© Another Day in the Country
How is it that we fool ourselves into believing that what we do doesn’t count? “No one will notice,” we tell ourselves. “Who’s going to know? This doesn’t matter. It’s just this once.” And the excuses go on and on into eternity, whether we actually verbalize them or not. We forget that indisputable law that says for every action there is a reaction.
Every action counts, whether it is a positive move or a negative jab. They all matter! When someone throws trash in the front yard or out the window of the car, that action counts because eventually everyone else in the environment has to deal with that trash. When someone picks it up, that counts, too!
Every time someone loses their temper and lashes out, every time someone takes something that doesn’t belong to them, every time a bill isn’t paid or an obligation is not met, it matters. Someone else will have to take care of that neglect. We all know that those of us who are law-abiding taxpayers, PAY every time someone else decides that it is nobody’s business if they break the rule.
Obeying the rules that have been communally agreed upon in any little village, hamlet, town, or city is part of the game in a civilized country. If you want the shelter of the community, you cooperate. If you want the benefits that the nation has to offer, you support that nation. If you want to use the system, you pay your part to help maintain that system whether it’s the sewer system, the water system, or the county roads.
Thanks to all of you who do your part, and especially those who volunteer to do extra.
Sometimes a poor little community almost buckles under the weight of the neer-do-wells shirking their responsibility. How many good, honest people can counteract the force of meanness? How many cooperative folk can corral the energy of one person bent on destroying? It may sound discouraging, but we’ve got to try!
There are plenty of stories in history that give an awful account of the uncivilized intent on destroying what the organized folk accomplished. Whether it was Atilla the Hun or Mongol hordes intent to burn and pillage, greed and meanness has fueled a lot of history.
Now that civilization really has the upper hand, those who like to fight and ruin are more corralled; but even on this small scale their disruptiveness can seriously damage a community.
And what do we do? The only thing I know is that we keep on keeping on. We do good things, every chance we get. We clean up, prop up, fix up and speak up. And, we underline those good deeds, talk about them, remember them, and thank the people who do them.
Since long before Jimmy Fallon began sending thank-you notes on late night television, my sister has been sending thank-you notes. She’s actually religious about the practice and I believe we should all become converts.
A park clean-up day was called in my town this past weekend. We’re getting ready for spring and all that it entails like Easter celebrations and Memorial Day picnics. Just a few precious people showed up. It was humble, repetitive work, pruning, picking up limbs and trash, fixing equipment, repairing vandalism, and painting — stuff they’d all done before in this very place.
These were the folk who raised funds for a bathroom in the park, who planted trees and organized celebrations. Seldom are they thanked, usually taken for granted, often unappreciated. They filled the afternoon with good action. As you read this, perhaps you know those kind of people from your neighborhood? Say “thanks,” write them a note. Every action counts.
After all that limb-picking and trash-hauling, I was hungry for some comfort food so I came home and made a batch of poor man’s Cookies. They’re yummy and easy. Line an 8x12 cookie sheet with foil, set your oven at 350. Put 1 cup of raisins and 2 cups of water into a pot and cook until 1 cup of water remains. Add 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ cup shortening, 1 teaspoon soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cloves, 2 cups of flour, and 1 egg. Stir this up, spread onto cookie sheet, and bake 20 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost lightly with powdered sugar icing (while warm). Now give half of them away.
I told the few still left in the park that these were “clean-up the park” cookies. You can name them anything you want, so long as you share them on another day in the country.