I received two packages today from commercial sources that proudly proclaim that prompt, free delivery of their products is assured. In one case, the item was received within 48 hours of ordering. The second, also with free, expedited delivery, was received 1,632 hours after ordering and about 1,600 hours after I had completely forgotten about it.
Having forgotten about the latter order means I missed a perfect opportunity to be angry with the seller for his lousy performance. This kind of deception really deserves to be met with open indignation and hostility. But, having forgotten about it meant the receipt of the item was a surprise and a pleasing, unexpected gift of something I wanted. Even I can’t be miffed at that, although I’ll admit I tried.
Opportunities to be pleasantly surprised abound here on the rock. The day after the blizzard — you DO remember the blizzard, right? — I drove by a neighbor’s house to ask if there was anything with which they might need help. A delightfully cute and animated youngster stopped me and asked me to wait. I am well schooled in the art of waiting for a female and put the truck in park for what I hoped would be a short time. She was back in a couple of minutes with a big smile and some delicious chocolate chip cookies.
I continued along the road to where her father was trying to coax his truck to life with a battery charger and asked him whether he needed anything I could help with. He replied that no, he was all set, and the truck would be fine when the battery had been sufficiently recharged. It had been exposed to the cold north wind and snow for the previous day and night and, with the turn of its key, indicated its displeasure with this rude treatment by remaining totally silent.
Remembering that I had not heard any small-engine noise from that direction since the previous day’s blizzard, I asked, “Do you need to borrow a snowblower?” Nodding in the direction of several cars buried in snow in front of the house, he said, “Nah, we have a 20-year-old with a shovel.”
They have something a lot of folks would love to have. In Harpswell, though, there’s something in the gene pool that grows crops of young adults with not just a willingness, but an eagerness to work. You see them on the water, on the clam flats, in the stores, with shovels and behind things with small engines, doing all kinds of jobs that need doing.
There aren’t as many as in my generation, as the cost of a home here is out of the reach of many young families. But we still have them, and to the parents and grandparents who raise these kids to be part of the fabric of this town, I say well done and thank you.
Chocolate chip cookies and a 20-year-old with a shovel are things to be proud of.
Butch Lawson is an observer of life. He lives on Bailey Island.