Saturday, May 28, 2011

An Ordinary Guy

Garden with some tulips and narcissusWell, spring certainly came late to the farm this year. The past few weeks have been chilly, wet, and dreary -- more reminiscent, I imagine, of the northeastern coast of Wales, whence my ancestors came, than coastal Maine. The upside of all this has been my yard no longer looks like August in Colorado, brown and bone dry. The downside is, mowing the grass yesterday was more like harvesting the autumn hay crop.

I'm not complaining, though, nor am I disgruntled because spring decided to take the slow train from wherever. I've wrestled enough with my own "tardiness demons" to be empathetic when the clock runs behind for someone else. Rather than giving spring a good spanking for dragging its heels, I'm welcoming it with open arms. The Prodigal Son has come home at last.

Besides the rain, this means there was a blanket of fog draped over the hayfield when I crawled out of bed this morning, awakened rudely by the sound of water, a steady stream tinkling from my puppy's bladder onto the towels in his crate. Oops. That's what towels are for, right? And it was only his first night and I'd probably pee, too, if it was me, or have to or want to. Something I think he'd like to do again, as a matter of fact, so pardon us while we step away from the computer for a minute and go outside.

False alarm -- he's gone back to sleep, a momentary reprieve. Crate training is a grand experiment. I tried it with my big dog and he did well with house-breaking. Since the little guy has been in a shelter, I thought a crate would make him feel more at home and give him a place all his own. Thus far, it seems to be working; he's slept through most of this post. I can only hope readers don't take the hint and follow his example.

Getting back to spring and grass-growing, it's possible you're wondering why I waited so long to begin mowing, aside from the fact that it's rained almost daily. Well, there was my rotation for one thing. Twelve hours a day at the hospital doesn't leave much time for yard work and that includes repairing the flat tire on my lawn tractor. When I finally had a day free, I discovered it was virtually impossible, with the tools I had, to get the rim off the tractor.

I was, as my late father would say, stuck. I couldn't drive the tractor to the garage because it had a flat and couldn't trailer it because I don't have a trailer. So, I did what any self-respecting future physician should do, namely, phone a colleague and ask for assistance. And that's what I did. I rang up my mechanic, a down-to-earth, easy-going type who is fond of referring to himself as the Car Doc, at least when he's repairing my car, and asked if he'd make a house call. I figured it had to come with the territory.

Now here's what I love about rural Mainers. Not only did the "doctor" take me seriously, though he's probably never had a case quite like this, he actually sent help. A friend of his came over and together we manhandled the tire and rim free. He followed up by insisting on taking it for repair and refused to take a dime in payment. I've never met the man before but he treated me like his next door neighbor.

Driving home -- turns out, the tire was fine, by the way, just a little low in oxygen saturation -- I reflected on what had happened. I've got a graduate degree, nearly two more, and the fellow I'd just met graduated, maybe, from high school. Yet, the measure of his kindness exceeded that which I've experienced from persons who are far more socially adept as well as academically accomplished. He was simply an ordinary guy who enjoyed doing something good for someone else and today was my day to be that person. If spring hadn't been late, if my tractor tire hadn't gone flat, if I hadn't been working so much, think what I would have missed.


(Creative Commons image via Wikipedia)
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