We’re still in a recession. This simple sentence is far from breaking news, even for a small weekly such as ours. Legal Notices continue to occupy a minimum of three complete pages in our paper each week and property rental ads continue to come and go quickly in our classified section.
Personally, in the area of ‘bad news’ concerning the economy I find myself wondering what could be left to share in the way of doom and gloom.
The past several years have brought forth a lot of change for a number of people, as well as families. Dancing in the street in expensive shoes with wads of money in each hand, is simply no longer fashionable. We are in fact regrouping — as a country — and quite simply getting back to basics.
Lately, I find myself paying a lot of attention to the ‘little things.’ Human interaction, expressions on faces and how people are spending family time.
Simply put, recently I’ve come to realize that there is a bloom in the gloom. Random acts of kindness are once again appearing more often than not. People (generally speaking) seem to be taking a little more time to actually help one another.
So while I am sure there are a host of television journalists, as well as writers ready to continue on the doom path … I’m headed the other way.
I really began taking notice of this over a week ago. I had finished a day at the office and prepared to drive to our local pool to watch my little ones in swim lessons. As I turned the key of my 11-year-old car, the engine did not comply with its demand. Fortunately, I could simply walk to the pool from the office and not miss class.
When class concluded my husband and I returned to our poor car and attempted to get it started. Nothing. Battery - fine, gas - yep. After 15 minutes of trying, my husband surmised it was the fuel pump. As we called our family mechanic and prepared to make plans for towing, a stranger happened by. He yelled from his window, ‘Ma’am are you okay?’
As he proceeded to drive toward me, my husband stepped out of the driver seat as the car miraculously turned over and started. The kind stranger confirmed my husband’s suspicion, stating he had the same car and once they reach so many miles that part can become temperamental. Fifteen minutes later, we shook his hand and sincerely thanked him for going out of his way to check on what appeared to be a stranded woman.
Then there is the case of pay it forward, which our family was recently able to be in the middle of.
A friend of ours had posted on Facebook that she had a dog they could no longer keep. He needed to be a ‘single family dog,’ she shared as he was not the greatest with other canines. Ever the optimist, I was convinced he would do fine with our terrier, so she agreed to let me pick him up for a play date and a ‘test run’ with our terrier.
While, I may be an optimist … I am also a consummate planner, always prepared with a Plan B. Just in case it did not work out I messaged a girlfriend who I thought might also be interested in this special little guy. Her family of four had been poochless for a little bit of time and I had sensed that they might be considering taking in a new family member.
I should also add, the friend searching for a new home for the little guy had experienced a really rough month in June and quite honestly I wanted to do anything I could to help make her smile again. This was one thing I felt I could do.
Less than 24 hours following our unsuccessful play date, the adorable little guy went home with our poochless friends. Everyone was happy, pampered pooch included.
Prior to picking up the pooch, my girlfriend’s family experienced their own amazing moment following the end of their family garage sale.
With much of the small items sold, my girlfriend began to stress and struggle over what to do with the furnishings that did not sell. Reposting on Craigslist was occupying her mind, as two vehicles pulled up to her driveway.
As she describes it, a woman began frantically perusing her household items asking ‘how much,’ followed quickly by ‘I’ll take it.’ Eventually the woman made her way into my friend’s home and was delighted with the furnishings that were remaining. They negotiated price and just like that, her stress was relieved.
As the woman paid her, she explained what a godsend this sale was for her (the stranger). She had just arrived in Oakdale from New York with nothing but what she could fit in her car. She shared she had left a bad situation and these garage sale items were going to help her start anew.
These are just a few stories of the bloom in the gloom. I know many of you probably have some to share as well. If not, perhaps you need to start paying closer attention. There is a lot of good stuff happening around us right now and I cannot help but think what a pity it would be, if I were the only one noticing.
Let the bloom start with you. If you see a mom struggling to get through a door with a stroller, open it. Opportunities for kindness surround us daily, we are the only ones that come between doing what is right and, well … looking the other way. Don’t look, help. In the end after all, each other is all we have.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.