A mystery person dropped off a copy of the newspaper at my parents house this past Thursday. There was a note, referring to page 2.
It turns out that one of the hundreds of people that my Dad has helped through the many years wrote a letter about him and submitted it to their "Random Acts of Kindness" column.
The ironic part is that this guy only knew my Dad for 3 hours. He didn't know he was sick. He didn't know that 3 days later,he would be admitted to the hospital for a swollen leg caused by a blood clot.
Helping this man was my Dad's last "job". The last time he held a shovel in his hands. It's so fitting that he asked for a handshake as payment. My Dad has worked like this his whole life. He regularly underestimates his own knowledge and efforts. Even when my Mom read this letter to him, he brushed it off, like he didn't see the reason for all of the fuss. He didn't think he had done anything special.
My Dad is not well. Cancer has beaten him down to these last days. He is a strong man, with a huge heart. I am trying very hard to memorize the green color of his eyes, the size of his hands, the sound of his voice.
Here is a glimpse of who my Dad is:
Random Acts of Kindness: The septic tank savior
Thursday, March 25, 2010
This old fellow just likes lending hand to strangers"Brian, I'd like to make an appointment to have my septic tank cleaned ..."
"OK Tim, but first, you need to unearth the lid, and I don't know where it is. Find Al K., he installed your system years ago for the previous owners, he'll know where it is."
Sunday after Christmas my house had odors. The ground wasn't frozen, so I started to dig. After an hour I found the top of the tank but no lid. Frustrated, I went to find Al K. I pulled up to his house and a youngish-looking, 70-or-so woman splitting wood greeted me. I apologized for intruding on Sunday and she replied with a huge smile, "No problem, we work every day," as if it were their true joy.
Al was napping in his fifth-generation farmhouse in a rocker, in his work clothes, basking in the sun that streamed through the picture window. I hated to wake him. His wife tapped him on the shoulder.
I told him my plight and he asked, "Is momma still splittin' wood?" I said yes. He replied, "You can't find 'em like that anymore," and then he said, "Let's go take a look at the septic system."
It turns out, Al did not install my system but looked at my progress, and then this 74-year-old stranger grabbed a shovel and started digging. As I ran for another shovel I worried: How much does a septic pro cost on a Sunday? You can ask my friends, I'm cheap that way, I don't know why.
Together we unearthed the lid. He took his time and explained what was going on and checked all the plumbing from the house.
I took him home. We pulled up to his house and he said jokingly, "Looks like momma quit as soon as I left." He wouldn't take any money and explained that he does things for people just to help them, and he asked for a handshake.
We shook hands and I gave him a few sticks of really good kielbasa. I really hope he enjoyed it.
TIM HOPEY, Richland
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10084/1045493-294.stm#ixzz0jTZVMQy8