Monday, February 16, 2015

Kindness of strangers...

Today didn't really go as planned. I had thought to spend the day writing. Then my daughter asked me to join her in running an errand. She suggested we could have lunch at a favorite spot and check out a fun antique store nearby. It was an offer I couldn't refuse. My only stipulation was I needed to be home by 3 to groom a wonderful little cat.

So off we went, listening to pretty music and chatting happily. We got her errand taken care of, and even popped into Marden's, a fun store that often has great bargains. I stocked up on beautiful gift wrapping paper for .50 cents a roll! Then off to the favorite restaurant. Sadly, it was closed. As was the nearby antique store. Mildly dejected, we went to another favorite spot and dined on delicious ribs. But we had to hurry to get back in time for my appointment.

When we got to our road, there were large areas where wind had pushed snow deeply into the road. Rachel drove carefully, but when a truck pulling an over-sized trailer passed us, swerving a bit in our lane, the deep snow grabbed her tires and pushed her neatly into a snow bank. No damage was done but we were stuck fast. And it was only moments before I was to meet my customer.

I climbed out of the car, and no sooner did my feet meet the ground when a car stopped. An older man asked, "Need any help?" I asked if there were any way he could turn around and take me to my house, just a mile away. "Ayuh," he nodded. I hopped right in. I introduced myself. "I know who you are. I live right up the road. You wave to me all the time." I asked him where he had been off to when he so kindly stopped, "Down to the Mic Mac to get a cuppa coffee." "I'd be more than happy to make you a cup for your troubles," I told him. He smiled gently. "I mostly go to talk to my friends." Then he told me he had shingles blow off his roof in the last storm. "I'm not supposed to get up on the roof. I have two metal hips and one metal knee. I'm a bit older than you, you know. How old do you think I am?" Well, that is the sort of question that is often loaded, and really, I had no idea. He was clearly somewhere older than 60, but I had no idea how much older. He was robust and fit looking, obviously very capable. "68?" I guessed. He chuckled. "I've been married 70 years." I thought quick, "Well then, you must have gotten married when you were 10 and now you are 80." "I'll be 90 next month," he said. And really, he didn't look 90 by any stretch. I told him so. He looked pleased.

I arrived home just in time to groom one of my favorite cats. Meanwhile, Rachel and her little stuck car waited for AAA to come pull her out. While she waited, in the icy cold wind, no less than 15 or 20 different people stopped to offer her assistance. Women in small cars offered to let her use a phone. Young men with pick up trucks offered to give her a tow. Vehicle after vehicle stopped to make sure she was okay. When the tow truck finally arrived and pulled her free, he then insisted on following her home, "The road is bad between here and there, and I want to make sure you are safe."

No sooner did she arrive home safely, when the phone rang. It was my sweet husband. He was supposed to have the day off today, but was called into work for a few hours, which ended up being most of the day. "Honey, I have a problem," he said. "I stopped my car because something was stuck in the wheel well, and locked myself out. And honey, it's really COLD." He was a good 45 minutes away from home. Rachel and I jumped in my truck and drove as fast as we could to get him. I knew he was wearing dress shoes and casual work clothes and a light jacket. I felt sick to my stomach as I drove, white knuckled, to get him. The thought of him shivering by the side of the road make me feel quite ill. The temperatures were in the single digits and as I said, the wind was fierce. Rachel arranged for a locksmith to meet us. While Chris waited in the fading light, in the terrible cold, a man had stopped to let him use his phone to call me. A woman stopped and gave him a pair of gloves, and then some acquaintances who were passing by stopped and let him sit in the warmth of their car until I arrived.

Today didn't really go as planned, but looking back at it we are all feeling very blessed by the kindness of all those strangers.