Thank you to the strangers who make my life work

Jim Redwine

One recent morning at 5 a.m. I woke up thirsty and went to the kitchen for a drink of water. While my eyes were beginning to engage, I reached into the cabinet for a glass. Then I managed to locate the faucet and turned it on.

Clear, potable water came rushing out. I did not need to walk to the pond or draw a bucket from a well. It suddenly occurred to me that somehow from somewhere someone had done me a great service. And they did not even know me.

It was Thursday, so I knew I needed to get our trash out. I collected the week’s refuse of leftovers and packaging and took it to our gate by the road. Later that day, as I went to the post office, I noticed the trash was gone. My mail box contained greetings from two health care solicitors -- we must now be in a demographics database. But it also contained cards from our kids and some important information from the V.A. Someone who did not know us cared enough to send it.

To get to the post office, I drove on paved roads with proper markings and directions such as traffic control. Somebody must have sweated in the heat and shivered in the cold to help me get to the post office. And, of course, somebody at the post office who was neither friend nor family got our mail to us.

There were street lights helping to guide my way and a police officer watching out as he sat in his patrol car near the café. He may have been enjoying a cup of free coffee but he deserved it. He was there for us and he did not know us.

Who are all these people who provide water and garbage collection and sewer and street and energy and safety and health care? Why do they do it, especially all those town and city and county politicians who serve on boards and in offices that keep the lights on and the streets both navigable and safe? Many of them serve without pay or any financial benefits. Why do they give of their time and labor to serve the rest of us?

When I see news footage from other countries, where people are without power or safety for themselves and their families, I not only feel for them, but I realize how good we have it. It even will sometimes slow down my complaining about all the services I receive from people who do not know me and have no reason to want to. Every now and then, through the dark glass of pessimism, a small light works its way into my psyche and I remember how lucky I am.

So, thank you to all of you who helped me slake my thirst. I will try to complain less and enjoy more. That should last a day or two if I do not watch cable news.