Tag: Kind Strangers

Small Services

 

Much of the time, in the day to day reality of human communities, we are presented opportunities to provide small services to others. Set aside good customer service, a dignifying thing in itself. Consider the moments when you are confronted with a basic human need which you can easily meet.

The light rail system in the Valley of the Sun sadly reflects that many have become blind or ignorant of small kindnesses. They have carefully non-human cartoon figures illustrating yielding a seat to those less physically fit to stand. Decent men and healthy younger women stand up when an elder, a pregnant woman, or someone with an infirmity or burdened down with small children and packages boards a train. We all used to understand that. When people follow such a custom, they render a small service to the person given a seat and make themselves and, by observation, the immediate environment of that car a little better.

We all pass by panhandlers. Many deserve to be passed by and are made worse if given the spare change for which they ask. Yet, if we are not so hurried or jaded, we will also see a real need from time to time.

Cars: Those Magic Mysterious Machines

 

Can’t blame Dad for trying. He’s no expert mechanic but he certainly practices good car maintenance and knows his way around the most basic emergency procedures that tend to arise over the standard lifespan of a vehicle. He tried to impart some of that knowledge to his girls. But we were always more interested in being behind the wheel than under the hood.

Because when you grow up in Tulsa, road-tripping your way around Texarkana (and that one memorable summer vacation out west, all the way to Boise), driving was a joy. Driving meant freedom. Driving meant wide-open roads and singing at the top of your lungs and playing silly games to pass the time, hitting the occasional quirky roadside diner (even though you packed enough food for an army), stopping on a whim to read a historical marker if you felt like it, then still managing to catch up afterward with that same horse trailer you saw drive off in the distance when you pulled off onto the shoulder. And when night fell, there’d be long, quiet stretches with just the steady rhythm of wheels on road beneath you, the stars above, and the moon following your car as it flew down the highway with Dad at the wheel.