About a week ago, my doorbell rang. Although this does not sound unusual on the face of it, I don’t get many unexpected visitors and the ones I know are coming are mostly friends who either gently knock or simply let themselves in. The doorbell usually only rings when the visit has a more formal nature to it and, unfortunately, usually from someone trying to sell me something. Such was the case last week. My response is usually “thanks, but no thanks” (which, I should say, is an improvement - I didn’t used to be nearly so nice), and although this particular solicitor received much the same response, I also invited him to check back with me in a few days to see if his services were needed.
Today, my doorbell rang once again and once again I answered it expecting someone to try to sell me something. I was correct, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was the same solicitor following up on his prior sales call - at my invitation. Daniel lives in my neighborhood; he is 12 years old. When he first came around, he wanted to know if he could do any yard work or wash my car. My yard didn’t need any tending and my car was recently washed, so I told him to keep an eye on my car and when it looks like it’s dirty, hit me up. I haven’t washed it since - not in anticipation of Daniel’s return (I didn’t really think he’d come back) - but because I have been too busy.
As I loaded my computer and my camera (and my coffee, newspaper, breakfast bar and all the other crap I haul to work everyday) into my car, I noticed that a couple of birds had made their presence known upon the hood of my car. True, it might have been the same bird on a particularly productive day, but the evidence was prominent - it was washday for sure. Fortunately, my opportunistic neighbor noticed that my car was dirty and again offered his services. I have a 2007 Toyota Camry SE… not a huge car, but not exactly a compact either. I asked young Daniel how much he would charge for a car like mine. “Well, it’s not too big… I’d say about seven dollars.” I said, “How about ten?” We had a deal.
While Daniel rode his bike home to get his bucket and washrags, I moved my car to the middle of the driveway and uncoiled the hose. He spent about 15 or 20 minutes washing my car - except for a strip about one foot wide on the roof that he couldn’t reach. While washing my car, he attracted the attention of two young girls riding by on their bikes. They obviously knew each other, but the girls appeared to appreciate this young man’s initiative. I know I do.
And that is really the point of this piece; with all the politics and the polarization in this country, there is at least one young man who is out there doing something. He’s not asking for anything, he’s working for it. It gives me faith that perhaps, just maybe, this county still has at its core what made it great in the first place. In the face of adversity, when the easy way out just won’t do, the words of John F. Kennedy come to mind, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” And… what you can do for yourself. Daniel knows how.