My wife is in inveterate puzzle player and does them in every newspaper she finds. At this point she has not gotten into pens so the good old wooden yellow Number 2 soft pencil is her weapon of choice. She was wearing the ones we brought to the nub at Shadow Ridge and asked a front desk associate if she had a pencil sharpener, or failing that, a pencil she could buy or have? Elizabeth, one of the front desk associates, looked sadly at my wife, and said, "My Mom, who just passed away, was also a puzzle fanatic. I'll bring you some of her's tomorrow. In any event let me check in the back for a sharpener."
None were to be had and no pencils were found to buy or to borrow--must be a fading item like upgrades I thought to myself.
Today, Elizabeth gave my wife the pencil in the photo, and as you can see it was never used. Her eyes glistening, she gave it to my wife with a flourish, saying, "Mom would be proud to know that the pencil was being put to good use, like she would have doing her crossword puzzle."
Was this an instance of tremendous importance? Not really, but it is the smallest of gestures that make a stay a memorable one. That is what service is, a host of small kindnesses that are at once unexpected and welcomed.
Thank you Elizabeth, for everything, but not the least, your Mom's pencil.