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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Good is All Around Us - From My Window 7/13/22

Issue Date: July 13, 2022

Janie Thibodeau Martin

It is easy to obsess about things that are aggravating; but it isn't healthy to be in a state of anger, distress or frustration all the time.  Last week I had a day where I was blessed to find the good all around me three different times in three different ways, leaving no time for negative energy.

Thursday morning at the crack of dawn I was at the animal shelter taking care of the dogs.  When the cat person arrived, I spent some time talking with her since she'd recently lost her mother very unexpectedly.  She's dealing with all the issues related to disposing of a lifetime's accumulation of "stuff" at mom's house.  Her mom collected angel figurines and loved potted plants, and she had a lot of both.  The volunteer's sister had the bright idea of dropping off a plant and an angel at each one of mom's neighbor's houses; not only a gesture of the friendship the close-knit neighborhood shared with mom, but also a way of "downsizing" a lot of possessions.  I helped care for a friend in Oklahoma who collected decorative birdhouses, and her brother did something similar when she passed away.  At a small memorial held in her home, all the birdhouses were gathered on the patio and each person was invited to take one home.  I have my "Deb bird house" in a place where I see it daily.  What a clever way to thank people, while downsizing her possessions, and done in a way that I know delighted Deb.

After my dog duties and chat, I shook off some of the dog hair from my clothes and jumped in my car to drive to my mom's. She and I took an outing to Marinette, and on our way passed by the house of a dear person we both know.  It happened that she was outdoors, and on a whim I pulled in to say hello, since I very seldom get to see her.  We were admiring a project she and her husband had completed, adding a beautiful front porch to their home.  She told me a story.  After the porch was completed she was sitting on it watching the world go by.  She saw someone walking by she didn't know, but she called out a greeting and said something to the effect that she admired the drive the person had to exercise.  The person slowed and responded that they were having some difficult things in their life and needed the exercise and fresh air as a reset.  Our friend being the person she is, the conversation continued, and the walker was eventually invited up onto the porch to "set and chat a spell."  The visitor stayed an hour.

This story says a lot about our friend, but wouldn't be one bit surprising to anyone who knows her husband or her.  What struck me about the interaction, was "when was the last time I had a meaningful conversation with a stranger?"  I really can't recall.  And that is a shame, and says something about how rushed I can get; and how the severe political discord has gotten a lot of us reluctant to engage.  On my long drive home later, I thought about how our friend's actions match a gospel message we hear in church often ?? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  We are to treat one another as brothers and sisters.   I bet the former stranger went back to her challenging situation with a bit more peace in her heart, because a kind person cared enough to lend her porch, her time,  and her ear.

The last event occurred as we drove through Menekaunee.  My mom pointed out a house and said that a coworker of my father's at Social Services had lived there.  This coworker was of near-retirement age when my father started there; at the time of the story my sister and I were probably about four and two years old.  This coworker and another older woman at Dad's workplace bought a lovely little toy piano for us, and gave to my father saying, "this will be from Santa," or words to that effect.  Mom suspects they knew my father's little family was just getting started and there wouldn't be a lot of money for Christmas that year.

I actually remember that piano, although I was only four.  It was a wonderful toy, and Laura and I enjoyed it immensely.  (Mom recalls it being wonderful for a half hour after which the noise drove her crazy.)  But Mom's recollection has to be more than 60 years old.  Imagine, if you do something kind for someone else, they may still remember it, and you, long after you have died.  If this sweet lady was looking down from heaven last Thursday, she'd know her gesture is still appreciated.  What an aspirational way to be remembered.

We can complain about the divisions among us, or we can resolve to do what we can do ourselves to heal them; and in the process we feel better too.

Lord knows we can't look to our politicians to lead us toward unity; nothing is further from their minds.

Commercial:  Well we again have a "spare" cat.  This one moved herself in with our horse a few months back.  She's a classic grey tabby with a brown nose.  She's personality plus; obviously previously a pet she likes laps, being carried around, and never met a stranger.  She helps us with all outdoor work and is fine with non-aggressive dogs.  My vet said she's around two.  She has now had two sets of shots, is FELV negative and has been treated for fleas.  She's already spayed.  I tried hard to find her owner without any luck and she had no collar or microchip.  I absolutely love her but we have six rescue animals already.  I am trying hard to find her a good indoor home before winter, and will happily give her to the right person, free.  You have to be able to convince me you'll love her like we do.  If you know anyone who is looking for a "ready to love" cat, reach out to me.  I can probably deliver.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address:  Janiethibmartin@gmail.com.


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