Monday, December 17, 2007
The Kindness of Strangers
My sister looked up. If you have ever shoveled snow, you know the
distinct sound and rhythm of a shovel scraping blacktop. The room
was dark except for the TV and the multicolored twinkling lights from
the tree in the corner.
Who is shoveling after dark? She looked at the clock. 8:30. She
pushed back the insulted drape and peering out in the darkness. She
saw a dark form shoveling the driveway at the old man's house next
door. Hmm. It must be his daughter. She looked over to her boyfriend.
"Wanna get cold?"
They both shrugged into their coats, grabbed 2 shovels and went
around the house.
"Want some help?"
The person shoveling stood up. It was not the daughter but a man
from up the street.
My sister and her boyfriend started to shovel. The man up the street
continued to shovel. The snow was heavy and wet. The 6 inches had
turned into 4 with the rain. It was hard work.
"It is like shoveling cement." The comment hung there in the stillness.
A few minutes later a man from several houses down the street showed
up having heard the sound of shoveling in the darkness. He started
to shovel too. The four strangers worked for half an hour together
in the darkness. They finished the driveway and the walk leading
to the house. They also cleared the sidewalk in front of the house.
When the job was done, they all met at the end of the driveway and
introduced themselves. Strangers, neighbors, and now friends.
Kindness is still alive and well in the flatland.