by Ben Broderick from Duncan, BC
Last winter, like most of the country, we got a lot of snow.
Having spent a great deal of time in the Prairies and in the north, I am fond of this weather and everything that comes with it – including shoveling snow.
One night after work, in the middle of one of our large snowfalls, I went to work on my driveway. When I shovel our driveway, I usually do our neighbour’s across the street and sometimes the folks beside us too as our neighbours are older than us and not as keen on snow shovelling as I am.
But this year after the first big dump my enthusiasm for the second one was a little below standard. As I was looking, forlornly, at the snow deep on the driveways across the street and beside me, along came a couple of young men keen for an opportunity to earn some money. I knew I had one more driveway in me after my own was done, but not two. So I hired the young men to shovel my next door neighbour’s driveway, on the condition they not tell my neighbours I had paid them to do so.
The kids did a pretty good job, the younger a little whiney, but the older guy was a great worker.
As I knew he would, my neighbour came out to find out what was going on on his property. At first his approach was rather challenging. They told him, as per our agreement, that they were doing the work as a free community service.
When I was done my own driveway I moved across the street and found the going a little heavy there so when they were done I gave them some more money to help out again on the same understanding that they were just a couple of young people doing good things.
We parted company with three driveways done, and with me feeling very righteous over both
paying the kids and refusing all credit.
A few days later, my neighbour, who is less than
enthusiastic about the quality of modern youth, displayed a heart-warming change of attitude when he saw me in the street. He told me that two of today's wonderful young people had come and shovelled his walk without being asked and without asking for a thing. It was a
wonderful testimonial to today's young folks he said, something I had never heard him say before. I felt doubly righteous. This feeling of
smug comfort lasted a couple more days until my neighbour’s wife mentioned to me that her husband was so pleased with these young men that he gave them $20 for their work. The little buggers never said a word about that to me!
That pretty well put an end to my righteousness!