January 4, 2018 – Politeness
The other day I witnessed politeness in nature. A female and male Cardinal landed on the deck to partake of the cracker crumbs I had put out there. The male Cardinal allowed the female to eat first. Then as he was getting ready to eat, a small sparrow flew down. The male bird flew up to a nearby tree branch and waited as the sparrow ate.
Just as the sparrow left, a starling flew down. The Cardinal stayed up in the branch until the starling was finished, then flew down to have his dinner. The reason I believe he was being polite is because there was plenty of food spread all along the railings of the deck and he could have landed at any spot there.
All through my life I have basically dealt with three types of people; those who are polite, those who are rude and those who seem to be indifferent. I won’t lie to you, but when I was in my teens I had times when I was rude and times when I wasn’t as polite as I should have been.
In my defense I will state that when I was rude it was usually directed back to someone who was rude to me or I was under a great deal of stress at the time, but I knew never to be rude or indifferent to my parents and siblings or other adults when my parents were around. My mother would have drug me to the kitchen sink and washed my mouth out with Fels Naptha soap.
For the most part, I have always tried to be polite and respectful. I was taught the basics like saying “yes ma’am, yes sir, please, excuse me and thank you”. I was also taught to hold the doors for others, to move out of someones way and to help those who were elderly or handicapped. Even though there were events in early adulthood where being polite didn’t diffuse a situation, and I was often made to apologize for something I didn’t do, or wasn’t wrong, I still tried.
Living in larger cities, I quickly discovered that there were plenty of rude and indifferent people. The rude ones would literally run you over or push you out of their way. The indifferent ones would ignore you, not acknowledging when you said “excuse me, sorry, or pardon me” but would totally act as if you did not exist or sometimes let out a “huff” because you interfered with what they considered their “right of way”.
I understand that sometimes it is hard to be polite, especially if you are rushing or under a great deal of stress, and it is even harder to be polite when someone is being down right rude to you. I’ve had people crowd me as I entered a doorway, pushing past me and actually pushing me up against the door jam. I have had people run over me in the grocery store, literally hitting me with their cart, and while I would say excuse me, they would barrel past me like I wasn’t even there.
My mother said if you couldn’t say something nice to someone, then don’t say anything at all. And while this might work in certain circumstances I still consider it an act of rudeness. Today I am thankful for all the people in this little town that go out of their way to be polite and I am thankful that the Lord constantly reminds me, that no matter what the circumstance, I should always consider the feelings of others and be as polite as I can whether they reciprocate or not.
January 5, 2018 – Quiet Nights
The last neighborhood I lived in, in Cleveland, before I moved this quiet little town was not the kind you wanted to walk around in at night. We lived above the restaurant my son worked at. At the bottom of the steps that went up to the apartment was a 3 inch thick steel door with an automatic lock. It locked as soon as it closed and it closed pretty fast.
In back was a deck that ran the length of the building and a small back yard down the stairs that was mainly used by the restaurant, with a fence around it and barbed wire around the top. I think that pretty much says what kind of neighborhood it was.
There were quite a few businesses on the main street that were pretty busy during the day, but almost all of them closed up before night fall. It wasn’t unusual to here gun shots and sirens off and on all night long and it wasn’t unusual to hear a fight spill over into the street from the bar across the street.
My bedroom and office faced the front, but I never went near those windows at night. I didn’t want to become a victim of a stray bullet. Unfortunately there are many neighborhoods like this, not just in Cleveland, but in every major city and some smaller ones all over the world. Violence has become a lifestyle for many.
We live on one of the main streets in town (I think there are only four main streets) and during the day it is pretty busy. There is a lot of traffic since it is the only street that goes down to Walmart and the exits to the freeway, and the grade school is less than a full block away from us, so there are quite a few children going back and forth during the daylight hours.
The house we rent in this rural town of only a little of four thousand has a back deck that stretches out into the yard. For the most part, our yard is pretty private with the garage blocking out one house on one side and foliage and trees growing on the other. I like to walk out there after dark and just stare at the sky. It is so awesome to look up and actually see the stars.
If I wander out after about 10:00 PM, it is pretty quite out. There isn’t much traffic on the main street in front and only the occasional car on the next street over and for the most part all our neighbors are inside for the night.
Once in a great while we might have a police car shooting toward the freeway area with it’s sirens going, but for the most part, the sidewalks have all been rolled up for the night.
I like to stand out on the deck and listen to the quiet. Sure, there may be a lonely dog bark once awhile out in his yard, or a night bird squawking as it flies over head, and in the warmer months you can here the chirping of the insects and a few frogs, but still, to me, it is quiet. Today I am thankful for these quiet nights, so unlike the ones I experienced living in larger cities.