A lovely legacy

Here’s to all those who chose to stock up on our cards these past three weeks when we were donating half the income to the humanitarian aid organization, Direct Relief. Collectively, we proved small but mighty — in 124 Cardies’ names, $3,130 was contributed to Harvey and Irma efforts. Now, given the magnitude of sad devastation in Puerto Rico, let’s keep going … the proceeds from your card purchases until October 15th will now also go to Direct Relief.

I’d like to tell you a sweet story closer to home. If you follow Cardthartic, you know that I avoided Irma by leaving my home office on Miami Beach for our corporate apartment and offices in central Illinois. Well, while there, I was invited to the home of one of my favorite Cardies, Nancy McGinn, whose great husband, Jim, dazzled us with pan-seared salmon and rosemary rice. I arrived just before the grandkids headed home from a weekend stay and, boy, wait ‘til you hear what they did and had to say.

Brooke, 8, and her brother, Pacey, 6, had strategically placed a lemonade stand next to the golf course while a tournament was in play that day, and raised $10. While Brooke felt she needed to keep $3 for her college fund, I was asked to take $7 back to Miami to deliver, “To someone who could use a boost after Irma.” Both kids had made cards to tuck their monies in, and Grandma Nanc had a Passages card ready for her own crisp $100 bill. The kids had wisely addressed the envelope,“To Sumbutee,” until the right submbutee’s name was known. It didn’t take me long to suggest, “Hugo Caproni!” Originally from Argentina, Hugo maintains our sweet, little old building on da beach — one of the few former tiny motels still standing, with the Four Seasons, Marriott and Ritz Carlton trying hard to crowd her out.

I shared with the McGinns that, while I was packing for my escape, Hugo had been securing the building and bringing in a generator to use after Irma hit. As we said goodbye, I’d pulled out the $100 bill I had in the secret compartment of my wallet and told him, “My mom always said to keep some ‘mad money’ and, Hugo, staying here seems absolutely mad to me!” He laughed and said, “I’ll watch your place, and be fine.” So when I suggested him to Nanc & Co., they promptly changed that Sumbutee to Hugo, and wrote in Nancy’s card, “Thank you for keeping Jodee and her good dog Josephine’s home safe!”

Hugo opened the McGinn’s cards yesterday and, after wiping away a little tear that I suspect no one was supposed to see, he waved the cards around and said, “I will keep these forever. Truly. Because these cards say that the people who sent them know how hard I work and that they appreciate me.” And then he had me film a little video to send to the kids saying, “You can always count on Jodee’s place, and Ana’s downstairs, too, being safe with me. I’m more than the maintenance man around here … we’re all like family!”

I emailed Hugo’s video to our CAO, Ana Behm, who is traveling. She’s the Ana that Hugo mentioned lives downstairs. She wrote back, “Aww! Now I’m crying. So sweet of Nancy and her grandkids. She blesses them with how she lives her life, and they bless her with their love. What a lovely legacy!”  Yes, may we all follow her lead.
~ jodee stevens
founder & chief creative officer

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