Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gettin' Over Guilt

As most know the eastern states were hit by a powerful storm last week that downed trees and powerlines, leaving millions without electricity and air conditioning during a severe heat wave. The epic storm was called a "100 year" storm, and we weren't excluded from the damage from it. We lost many trees, were without power and had to run a generator to preserve refrigerated food.

Well, after a couple of days I was surprised when the power suddenly came back on and life began anew in a way not Amish. I was comfortably seated in the air conditioned luxury we've come to enjoy, we Americans, and making the most of a good old-time movie on TCM. Then came a knock on the door and I rousted myself up to see who was a'knocking. It was the nice young fella from next door come to offer his time, energy, trailer and chain saw to clear my yard of the fallen-down trees and limbs that littered the brown and lightly toasted grass of summer.

I explained to him that I couldn't afford his time, but he insisted it was his duty to help out neighbors that had welcomed him to our small community. "No, I wouldn't feel right about it," I demured. But he was persistant and I finally caved into his kindness.

Now, I know some are critical of younger generations as being lazy and selfish, but this lad dug into my mess with great gusto. He was a'sweatin' and a'sawin' something fierce like, and lifting heavy logs up onto his trailer. He was like a whirlwind with a buzzsaw in that terrible midday heat.

After a couple of hours I began to feel very guilty about not being out there helping him at least load the logs or hold a stick to be cut. Much as I tried to ignore his labor and enjoy my movies, it just got to me that I was in the cool comfort inside whilst he labored in the sweltering heat.

Once, when I glanced out the window, I saw him stumble and fall, and I felt certain he'd been overcome by heat stroke. But no, he popped right back up and started to saw some more. "Well, that does it," I said to myself, "I can't stand watching that lad work so hard while I sit here in comfort."

So I went upstairs, changed into some jeans and a lightweight shirt, and headed back down the stairs. After I waved to my helpful neighbor, I pulled my car out of the way of his trailer, and headed on down to the closest Walmart. Not only did I feel better about not having to watch him work in all that heat, I also picked up some pretty darn good sale items from Sam's place. And it was cool in there, too.  But, dang it, I shoulda offered that boy a drink of water when I left.

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