When happiness happens

A favorite subject on NewsCut, as you may know, are the people who make a difference, mostly because they’re undaunted by the perceived reality that they can’t.

Reader Kate Agnew has passed along a Huffington Post story from a few days ago, that might’ve slipped under your radar (it did mine) that fully qualifies in the category.

It’s the story of a group of women in Tennessee, who secretly diverted money from their family budgets for more than 30 years to bake cakes, send gifts, or provide goods to people they’d heard could use a little help. They ran their secret society without telling their spouses, the story says:


“We gave new meaning to the term drive-by,” Mary Ellen said with delight. “We’d drive through low-income neighborhoods and look for homes that had fans in the window. That told us that the people who lived there didn’t have air-conditioning. Or we’d see that there were no lights on at night, which meant there was a good chance their utilities had been turned off. Then we’d return before the sun came up, like cat burglars, and drop off a little care package.”

For three decades, the ladies’ good deeds went undetected — that is, until five years ago, when Mary Ellen’s husband, whom she lovingly calls “Southern Charmer,” started noticing extra mileage on the car and large amounts of cash being withdrawn from their savings account.

“He brought out bank statements and they were highlighted!” Mary Ellen said, recalling the horror she felt. “I tried to explain that I had bought some things, but he had this look on his face that I’d never seen before — and I realized what he must have been thinking. I called the sisters and said, ‘You all need to get over here right away.'”

So 30 years into their secret mission, the 9 Nanas and their husbands gathered in Mary Ellen’s living room and the sisters came clean. They told the husbands about the laundry and the eavesdropping — even the drive-bys. And that’s where their story gets even better — because the husbands offered to help.

It’s a lovely read on which to end the week.

  • cara

    Very nice. restores my faith.

  • Richard

    Wonderful story, thank you very much for bringing it to us all.

    Richard