Ponder this:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's just what you do

I've been feeling a little bit embarrassed about that last post. Some of you seemed to think I had gone above and beyond, and that makes me feel as if I was tooting my own horn. It took a long time for me to write about that day, although I knew I would. Melinda seemed to me so singular, such a character. She was the reason for the post. I have so much more memory of her than I wrote . . . sometimes I want to get the story told and I leave out details. Her direct brown eyes, her square jaw, her wide straight-line lips. The faint dramatic intonation: "Yes . . . mine is a lonely life." 
What I want to say here is that that's how it is in the country. I always thought so, and now that I live here, I do know it to be true. Maybe it's true in the city too; I don't know because I haven't lived in a real city. Maybe it's true wherever one human being asks another human being for help.


A long time ago, before we bought this land, but after we had begun looking around for a country place, I spent a few hours driving around being happily lost on country roads. It was late fall, might have been Thanksgiving weekend . . . and in the 'burbs the roads were clear. In the country, of course, they were snowy, slushy, muddy. I was on a long, long, unpopulated road when I slid into the ditch. I don't recall the details now. It was not a very cold day. Cell phones hadn't yet been invented. I didn't know where I was, but I remembered having passed a house less than a mile back. I trundled myself down the road, thinking to call Husband for help. There was one person at home, a young man. Early twenties, I'd say . . . big and burly and blond and country-messy . . . which is to say, clean but surface-dirty from physical labor.
But get this: his job was driving a tow truck.
That guy got on his overalls, got his truck and his big heavy chain, and he got underneath my car in the mud by the side of the road and he pulled me out most handily. I felt so bad that he was getting so wet and dirty but he said he was used to it. 
I had no cash to give him, and he didn't care. 
I never saw anybody work so hard and smile so much.
I still don't know what road I was on, or what his name was, or how I ever found, on a long, long, empty country road, the one person who would know exactly what to do and how to do it in fifteen minutes.


So, you know... What goes around comes around.

12 comments:

rachel said...

I think it's true in the city as well as in the country. But it isn't common, and that's why we remember it so vividly when it happens to us. You did a good thing there.

Wanda..... said...

Many might think they would have seond thoughts and that it was above and beyond, but when it comes down to it, one just does what seems right. Several years ago, my husband was out of state and I was home alone back here in these dark woods! Very late one cold night, I woke to a pounding on my door...through the glass I saw a coatless crying young woman pleading for help, saying over and over she wouldn't hurt me, she just needed to call a friend! With a hint of anxiety, I let her in, because like you say..."It's just what you do"...

Friko said...

That's exactly how it is. Here too. We stop and help. I don't think anybody thinks whether it is beyond the call.

I've had a chap stop and change a tire for me, A couple stopped to help push me and a friend off the road when her gearbox went in the middle of nowhere.

I'd never not help anybody who came to my door, lost and miserable.

As you say, what goes round, comes around; but that's not the only reason for doing it, is it?

Mac n' Janet said...

I do believe that we have to help others, sometimes i do something for someone, usually a family member, who hasn't exactly been a good person, and my husband asks why are you doing that, and I always say I can't be responsible for the other person's behavior I can only be responsible for my own, I have to do what I feel is right.

Linda Myers said...

Paying it forward always works. And keeps us all connected in a good way on this planet.

Barb said...

Yes - I think exactly that. When you've received help (and who hasn't?), giving it seems only fitting.

Grandmother said...

It's rue in our little city in semi-rural Italy. I'm grateful as are you. What we put out comes back. How nice.

DJan said...

You reminded me of a time before I had a cell phone when I was traveling alone across three states. I blew a tire, and there was no way I could change it myself. So I put my hand out to wave down a car, and a lady stopped when she saw me. Three kids in the car, and she gave me a ride to the next town, where I was able to call AAA and get ahold of someone to help me. She said she just had to stop because someone did the same for her. (Plus I didn't look very threatening. :-)

Von said...

Sure does and next you'll be saying karma gets us in the end!!!

esbboston said...

I loved your story of helping.

Rubye Jack said...

This is what we do as people when we aren't full of fear. I've had good people help me out so many times it is remarkable. People are something else. And as for yesterday's post, you were just passing on your story of how we help people when we can. Doing what people do best. It is good to hear these stories and I think we should talk about them more often.

Carolynn said...

Absolutely, so true. I'm sooo looking forward to this kind of country experience - not the sliding in the ditch part, but the willing to help and the ready smile part. We already experienced some of that when we asked someone for directions to the local dump on a recent visit to our new home. Difference of night & day from the kind of response we'd have received, initially, from someone in the city. Everything in the city has the edge of suspicion to it - are they going to ask me for money? Is there something about this person I need to be wary of? It comes with city living and I'm very tired of it.