I’m not sure what exactly my expectations were when I wrote my first column a few weeks ago. I do admit they weren’t entirely positive.
Maybe I’m too cynical, I am a newspaper reporter after all. Truth be told, my dysthymic brain doesn’t easily lend itself to optimism either. But while I wasn’t sure what kind of a response I was going to get, I suppose on some level I was expecting people to agree with me that there’s no good news out there anymore, neighbours suck nowadays, and we should probably all try a little harder to do a little better. Though I do recognize it’s not that black and white.
But that’s not what happened at all.
Pretty soon after my first column was published I started receiving emails. Positive ones from people alerting me to good news stories and from folks letting me know how wonderful their neighbours were. Quite honestly in an inbox full of press releases and complaints, the new influx made me smile.
And isn’t that the point? (Well, not to make me smile. But you know what I mean.)
I learned Maple Bay’s Eleanor Montour’s neighbours have been cutting her parents’ lawn since the early 1980s and continued on when she moved to the property in 1989! To this day, more than 25 years later, Elwyn Trafford, now with a ride-on mower, still gets the job done.
“This is especially appreciated because the extension cord for my electric mower won’t even reach halfway up the driveway and my husband and I never could get gas mowers to start,” she wrote.
In another message, C. Adam told me “Those good neighbours are out there.”
Retired and living on her own, last winter she went outside one day to discover that her driveway had been shovelled.
“I didn’t even know who had shovelled it,” she said.
It took a few phone calls but she learned it was her neighbour: “a person who has a family to look after, works full time and has health issues of his own.”
A week or so later he reappeared when she was out trying to shovel the snow herself.
“He came home, saw me, left what he was doing and came over and helped. I couldn’t have managed it on my own,” she said. “He’s not the only neighbour who has come to my aid. Several others have too. Good people are everywhere.”
And it’s not just neighbours, it’s relative strangers too.
Pat Wagner was at Thermoproof Windows the other day when her dog Bella bolted out the back door. An employee, Rachel, took off after the miniature Shar Pei.
“Rachel went above and beyond literally — she went down another road and brought Bella back!” Wagner emailed.
So there’s hope I guess.
They may not be extraordinary things, but the little things we do for each other matter. They can have a profound effect on how we both view and interact with the world around us. I, for one, wouldn’t mind a little more happy news.
Keep those emails coming.