Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Random Act of Kindness For My Dad

A mystery person dropped off a copy of the newspaper at my  parents house this past Thursday.  There was a note, referring to page 2.  

It turns out that one of the hundreds of people that my Dad has helped through the many years wrote a letter about him and submitted it to their "Random Acts of Kindness" column.  

The ironic part is that this guy only knew my Dad for 3 hours.  He didn't know he was sick.  He didn't know that 3 days later,he would be admitted to the hospital for a swollen leg caused by a blood clot. 

Helping this man was my Dad's last "job". The last time he held a shovel in his hands.  It's so fitting that he asked for a handshake as payment.  My Dad has worked like this his whole life.  He regularly underestimates his own knowledge and efforts.  Even when my Mom read this letter to him, he brushed it off, like he didn't see the reason for all of the fuss.  He didn't think he had done anything special.  

My Dad is not well.  Cancer has beaten him down to these last days.  He is a strong man, with a huge heart. I am trying very hard to memorize the green color of his eyes, the size of his hands, the sound of his voice.

Here is a glimpse of who my Dad is:
Random Acts of Kindness: The septic tank savior
Thursday, March 25, 2010
This old fellow just likes lending hand to strangers
"Brian, I'd like to make an appointment to have my septic tank cleaned ..."
"OK Tim, but first, you need to unearth the lid, and I don't know where it is. Find Al K., he installed your system years ago for the previous owners, he'll know where it is."
Sunday after Christmas my house had odors. The ground wasn't frozen, so I started to dig. After an hour I found the top of the tank but no lid. Frustrated, I went to find Al K. I pulled up to his house and a youngish-looking, 70-or-so woman splitting wood greeted me. I apologized for intruding on Sunday and she replied with a huge smile, "No problem, we work every day," as if it were their true joy.
Al was napping in his fifth-generation farmhouse in a rocker, in his work clothes, basking in the sun that streamed through the picture window. I hated to wake him. His wife tapped him on the shoulder.
I told him my plight and he asked, "Is momma still splittin' wood?" I said yes. He replied, "You can't find 'em like that anymore," and then he said, "Let's go take a look at the septic system."
It turns out, Al did not install my system but looked at my progress, and then this 74-year-old stranger grabbed a shovel and started digging. As I ran for another shovel I worried: How much does a septic pro cost on a Sunday? You can ask my friends, I'm cheap that way, I don't know why.
Together we unearthed the lid. He took his time and explained what was going on and checked all the plumbing from the house.
I took him home. We pulled up to his house and he said jokingly, "Looks like momma quit as soon as I left." He wouldn't take any money and explained that he does things for people just to help them, and he asked for a handshake.
We shook hands and I gave him a few sticks of really good kielbasa. I really hope he enjoyed it.
TIM HOPEY, Richland

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Walk Through My Yard

I saw the kids working on some sort of project in the yard yesterday.  There was a flurry of activity, supplies gathered, tools used.  The beauty was that they required ZERO help from me. I only sideways glanced, so that they wouldn't get the idea that asking me for help was a possibility. 

A day later, I walked back there to see what they were up to.  I had to laugh.  Apparently, they found two dead frogs in the pond after the winter thaw.  They gave the little guys  paper tombstones and little Popsicle stick crosses.  I love it that they stuck them together with Mr. Yuck stickers.  Apparently the frogs were yucky. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Passport Photos: Worse Than Driver's License Photos

I always like to have a current passport.  It's like Freedom in a little blue book.  As in, if a friend asks: "Hey do you want to go to Costa Rica next week?", I can say: "Why YES, I have a passport!". 

It seems that always having a little kid/baby has gotten in the way of me keeping my passport current.  Well, thanks to my kid, and potential hockey tournaments in Canada, I am well on my way to getting a fresh blue book. 

The lady who took my picture told me not to smile.  Apparently teeth interfere with face recognition software. (I'm not kidding.) All I can think of is that if anything happens to me, THIS is the picture of me that will be flashed across the news (The picture to the far right is the current one).  I look so miserable that no one will want to help me.  They'll think: "She's got such a sour disposition, she got what she deserves".  

I think I'm smiling in my driver's license photo, so if anything happens to me, be a friend, and request that the authorities use that one!