AFTER six weeks of mysterious gifts being left outside the front door of the Western Advocate office, the gift-giver can finally be revealed.
The gifts have left the newspaper’s staff, the city and indeed the region enthralled since the first one arrived on June 26.
On that morning staff arrived to discover a pile of ice had been left at the door with two, small handwritten signs.
The first read: “Isolated snowfalls in Bathurst CBD overnight”. The other stated: “Or is it a deep frost? You decide”.
During the next six weeks, 22 other ‘gifts’ and accompanying notes were left outside the Advocate and now Mount Rankin woman Christine Smith has come forward to admit that she is the mystery gift-giver.
It may have started as a “one off” thing, but she said it soon became a passion and admits she had an absolute “blast” during the past six weeks.
“I had no intention of ever being unmasked,” Ms Smith said.
She explained that a number of factors in her life led to the first mysterious ‘gift’ being delivered.
“There are reasons behind what I called ‘Front Door News’, or as you call me the ‘gift giver’,” Ms Smith said.
“A clash of events brought me to the simple decision of dumping a heap of ice, from defrosting the freezer, on your doorstep.
“I am a farmer, the drought was already starting to hit, we were losing our precious animals.”
Ms Smith has also been undergoing treatment for skin cancer and her doctor had banned from being exposed to too much sun.
“Everyone else’s night became my day and it’s a lonely place to be at times,” she said.
“It was also at this time that I was diagnosed with multiple forms of obsessive compulsive disorder and barely left the farm.
“In a short period of time, my life and my mental health took a battering and somewhere along the way I lost my smile.”
Shortly after, she attended the funeral of a close family member and decided that if she didn’t change her attitude that she “wouldn’t survive”.
So, what started as a joke with friends about dumping ice outside the Advocate’s office became a reality and the rest, as they say, is history.
In the time since, Ms Smith has left all manner of ‘gifts’ and quirky signs which have delighted staff, office visitors and the wider community when the Advocate’s journalists begun writing stories about the mystery.
- Read more: Good news on our doorstep, week five
“I was getting swept up into the fun and the smiles and new ideas just jumped into my brain,” she said.
“I have loved seeing every smile and like on your [Western Advocate] posts.”
Her final ‘gift’ was delivered on Friday and it was a sign, inspired by Jim Carrey’s character in the movie The Truman Show which read: “And if I don’t happen to see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night”.
Ms Smith said her Front Door News was borne out of necessity that someone out there desperately needed a smile as much as I did.
“I know that when I make others smile it helps to brighten my own,” she said.
“But as things here on the farm get drier and tougher I must bring this to an end.
- Read more: Good news on our doorstep, week six
“So my heartfelt thank you to all who enjoyed my wit and whimsy.
“Please remember it costs next to nothing to make others smile and you never know with this drought fading hope among the farmers this area is so rich in, that little smile may have helped someone forget their own overwhelming woes, if only for a moment.”