Jerry and Hercules

     Jerry stopped at my office to talk last summer.  He did not know me; he did not need legal services.  Jerry had seen Kim and me working on our office grounds.  Introducing himself seemed like a good idea.  So, Jerry turned his sassy electric cart into our driveway and made acquaintance.  Hercules, Jerry’s seven year old 155 pound black Newfoundland-Labrador mix gave me a sniff, then consented to ear and tail scratching.  In 1965, Jerry lost his left leg at the knee to bone cancer after he served in the Navy.  His craft, before retirement, was plumbing.  We talked about prostheses and sidewalks (that Jerry has the one and Shoreline lacks the other).  Hercules wondered why Jerry interrupted their daily stroll, but thought sniffing our back yard an exceptionally good idea.  Jerry and I chatted on a bench in the back yard.   We spoke of South Dakota, where Jerry might move.  We spoke of Shoreline, its wonders and bedevilments.  Jerry has returned repeatedly, for no particularly pressing reason other than getting to know one another.  Our visits cheer us.

     Jerry’s stops at Lancaster Law Office matter.  Jerry and Hercules mortared a brick in Shoreline’s communal house.  They made connections where none had previously existed.  They brightened our day, and possibly we theirs.  Jerry helped me wish well for Shoreline, and know another’s view of our togetherness—the helpful and the horrid.  Jerry broadened me.  Hercules the giant dog informed Lucy the miniature pinscher that she is not the Big Canine she imagines.  I wished for sidewalks everywhere to keep Jerry and Hercules safe.  I thought I may stroll more, and introduce myself to complete strangers for no reason at all.  Gratuitous kindness seems warranted.  I may pick up others’ trash.  In grim moments, I may hope; gray faces spawn only gray faces.  Jerry and Hercules stirred me up.

     Gestures cumulate.  Kindnesses knit strangers into communities.  Ella Wheeler Wilcox (American, 20th century A.D.) captured the truth:  “So many gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind, while just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs.”  That may be corny, but it is credible corn.

     Thanks, Jerry and Hercules.  Good to know you.