Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gratitude and Attitude or How The Evil Snowplow Driver Is No More!

(this post can also be found at www.alittlegoodnewstoday.org)
We’ve had a difficult Christmas season, having lost an uncle and having my father-in-law taken to hospital, where he still is, awaiting heart surgery. My mother-in-law is trying to stay upbeat, and we’re all trying our best to encourage her, but it’s what strangers are doing in our lives that make the difference here.
First up, just after my father-in-law fell ill, my niece found herself stuck up in Ottawa, and her father and her uncle decided to drive up to Quebec to meet her halfway. The trouble was, that horrible big storm we had before Christmas was barreling down on us, and those of us at home waited for news of their safe return.
It didn’t come. But then we did get word of something just as good, maybe even better. My brother-in-laws decided to pull off the road somewhere up north of Fredericton. They drove into the nearest driveway and asked if they could park there for a few hours until the storm died down.
The kind family in the house wouldn’t hear of that. They invited them in, offering them shelter to my niece and my brother-in-laws for the night, plus a few warm meals.
The next day, when the storm had passed, my brother-in-laws shoveled out the driveway in gratitude before they left. Those of us waiting at home were thankful that this family, whose last name we still don’t know, had a spirit of charity.
Now, you may be wondering what this story has to do with evil snowplow drivers. I’m getting to that. Those who know me know that I always called the snowplow driver evil because of his remarkable ability to batter my mailbox, fill in my driveway, and dump incredibly copious amounts of snow directly in front of my mailbox, when all around me seems to be clear. And those of you in rural locations know the plight of the rural mailbox and of the mail couriers. We need to keep our boxes clear, something impossible with the bulls-eye marked on them for the snowplow driver.
Not so anymore. We had a terrible storm New Year’s Eve, and it lasted well into the January first. It wasn’t until the second were we able to get out to the end of the driveway. My brother-in-law (one of the ones mentioned earlier) and his wife came over from next door to help us, as we’d planned to visit my father-in-law in the hospital that day. We were making very little headway, when, over the crest up the road came...you guessed it, the snowplow driver. We scattered like mice, cringing at what he might do to the meagre work we’d achieved so far.
He passed us.
Then stopped.
Then backed up.
And then...he graded out our driveway with that huge front blade of his.
My sister-in-law cheered, claiming it was her old face that caused his sympathy. Whatever the reasons were, I swore on that day that I would never call him the ‘evil snow plow driver’ again. My sister-in-law and I hugged and cheered and waved as he drove off.
We don’t know who this man was. Though we saw his face, all we could tell was he was a young man, brown hair, small nose. But to us, he was the epitome of the season. Like that family up north of Fredericton, he came to our family’s rescue. We are a family whose Christmas has been tough, sad, scary, even. And yet, in the midst of it, there were two bright points, two acts of kindness that show us how much people really do care.
Thank you to both the family who cared for ours during the storm, and the snowplow driver who showed a little compassion to us this past week.
I hope their new years will be as blessed as they have made ours.

2 comments:

Debra Clopton said...

Barbara,
I'm so sorry you've had such a hard time of late. But what a wonderful story of how even we, doing some act of kindness, could be in that moment the thing someone in need needs desperately right then.(I hope that made sense the way I wrote it) Somewhat similar things have happened to me on occasion and I know that I've seen God through that person because I need so much what they did for me right then--the very instant they acted. I hope that I can be that blessing to someone!
Debra Clopton

Barbara Phinney said...

Debra, I's still trying to find out that driver's name to send him a card. You know, that can make all the difference. I sent a card to my husband's work district office to thank them for the gift card they sent everyone, and I got a call back to say thank you for the thank you card!! So sweet!