nice cards over the last couple of years, much of them vintage. He doesn't request anything in return most times. He simply says he enjoys my writing.
Jonathan lives in Tennessee. He's been trying to complete the 1967 Topps set and it's been slow-going on ebay because -- shoo-buddy -- those cards do not come easily for collectors with average salaries. So he's been casting his ebay net and as happens sometimes, he ended up with a few doubles that way.
He knew he could send the cards to me. But he had to wait a little bit.
A tornado destroyed his house.
I can't imagine. Since April 12, Jonathan has spent his pandemic days dealing with insurance companies and post offices, finding a suitable place to live for his young family and, oh by the way, he finds a moment to write me a letter and send me some cards!
Those are the 1967 Topps extras that he sent, both semi-high numbers and both welcome additions to my binder.
But those weren't the only cards Jonathan sent. He also won a few 1977 Topps football cards, a set I happen to be trying to complete. The Roger Staubach card above helped me remove that card from my COMC cart.
The others were almost as notable:
That Fouts with the wood-paneled station wagon is a classic. That's my childhood right there, summed up in a single trading card.
Jonathan still wasn't done.
This is a fine, fine-looking 1956 Topps set need. Gonna start getting serious about those '56 toughies before the year is out.
And, you guys, these are two 1963 Post cards of 1963 Dodgers superstars!
That is some generosity.
All done in the aftermath of a tornado.
Jonathan said that he was fortunate in that amid all of the damage to the house, the vast majority of his card collection survived untouched. He added about my blog:
"Reading it has become one of the few times of the day when my mind is off all our issues and I can relax."
I've heard that before. I'm appreciative every time. But this, this ...
I'll be thinking about this for awhile. I am humbled.
Both Rod and Jonathan have mentioned a couple of times that they feel like they know me from my writings. I'm glad I come across that way. I'm a little better interacting in writing than I am in person but I'm basically the same individual in each case.
Life is tough, aggravating, scary and draining. Sometimes it's relentless and overwhelming. But when you have like-minded collectors and a few pieces of cardboard to look forward to every day, it's easier to get through the day.
So, I guess what I'm saying is Rod and Jonathan and everyone else who has sent me "whoa, what is THIS" packages aren't being "too kind."
They're being "just the right kind of kind."