Volunteered to help out a group of neighbors I'd never met on a project yesterday that more than one person had told me earlier in the week we were crazy (and some more colorful terms) to undertake, clearing out a building in our downtown whose owner is trying to sell it. Quite frankly the cleaning out part was absolutely necessary if he hopes to land a buyer. And I most certainly wish him well on that.
We worked through a two story building which was one too many stories for this guy. Luckily we had a surfeit of younger and stronger arms, backs and legs to get done in short order all that we needed to get done by day's end. I'm learning in my near-dotage that being a resident is pretty easy, get yourself an address and you're in, but being a good citizen is a chore and a half.
I smiled walking back from the project at about half past one, actually it was more of a grimace from aching in places about which previously I have only a notional idea about, and I was gimping instead of walking. I can do stairs-I have the legs of a dancer, admittedly, but the knees require some assembly and lots of up and down take a toll. But as I said, I smiled because it was a tiny step forward in a town I've called home or as close to it as I'm likely to ever again get, for the last twenty-one years.
And enough folks turned out to make the project a success. We didn't argue about who should do what or in what order to do which things. We just jumped in and did and we did good. When I got here I was struck by how many of the people around me seemed to have their eyes or at least their hearts closed to those with whom they shared the city. It's taken a while, okay, more than a while and we're not quite ready yet top get our swerve on but we're getting there.
Thanks for not just making the difference but for being it as well to Joanne, Patti, Jill, Sofee, Maria, Miria, Jackie, Debra, Susan, Beryl, Robert (can't see myself calling you Bob) Jason (don't know how to get the umlaut over the O) Phil, Gerry, Deo, David, a Coastie with the mostie who never said a word, and a few more folks whose names I failed utterly to recall if I heard them at all. I smile and nod and say 'sir ' and 'ma'am' and that seems to work. And yeah, I'm riding the enthusiasm handbrake a little bit-it was, after all only one building and we have a downtown filled with challenges.
If I were realist I'd concede that perhaps we won't get them all squared away but a decade ago we wouldn't have filled a phone booth on a Saturday in March with people who would have been willing to try. Now, of course, phone booths are relics but we have more than enough folks rolling up their sleeves who are willing to say this is my town.