When I was a child, my family lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake gets a lot of snow and everyone is responsible for removing their own.
Our next door neighbors were an elderly couple–the Hedins. By elderly, I want to make clear that they were both in their 90s when we moved in.
And yet, when it snowed, if we weren’t fast enough, Mr. Hedin would be out there shoveling our snow.
My parents did the only thing they could in the situation–make sure to get up earlier to shovel the Hedin’s snow. I mean, who wants their 90+ year old neighbor shoveling your snow? My parents were in their late thirties, healthy, and had healthy (albeit whiny) children who were all capapble of shoveling snow.
So, any time it snowed, my dad and brothers would be out shoveling before Mr. Hedin could possibly get out there!
Later, we acquired a snow blower and my brother snow-blew (is that a word?) the whole block.
Now, we lived in a rather transient low-income neighborhood. Lots of old houses that had been turned into apartments. Lots of people who came and went (except, of course, the Hedins, who were obviously the original owners of their house). We knew some by sight, some by name, and some not at all.
In retrospect, I’m guessing that neighbor Joe who dressed like he was a cast member in Welcome Back Kotter and spent his days smoking on the porch was probably on the left end of the political spectrum. The guy across the street who named his son Liberty Bell was probably on the right end of the spectrum.
Some of the people on our street were undoubtedly not making good life choices. Some were making seriously bad choices. Some my parents agreed with. Some my parents disagreed with. Some shared our family’s values and some did not.
And you know what? No one cared. Everyone was grateful that my brother and his snow blower cleared off the sidewalks every time it snowed. He may have received some money for his work, but it certainly wasn’t a requirement.
Our family had the snowblower and it would have been considered rude to just snow blow our own length of sidewalk and driveway.
That’s how I was raised.
And so I’ve seen this article where a liberal woman frets about what it means when her “Trumpite” neighbors plowed her driveway, shared around the internet. She worries about what it means.
It means her neighbors own a snow plow and she doesn’t. It means that her neighbors don’t spend time judging people based on what they think before deeming them worthy to have their driveways plowed. It means her neighbors, like my parents and my little brother, saw someone with a need and took care of it.
Try being nice to people you don’t agree with. Heck, try being nice to people without first finding out who they voted for. And if they are horrible people? Who cares? You’ve done something nice and made the world a better place. And if someone does something nice for you? Say thank you. People like this aren’t expecting anything more. It’s just what neighbors do.