I FINALLY UNDERSTAND! We returned from Florida to what meteorologists are calling the most “extreme” winter in a generation — with March yet to come. Minnesota typically gets more snow in March than any other month. With piles already four, five, even six feet high along sidewalks and driveways, where will we put it all? But today, I understand why we live here, why we do what we do. My story doesn’t rank up there with the Parable of the Good Samaritan, but it focuses on the same question.
Yesterday I was backing out of the alley for a 1 p.m. meeting. Much to my surprise – and disappointment – the plow had been down 51st street and left a high ridge of hard snow. With well practiced determination I punched down on the accelerator – at least as much as seemed prudent given I could not see over the piles of snow blocking views of the sidewalk or street. My trusty 1999 Chevy Cavalier found its perch atop the wall of hard snow. “Aren’t plows supposed to make it easier for cars to get about?” I grumbled.
No amount of sand under the tires or revving the motor was going to budge my car from high center. A man happened to be walking by, introduced himself as someone who lived in an adjoining block, and was soon on his knees shoveling. Our neighbor, Jeff from four houses north stopped attending to his driveway and quickly came to my aid. Within minutes an anonymous couple just driving past stopped to help with broad, knowing smiles. All four, not just the neighbor I knew, took turns down on their knees chipping snow from under the chaises. Two of the three shovels were brought to the task by these unknown Good Samaritans. No one chided me for my foolishness.
In what seemed like record speed for one feeling so foolish and frustrated, the four got in front of the car and “rocked” me free. Then, these three “strangers” dispersed as quickly as a flash mob at Penn Station. Driving away, I noticed Jeff through the rear view mirror remaining to clear the scene so other impertinent drivers wouldn’t have the same problem. I arrived at my meeting on time.
Why do we live in Minnesota? IT’S THE PEOPLE! In the Parable of the Good Samaritan an expert in the Law, wanting to justify himself, asks “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus flips the question around, and hopefully the self-satisfied legalist, to make an incisive point: Our neighbor is anyone — even a stranger — who needs us to be neighbor to them!
Yes, there are good people everywhere. But, my experience tells me we just have a higher concentration of great, caring people here in Minnesota. I would like to be proven wrong!