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How It Was Given

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Tex Earnhardt was my best friend. After opening his first Ford store (with 2 cars to sell) in 1951, he eventually became a TV celebrity and auto business icon. On April 19, 2020, Tex passed away at the age of 89. 

Tex was the kindest, most caring, and most genuine person I have ever known. He was one of those very special people you don’t come across often. 

On April 18 of this year, the day before the second anniversary of Tex’s passing, a package was delivered to my PV home. Attached to the package was a note that said “PAINTING ENCLOSED.” In part, it read as follows…

“Our client requests that you don’t open this until tomorrow morning. They also request that you video record the reveal as you open it. Maybe someday you will discover who commissioned this piece for you. It would truly fill their heart to see your reaction.” -Forbes Gallery, Los Angeles, California

Also on the package was a handwritten envelope addressed to “Greg and Teresa Hague,” but there was no indication as to who it was from. We waited until the next day (the second anniversary of Tex’s death) and did just as instructed…we opened the package and the letter on video. Wow! We were delighted to see a painting of a very special photo of me, Tex, and Teresa taken a few years before he passed away. 

We then opened the envelope to read this letter:

“On April 19, 2020, your life along with so many other lives would forever be different. The quality, meaning and capacity to experience life can be measured by relationships. They are most often in direct proportion to the people who have touched us the most. We pray this painting serves as a forever living memory of the times enjoyed, meals shared, roads traveled, stories shared, and adventures had. In a similar way, our lives and that of our family have been forever changed because of the relationship we have with the two of you. Love, your biggest fans, and secret admirers…”

The gift itself was amazing, but what really struck me was how it was given. The mystery of who it was from, what was in the package, why we had to wait until the next day, and the request to video the opening created excitement and mystique. The way it was given was almost as special as the gift itself. 

This experience got me thinking about a very important but often overlooked concept…

It’s not just the gift, but how you give it.

It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. 

It’s not just what you do, but how you do it.

To this day we don’t know who gave us the gift. Maybe we never will. Maybe it’s better that way.

I have received many gifts in my lifetime. Some I cherish to this day. But I have never received a gift in such a creative way. It’s a special gift that was made even more special by how it was given. 

Tex…thank you for the many years of friendship. And to the giver…thank you for the gift, and for how it was given.