July 6, 2020

The Most Disarming Compliment

• By John F. Chisholm •

Kindness is the most disarming compliment.

I don’t normally take compliments well, either, I always wonder what I’m missing. It’s a curious disability, not one I’d recommend.

Normally, I don’t have to worry. I don’t receive many. The immediate point here, this isn’t vanity.

Why bring it up at all?

Recently I received a series of enormous compliments from several complete strangers. I have to thank these people. I want to do it right. I want to compliment them. More than that, much more than that, I  want the world their kindness creates propagated.

You be the judge.

This began with a trip to Scotland. My wife and I journeyed there these last two weeks. Tickets. Passports. Customs. Bed and breakfast establishments. The works. It was a real vacation. Wonderful.

We needed one. We don’t get away from our farm very often. It’s a consuming occupation. Our daughter kindly agreed to look after the place while we were away. We grabbed the opportunity.

While there, we were the guests of The Daimler and Lanchester Owner’s Club for two luncheons. They were lovely occasions. Please realize, none of these people had met either me or my wife previously.

Nevertheless, several Daimler owners and two repeat guests showed up for each event. Of course they brought their cars with them. It was wonderful seeing the antique machinery, meeting like-minded drivers and exploring history.

We didn’t discuss cars. At least not entirely. My wife would never speak to me again if all we talked about was cars. Our conversations were far more reaching: American and British politics, the European Union, South African geology, veterinary research, pharmaceutical developments, farming, physics (vacuum actuated timing advance versus computer controlled) and the human condition. They were fascinating discussions with some very knowledgeable people.

The chairs were comfortable, the service great, the food was excellent.

Then they treated us. Both luncheons. I tried intervening. Really tried. It wasn’t allowed.

The entire experience was a tremendous pleasure and a real compliment. But, more to the issue, what a marvelous reflection on them.

Their kindnesses made our trip the success it became.

Please realize this was unrequited kindness. That’s what requires recognition. Of course I’ll do my best to pay it forward. But I want to pay it back as well.

John Balleny, Hamish Dickie, Geoff and Margret Douglas, Stephen Leckie and Duncan Saunders: you put Scotland on the map. I can’t say enough nice things about you. I’ve written you all personally but such kindness should be publicly acknowledged. How else are we to propagate it? Never dare pretending that the world doesn’t need it. Desperately.

These people are ambassadors for the greatest cause of all: amicable human relations.

Now do you see what I mean?

Kindness is the most disarming compliment.