Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kindness of Strangers

Photography is one way to capture memories. Another way is to write about it. That is what I attempt to do today.

The kindness of a stranger can be the brightest thing we'll ever see when things are bleak and dreary.

This happened to our young family in 1977. My wife, three year old daughter, and I had purchased two and a half acres of undeveloped land outside of Brooksville, Florida. We knew no one in town, and had hired a transfer company to haul our 14 x 70 mobile home from New Port Richey to our new property. 


Our acreage was 600 feet off the paved road and we wanted the front of the trailer to be nearest the dirt road. So, I suggested that the driver back our trailer down the path and advised where he ought to begin turning. He no sooner got the back tires of the semi-truck off the pavement and they began to spin and bury themselves. He disconnected the truck before the tires got too far down into the earth. Fortunately he had a farm tractor with his equipment. Hooking it to the trailer those giant wheels gave us opportunity to applaud the instantaneous progress! But as soon as the steering wheel was turned THOSE wheels began to dig away at the dirt. He unhooked the trailer from the tractor, told us he did everything he could do, and left us defenseless in a strange land. We felt absolutely deserted!

Picture this: a one lane dirt road, vacant lands on both sides, and a 14 x 70 mobile home stretching across both sides and beyond. We wondered if our new neighbors, whom we had never met, would be agitated, angry, or worse.

And we were broke, having no money to stay in a motel. The three of us stayed in that trailer for at least two nights with no electric, no water, and no hope. At night, we wondered if someone would drive into the trailer, shoot at it, or attack in some other way.

Again, we knew no one, but we drove to town trying to find answers for our questions about this involuntary dilemma we were in. If a farm tractor can't move that trailer from that sand pit, what would? And how much would that cost us?

Through a variety of folks it was finally advised that we contact an excavating business. Our hopes began to rise as the plan unfolded. After spending the last two days and nights in hopeless wonder we were grateful for anything that appeared to be positive reinforcement.

The "tiny" Caterpillar was pulled on a trailer behind his pickup truck. He hooked the pickup to the front hitch of our trailer, then drove the Caterpillar to the rear of our trailer. Chains were connected to the axle, allowing the "Cat" to pull it. Long story short, it worked!  

We had no idea what this "expensive" equipment would cost, and I suppose the owner was in a predicament regarding how much to charge the newcomers. His kindness has been remembered over the past thirty three years, because a meager fee of $50 was all the bill came to. Wow! Relief! Hope returned to our damaged hearts and we could see light again! All because of a stranger's kindness.

PS: Our neighbors ended up being wonderful folks, each of whom we loved dearly!

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