We recently had a neighbor move in on the corner of the block. The house he purchased had exchanged many hands over the course of the past twenty-two years, or so. It was owned by a not-so-present landlord and was frankly, an eye-sore. Frat-boys partied it up, two kids dug a hole in the front garden, digging half-way to China, weeds encroached the yard’s border, making us cross the street for an evening walk. Paint was chipping and peeling, the lawn was unhappy and the old house was putting a frown on the neighborhood’s face.
I spoke with the new owner, “Joe”, and thanked him profusely for the great job he was doing renovating his new home. He said a simple, “thank you, Ma’am”.
In the ensuing conversation, I inquired about his life’s history: he’s a business owner, a former Marine, a family man. His politeness echoed back to his military background. I asked if he’d mind if he were featured on this blog and if he preferred his name be mentioned or not. True to form, he was happy to accommodate, yet humbly declined the use of name. But, he didn’t mind our sharing his pretty cool tattoo!
So, we wanted to take a minute to honor his polite and humble ways, his can-do attitude, his “fixer-upper” spunk, investment and service to our city, neighborhood, country and lives.
“So, why make a fuss” you might ask? “Someone bought an old house and is fixing it up. They are doing it with investment in mind. The neighborhood is happy because their property values will rise”. Point taken.
But I say, anytime effort, substance, beauty, or investing in something worthwhile occurs, it’s worth a kudos. In a society often fixated on the negative, where an eye-for-an-eye is condoned or even encouraged, where people carry a spy-glass in their pocket, examining flaws, downfalls and ineptitudes, isn’t it worth making an effort to highlight good things, people, those positive efforts?
Our city struggles with neighborhoods and housing, at various times and places. Someone chose to stay here and invest, fix up the old and run-down. Hooray! It doesn’t mean he’s perfect, it means he’s trying.
So how about finding someone to encourage when they are doing something right? Look for those who are being helpful, kind, putting forth an effort. Put the spotlight on them, and take it OFF all the negative noise and brew-ha-ha.
Joe is the first in a series of spot-lights, featuring everyday heroes and plodding pedestrians, moving in the right direction. We’re just taking a moment to say “thank you, you’re just great”!