Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friendships And Unexpected Gifts -- Just Because

When I went for dinner with my friend on Saturday night, she brought me a little gift -- the letter "J" that you see here. My friend said she had been carrying it around with her since she saw it in a shop window a few months ago, and kept forgetting to give it to me. I'm not a big fan of bling, but I love gifts that are given for no reason -- just because. So I will always treasure my little "J", and I will definitely wear it. Gifts that are given spontaneously are always wonderful, aren't they? They aren't given to us because it's our birthday, or because it's Christmas, but because the person saw something and thought we would like it, so they bought it for us. I had two such gifts this week.

My very special friend sent me a wonderful book about Edward Hopper, one of my favorite artists, from the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa. The book is filled with wonderful paintings, pencil sketches and photographs by Edward Hopper, and there is even a photograph of Edward Hopper himself. The title of the book is "Edward Hopper, Women" and on page 48 there is a painting he has done, entitled "Jo Painting". Edward Hopper and his wife, Jo, used to frequent a chop suey restaurant at Columbus Circle, and they observed the office workers and secretaries who had lunch there every day. Edward Hopper said the restaurants "... must have seemed peaceful oases ... and one imagines the dining rooms filled with the soft tones of quiet conversations between girlfriends." Out of this the wonderful painting "Chop Suey" was born. I had no idea of the history of that painting, my favorite of all of Edward Hopper's work, until I read the book my friend gave me.

Again, I see a certain synchronicity with my two gifts. To an observer, my friend and I having dinner on Saturday night must have seemed similar to the two women in "Chop Suey". We were engrossed in our conversation, and the restaurant felt like a peaceful oasis. And, I'll always treasure my two unexpected gifts and my friends for giving them to me -- just because.


heartinsanfrancisco said...

What goes around comes around, as you know. You give the (unexpected) gift of your friendship to others, and that has been manifested as these tangible gifts that came to you.

Both the book and the necklace are lovely!

jojo said...

*smile* I just love this post!

Meggie said...

I think spontaneous gifts are much more fun, than 'duty' gifts.
A lovely post.

Indian Pundit said...

Gifts that are given spontaneously are always wonderful, aren't they?


Nancy said...

I do see the synchronicity. Meaningful coincidences. The painting is wonderful, and I can see the little "J" being something to cherish. A very sweet gesture by two people who obviously care very much for you!

John said...

You are so right that gifts given spontaneously are wonderful--to me the best kind. Too many people come to EXPECT gifts on their birthday or Christmas. It's the unexpected ones that are so special and definitely treasured.

I googled Edward Hopper's "Jo Painting." It's a great painting, even if it is a lot of hair!

Interesting history of the "Chop Suey" painting!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

What a joy to have friends like these and to have gifts that complement so. It must have been a thrill and a wonderful high.

Anonymous said...

I love spontaneous gifts. Great post :0)

DJan said...

Jo, although I only know you virtually, I know enough about you through your writing that I completely understand why someone would give you something "just because." You give me the gift of your blog for that same reason, just because.

Land of shimp said...

I have a copy of Chop Suey hanging over my mantle, and another of Nighthawks in the living-room, so I'm also a big Hopper fan. Jo, you saw the series Dead Like Me, didn't you? They made some rather wonderful use of Nighthawks in that.

I'm not the biggest fan of jewelry either, but how wonderful of your friend to think of you! It's always nice when we let the people around us know how much they mean to us, and it's always nice to be on the receiving end of one of those gestures.

The Bug said...

Unexpected presents ARE the best! I think I'll get Dr. M something unexpected this week just to make him smile.

Brenda said...

Oh..I LOVE this post! Gift buying can be difficult, and these two gifts you received tell a great story.
My blog seems to have disappeared, so I hope I can still comment on blogs. I am about to find out....

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I love to give gifts to people that I love and when I find that special thing that just makes me think of them I am so happy. Just saying, you must have inspired this same feeling for your friends!

kenju said...

I'd like both of those!! Hopper is my favorite painter; I have a framed poster of one of his iconic paintings (can't remember the name of it) over the head of my bed.

PhilipH said...

Sometimes, quite often actually, something catches my eye in a shop and I'll buy it because I think "X" would like it. "X" is my missus, my kids, my grandkids, and sometimes one of my few, and getting fewer, old friends.

Better to give than receive is true. I get a lift from buying some little thing and sending it to "X", hoping they will like it.

Getting a little something or other, out of the blue, is always a surprise. It being unexpected is the main pleasure, either as a giver or recipient.

Whitney Lee said...

The older I get the more joy I get from giving gifts to others. I have the most trouble getting people to accept 'just because' gifts without feeling the need to reciprocate!

Wolynski said...

Don't like bling either - rattles too much - but this is lovely.

You watch the Twilight movies? Hmm... Never saw one. But I love Harry Potter - does that count?

myletterstoemily said...

a friend like that is worth her
weight in gold.

enjoy the book and bling.


Marguerite said...

Lovely gifts, Jo! And so interesting about the "Chop Suey" painting! I so treasure gifts that have been given in the spirit of friendship. Cajuns call this kind of gift, a suzzy.

Cloudia said...

Lovely Treasures, YOU!

Aloha from Hawaii my Friend

Comfort Spiral

Jo said...

Susan, thank you! My goodness, what a lovely thing to say. :-)

JoJo, I'm glad...! :-)

Meggie, thank you. :-)

IP, well, it is true, isn't it? :-)

Nancy, yes, and I cherish their friendship too. It's lovely when things like that happen, isn't it?

John, yes, the "Jo Painting" is a profile, with lots of hair. :-)

LGS, yes, it made me feel wonderful...!

EternallyDistracted, yes, I felt very special.

DJan, omigoodness...! Thank you. I too feel like a kindred spirit. :-)

Alane, I have "Chop Suey" hanging over my bed as well. And yes, I loved "Dead Like Me". Did you know that was filmed here in Vancouver?

Bug, that sounds like a wonderful idea. Dr. M. would love it. :-)

Brenda, no.....!!!!! How did your blog disappear????

Kathy, gosh, yes, it really was a surprise and made me feel very special.

Kenju, he is one of my favorites too. I have "Chop Suey" hanging over my bed.

Philip, yes, isn't it a nice feeling to buy something for someone, just because? I like doing that too.

Whitney, I'm the same way. I actually prefer giving gifts to getting them. I always hope the recipients like them.

Wolynski, oh, goodness yes. I love the Harry Potter series. They are wonderful.

Lea, I have known my friend for a long time, and our friendship is very special.

Marguerite, a suzzy. I like that. I think I'll borrow it. You Cajuns are great!

Cloudia, thank you! My goodness. And you too...! :-)

Paula Slade said...

"Just because" - so nice!!!