Many Hands

As you may know, St. Louis was hit with a doozie of a snowstorm this weekend.  We had sleet and a little freezing rain, followed by about a foot of snow, topped off with more sleet and freezing drizzle.  The result was super-slippery roads, resulting in many accidents, highway and street closures, and general misery for all those who were simply trying to get home at the end of a long week.

img_4454On Saturday morning, we awakened to what looked like a winter wonderland.  Snow was everywhere, at least a foot deep.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the dry, powdery snow that skiers love.  It was the heavy, soggy snow that can damage roofs and bushes, and even cause trees to drop branches on power lines.  When we saw that the tall bushes that line our property were bowing low under the weight of the snow, we quickly bundled up and headed outside to do some heavy-duty snow removal.

If you ever want proof that you aren’t young anymore, I can recommend trying to shovel two porches, two sidewalks and a driveway that holds seven cars….after you’ve already spent twenty minutes knocking snow off a few dozen bushes.  I started at the end of the driveway, where the snowplow had helpfully piled up the huge mountain of snow it had removed from the street.  My husband and I worked hard, but we both needed a break before we had shoveled even a fourth of the driveway.  I cooked breakfast, and while I was cleaning up, my husband headed back outside to tackle the driveway again.

I’ll go ahead and admit that I didn’t exactly hurry my way through the breakfast dishes.  I was still tired and sore (that snow pile at the end of the driveway was partially ice, and that stuff was heavy) and I figured it didn’t hurt to take a little longer break before I went back out.  I knew it was going to take hours to get everything shoveled, so there was no reason to hurry.

So you can imagine my surprise when I finally finished the dishes and looked outside to see that our driveway was almost completely cleared.  Especially since the man I saw shoveling the last bit of snow was not my husband.  In fact, there were actually three people out there helping my husband finish the driveway and I didn’t know recognize any of them.  I wondered, briefly, if they were some sort of service group who were out shoveling for the elderly.  But surely we’re not that old….

Turns out, they were neighbors who lived down the block and they told my husband that they had come to help simply because we had “the longest driveway in the neighborhood.” My husband thanked them profusely, but even so, I doubt they had any idea how much we appreciated their help.  It would have taken us hours to get everything shoveled and we would have been sore for days afterwards.

Lots of people are willing to help others as long as they are noticed and admired for their good work.  But far fewer people are willing to pitch in and help with no expectation of recognition or thanks, especially when the work required is truly hard.  Yet those people are a gift and a reminder to the rest of us that, wherever and whenever possible, we need to step forward and lend a helping hand.

One of my mother-in-law’s favorite sayings was, “Many hands make light work.”  And she was absolutely right.  Because when we work together, it’s amazing what can be accomplished.

76 thoughts on “Many Hands

    • LOL! No, not on a regular basis….just two cars. Although then our kids still lived at home in the summers while they were at college, we had four! Now we only have that many cars when we have a lot of company. But having such a long driveway is a pain…what we were thinking when we had our garage built behind our house, don’t ask me!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My neighbors and I have noticed the same thing, and we’ve also recognized that we all interact more when we are out shoveling and clearing our ways. there is a general helpfulness in walk clearing, with most people routinely shoveling more than “their” patch, which feels good all round.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It really does! We don’t know these particular neighbors very well, but have always bought stuff from their son when he’s selling things for his school or scout troop. So it was a very nice surprise to have them come down and help us. My husband and son have always shoveled the driveways of our elderly neighbors too…which is what made me wonder if it was our age that motivated them. But they weren’t that much younger than us, and they said it was the length of our driveway!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m happy to say that my neighborhood is really good that way too. It seems that too many are surprised that a neighbor would pitch in to help without being asked or paid. I grew up where everyone knew their neighbors (something that is becoming rare). In emergencies your neighbors were the first on the spot with an offer to help and they knew that if the tables were turned you would be there for them… Community is important!! Glad you have great neighbors!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know what you mean! We do know several of our neighbors, and we always help each other. What made this extra nice is that we didn’t know these people particularly well (it was our neighbor, her out-of-town brother and his wife) so it was especially nice of them to come help us! Community is very important, I think, and we all need to do all we can to preserve it.

      Liked by 3 people

    • How nice of you! We (and by we, I mostly mean my husband and my son) used to routinely shovel our elderly neighbor’s driveways and walks before they moved away), and I know they appreciated it. And it’s funny, because I almost named this post, “Share the load!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes our area got hit hard. Some poor people were stuck on the highways for over six hours! We feel very blessed that we were able to sleep in our own warm beds and had neighbors to help us shovel. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi. It’s good to have good neighbors. As simplistic as it sounds, good neighbors help make good neighborhoods.

    Here near Philly we had snow overnight, but only an inch. I didn’t even have to shovel. When I went outside to do the job, one of my neighbors had already done it for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pleasant occurrences such as those restore one’s faith in humanity. I quite enjoyed the mild ironies of being not so young anymore, a condition I can readily relate to, and the friendly snowplough leaving behind mounds of ice at the peripheries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, these do restore our faith in humanity. And yes, it’s not fun to be getting older, and the fact that our house is located just where the street takes a sharp turn to the left means we are “blessed” with lots of extra snow every time our street is plowed. But I know they are just doing their job, and it really can’t be helped. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a wonderful thing to have happened, Ann, and shows that there’s still kindness in the world, even though the media and politicians do all what they can to convince us from the opposite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, Sarah! I get so tired of how the media and political parties do everything they can to make us afraid of each other, because for the most part there is no reason to be. Of course there are some dangerous people out there, but I honestly believe that most people are good. And when we get an unexpected gesture of kindness from someone we don’t know well, with nothing expected in return, then we have proof that there really is a lot of kindness left in this world.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Beautiful story and wonderful reminder to commit random acts of kindness! There is good out there, and that is what we should strive to be and where we should focus our intention. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have good neighbours Ann. Please take care as “when combined with the inherent environmental conditions of winter, snow shoveling during or after a blizzard may be the “perfect storm” for a cardiac event. Shoveling snow places unusual stress on the cardiovascular system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right! That’s why I took a break when I did, as I could feel my heart beginning to beat a little too fast. It’s so easy to overdo, thinking that if we just keep shoveling a little bit longer, we’ll get it done. I have heard that far too many heart attacks are caused by shoveling snow. Thanks for the concern and the comment! We need to remember to be careful when shoveling heavy, wet snow.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a pleasant surprise that was for you and your husband to have distant neighbours come and help with the shovelling! While these people helped not to get recognition for their act of kindness, it is good to have them mentioned in your blog for everyone to see that good things are happening in spite of all the talk to the contrary. Encouraging post, Ann!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Peter! I knew I was going to write about it as soon as I saw what they had done, because you’re right, people do need to hear that goodness still exists all around us. We did drop off a small thank you later that evening, which seemed to surprise them. They didn’t expect anything in return for their help! I think they are a good example for all of us.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Overheard conversation from my youth.

    “Hey, you want some help shoveling?”
    “Sure.”
    “It’ll cost you.”
    “How much?”
    “Hot chocolate.”
    “We don’t have any milk.”
    “We’ll provide that.”
    “Don’t think we have any chocolate either.”
    “No problem, we got you covered on that too.”
    “We do however have peppermint schnapps.”
    “Perfect….”

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you for sharing this uplifting story! I continue to believe there are more good people than bad, or unhelpful, people. Right now, a neighbor of ours is helping my husband install some window screens and we both are very grateful for the assistance (it keeps me off a ladder – which I avoid since falling off one and breaking my hip a couple of years ago – and, believe me, he is much more competent than I would be).

    Liked by 2 people

    • I also believe there are more good people than bad in the world, despite what we seem to hear. I have seen too many examples to believe otherwise. For years, my husband used to shovel the driveway and walks of our two elderly neighbors. Their houses are now occupied by young couples, but obviously the tradition of shoveling for those who need a little help lives on!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Glad you guys got some help, Ann. It sure was thoughtful of your neighbors to give you a hand. Last week I shoveled a couple of inches of the wet stuff off our two-car driveway, and my back is still sore. Tonight, it is snowing again in Reno, so it looks like tomorrow will be another day of hard labor.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sometimes I miss snow, but not often, especially when talking about snow removal. I grimaced at your comment of the snow plow piling a mountain of snow at the end of your driveway. The helping hand of your neighbors made me smile. It’s the beginning of my day here and good to be reminded to simply give a helping hand where it’s needed. A better world…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Brenda! If I lived in a place without snow, I believe I’d miss it a little too. But I wouldn’t miss having to shovel through the piles the snow plows leave at the end of our driveways! Which is what made us extra grateful for our lovely neighbors. They’re an example to us all!

      Liked by 1 person

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