Paper Clips: July 2022

by Elaine Corrington

July 2022

Little Surprises Bring Great Fun in Hurleyville!

It has always been fun knowing people who enjoy bringing surprises to other people.

One of the nice things about living in Hurleyville is that those surprises do not have to be announced, put into a parade, or even found out about in a short time. They certainly don’t need to be hurtful or misunderstood; and they certainly can be passed on to someone else without any notification at all.

The best joy comes from secret loving, or happy or mysterious items that are secretly made and placed for a person to find. The finder can be well-known to you, or a complete stranger. Once found, the surprise can be re-hidden or replaced with yet another surprise.

Do you know someone who needs a smile, or looks like they are questioning what wonder they have found, and is possibly inspired to move things around a bit and surprise you with a more attractive or simply changed effect on your tired brain?  Do you know someone who needs a belly laugh or an unexpected opportunity for wild physical exercise? Are you a kid, a teenager, an adult, or a senior citizen that would like to have a secret laugh and pretend you just don’t know what the finder is talking about? Is it a great treat to be able to make a joyful piece of “art” even though you are by no means an artist? Do you keep spotting a little something that needs change that will be welcomed?

There is an easy way to do this- and not only for adults! Kids love to do this, too.  Put out some rocks and acrylic paints and paint a little rock with an animal, or heart, or flower, or punctuation mark- anything fun. Hide it where it can be seen, but not noticed too soon- you don’t want anyone to know where it came from!  Let the finder display it or hide it for a new finder. Plant an unexpected flower. Use chalk to make a hopscotch or target game on a sidewalk (if you look outside later you may see heads jumping up and down.)

Sometimes you may see an older yard decoration or piece of furniture way past its prime, but still useful. In that case, you might want to talk to the owner and agree on making fun changes that others can enjoy, even if they didn’t see it happening, and the old becomes new again! This is what happened to me. My next-door neighbor’s child, Charly, wanted to paint an old concrete turtle I had placed at the start of the sidewalk going toward my front door. During turtle egg-laying seasons, I always liked to have it where kids could see it, and be reminded to watch for turtles laying eggs along the rail trail, and then for the eggs hatching, many coming from each large hole the mothers had dug for them. Shortly you could see the families of turtles moving to new locations, and often Hurleyville residents would help direct traffic so that the turtles would not be killed by cars.  This old grey turtle was showing its age, and Charley asked me if she could paint it. I said “yes,” and Charly told her mom Nicole- who has wonderful paints and knows how to work with her daughter to get the best possible look. They worked for several hours, and I promise that if you walk down Main Street and see a wonderful turtle greeting you from the sidewalk to a house, it is a welcome and totally joyful surprise, and you will want to revisit it.

How about it… can YOU do that kind of hidden or shared community surprise, and watch the joy and curiosity that comes with it?

I promise I will not surprise you by dancing outside. That could just ruin the whole idea!