My Good Deed

Without even thinking twice, I’m sure many of you were doing the same thing I was this morning–shoveling snow. After seeing how many driveways and sidewalks were still un-shoveled after finishing up mine, caused me to wonder if many were just waiting for it to melt off, or decided to stay inside until the afternoon arrived.  Of course always,  my main concern is keeping the sidewalk in front of my office cleared away as early as possible, and thank goodness I had already shoveled it once before going home last night, so at least I didn’t have that heavy stuff  from yesterday at the bottom to contend with.

As we all know, no matter how we plan our weekends, there are times when there has to be those intervening circumstances that cause plan changes, and this snow was what kept me from spending most of my weekend at work on a project.  So instead of getting a full day out of both yesterday and today, I could only do half days for both, but at least I made visible progress.

There was a curious happening for me today which I certainly didn’t expect.  While I was finishing up with the shoveling of a front sidewalk, I could hear someone across the street hollering after me.  I looked, and there stood a young man likely in his early twenties.  Since he was attempting to ask me something, but too far away, I walked to the curbside and asked him to repeat himself.  To my surprise, he was asking if I would borrow him my shovel because his car got buried by a snow plow this morning.  I asked where his car was parked, and he pointed about a 200 ft down the street.

Since I never let anyone use my well-oiled vintage coal shovel which works wonders with heavy snow like this weekend’s, I said to him, “I’ll not loan it to you, but I’ll go and help you get out.”  So off I went with shovel in hand to freely perform my hopefully successful act of kindness.

His car was one of those low-slung mid-sized models that really aren’t meant for driving in North Iowa’s winters.  I looked over the situation and could already see where and how much snow needed to be removed.  Since he was standing there watching me I figured I might just as well engage him in conversation.

My first question was, “Why are you in such a big hurry to get shoveled out?”  He quickly answered, “Because I have to go to church.”  I stopped for a moment and looked at him while sternly saying, “I’m sure under your circumstances, God will forgive you for missing a Service.”  He then insisted by saying, “Oh no, I have to go because my parents are waiting for me and they’re expecting me to be there.”  I guess that was about as good of an excuse considering it being Sunday morning.

I had a good portion of the snow shoveled away, but before I could finish he insisted, “That’s enough. I’m sure I’ll be able to get out.”  After looking at the snow and back at his car, I knew he wouldn’t, but sometimes people must learn.  Sure enough, there he sat spinning his tires while trying to rock his car back and forth enough to gain traction while his front wheels were turned too much outward.

After about five minutes of watching his futile effort, I loudly said, “Just wait until I get enough snow out of the way of your low-slung light-weight front-wheel drive POS.”  It was then my turn, and thus I began barking orders regarding how much he could turn his wheels, how not to make his tires spin too much, and how far he was to back up before he could get enough traction to “give’er the gun” and drive away.

Before I finished up, and him driving happily on his way to his “church service”, I found out he’s lived here for six months, he decided to move here because his now deceased father was near death at the time, he’s originally from a city north of Los Angeles, and he’s seriously thinking of moving back because he can’t get used living in our cold environment.

I did try to ease his worries by telling him that this winter has been one of our longest.  I also couldn’t help but say, “Oh, you poor baby.” when he was whining about how he misses all those many warm California days.  I couldn’t help but say, “Sometimes the winds of Fate blow us in directions for reasons which we don’t understand at the time, but years on, they’re alas finally revealed, and only then, we finally understand.”

I’m sure he was telling his mother and step-father about a stranger offering to shovel him out with his well-oiled vintage coal shovel, along with the content our conversation.  Yes, I did my good deed for the day, and happy for it.

Tonight’s one-liner is:  Change is valuable when the oppressed become tyrants.

Joe Chodur

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