Kindness Day in Bath is on Saturday and that’s got me thinking about those out-of-the-blue random good things that come along every once in a while, and transform your life.

Our boat, for example. It was given to my husband and me last year by a local pastor and his wife who decided they were done with boating. They stuck a free sign on the windshield and docked it at the Kennebec Tavern and Marina, RIGHT under my office window.

There’s a reason I believe in magic.

I noticed FREE BOAT just a week after our second wedding anniversary when, in high spirits, we paid $1,000 for a different boat parked in a driveway on Five Islands Road.

It was old, but the hull was great shape, decking solid, and seats only a little cracked in places. We took the seller at his word that it was ready to run. That’s what two love-struck middle-aged people do when they celebrate not only two years of marriage, but two years of marriage with FIVE KIDS.

Here’s our hard, hope-dashing lesson: Never buy a boat that’s not in the water. Better yet, take her for a good cruise before handing over any cash.

That way if the engine block is cracked, you’ll know that “good deal on an old boat” is just somebody rooking you out of the little bit of money you saved to make a dream come true.

Was it stupid to think we’d just get this vessel off the side of the road, stick it in the water, and motor off into boating bliss? It was our anniversary — an auspicious time — and that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Of course, we were betting on luck and love and good ol’ why not?

So we were super bummed that boat we paid for ended up parked — possibly forever — in our own driveway. Someday, my husband says, it WILL be on the water, and of that I have no doubt. But a year ago, all I knew, was that someday wasn’t the next day, or the day after that, or any measurable kind of soon.

And then …

Right under my window!


In fiction, we’d call that a plot twist. But in life, it’s something more like grace … a blessing that found its way to a couple broken-hearted would-be boaters because someone else was kind enough to let it go at the very moment it could lift us out of our doldrums.

And it not only floats, it also jets across the water parting a glorious wake.

My husband has done extensive work to the free boat over the last year – some of it necessary and some of it just because. It wasn’t ready to get wet until about a month ago, but since then I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve rounded Doubling Point and headed toward Popham, or chased the tide down the New Meadows to Casco Bay.

The folks who gave us the boat didn’t know that just the week before their free sign went up we had a dream that didn’t come true.

Maybe there’s no great alchemy here, but if that’s not some kind of magic, I don’t know what is.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” the old storyteller Aesop tells us. It may come from a fable, but it ain’t no lie.

Kindness Day in Bath (see page 11) will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. I will be making Coastal Journal newspaper boats to give away, wrapping up your heartfelt wishes in their folds. So stop by and say hello.