AT OUR PINE POINT CABIN HOME, we live at the end of a long and winding lane. It is my job to keep this lane cleared in the winter. Monday morning I went out to do my job, but found that the 27 year-old-but-like-new-mostly snowblower was broken. Being that I am not really the mechanical sort, that description will have to suffice. It was broken. I borrowed a trailer and took it to the place where they fix broken snowblowers. That night we got significantly more snow. I planned my already-busy day around getting up early, going and retrieving the now-fixed snowblower and clearing the long and winding lane.
But when I went out the door and began to drive up the lane something looked wrong. What could it be? I noticed a brown, scraped patch of earth in the middle of the lane. Why was that there? Then, halfway up the lane, and being a naturalist highly trained in the powers of observation, I realized. Somebody had come in the night and cleared out our lane. The whole thing. And had stopped and turned around within a short distance of the cabin so as not to wake us.
In a time when neighborliness sometimes seems in short supply, it is a fine thing to awaken to such a pleasant discovery. Kathy posted in the Pine Point Facebook page, a heartfelt thank-you, and we later learned it was our good neighbor John who had done us the unexpected favor. And warmed our hearts.
Just a month earlier, on a book-tour trip to Bemidji, I arose from a pleasant meal in Perkins and went to pay my
bill. “There is no charge,” I was told. “It’s already been taken care of.”
“Taken care of? What do you mean?”
“Someone else paid your bill, sir, it’s all taken care of.”
So—wow. I will never know who paid for my dinner, or why, and again must just chalk it up to good will. Good neighborliness. And pretty danged cool. Perhaps some of you friends have thoughts or stories you’d like to share…
Happy New Year.