On the television news, I listen to the reports and watch the videos of backed-up highways and jackknifed semi-trucks and vehicles in ditches and toast my own fortunate circumstances with a cup of hot coffee. It’s not that you gloat over the hardships of others so much as acknowledge your gratitude not to be part of them.
I can hardly remember Florida and the warm temperatures and blooming bougainvillea and screaming seagulls of a few days ago. Instead of gleaming turquoise, the sea that laps around the Indiana winter house is white.
My man who shovels appears like clockwork. I don’t know much about him. He’s a sad man, a very hard worker. I assume he is an addict of some kind. He disappears sometimes and again, I make assumptions that he is in jail. I overpay him as I always do. Sometimes, I let him shovel even though I could easily get out of the drive because I know he needs the money. I have given him food and socks and coat once. My son disapproves. He thinks I’m too trusting.
“Don’t let him in the house. Keep your gun handy. Keep your doors locked.”
I’m not totally naive but, on the other hand, I refuse to live my life as if everyone is out to get me.
“What if it was you, John?” I ask. “How would I want someone to treat you?”
He thinks it could never be him but I know it could be any of us if fate deals us the wrong cards.
Vicki Williams is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached through the newspaper at firstname.lastname@example.org.