By Barbara Morris
Those who keep their word are to be admired. Somehow though, those furry little groundhogs tried a little too hard to prove their point this year.
Having endured an old-fashioned winter, with temperatures below freezing and even below zero throughout, when Feb. 2 came many of us watched with interest to see what those famous weather predictors would do. The suspense was soon over when the little critters emerged, saw their shadows and then ducked back inside for six more weeks of “go away and leave me alone.”
Laughter rang out as non-believers thought they didn’t know what they were doing. That day the sun was shining. “Surely,” they thought, “spring is on the way.” Before the end of that same week, Feb. 6 to be exact, snow began falling.
The next morning it looked like someone had dropped huge globs of whipped cream all over southeast Queens. It did look pretty at first, but as shovels uncovered leaves and thoughtlessly tossed litter, and traffic turned beauty into dirty slush, I longed for spring.
Looking for a bright side, I thought of the plants and how they had suffered from the nasty 2002 drought. All this snow would surely benefit them. I also thought of some of the people who might benefit from a little fresh air and exercise.
Many years ago when I was growing up, youngsters would race out with shovel in hand at the early cover of snow, eager to please their parents. It wasn’t a matter of money — we got no such recompense. We just wanted to help and please.
Unfortunately, these days there aren’t too many young people with that attitude. We hope that if you know such youngsters you not only praise them but their parents, as well, for a job well done.
Speaking of doing jobs well, we should all be grateful for the good services we receive. We would rather not have to pay higher taxes or higher fares, but I think we get super service all the time and if, during this fiscal crisis, that is what will help keep the jobs of those who serve us so well, that is money well spent.
Last summer I was asked to complain about our local Department of Sanitation people taking their morning break at two local convenience stores. I declined. The day prior had been very hot. A brief shower had left puddles in the street. As I walked toward the area that was to be the site of complaint, I envisioned those huge Sanitation trucks as community elephants going to a watering hole.
As a volunteer, I was glad to see that these honest, hard-working folks were willing to spend their money where they work. Both the stores concerned had spent a lot of money upgrading, which improved the appearance of that area.
Some of that money had been obtained from sales made to our Sanitation friends. I hope they keep spending their breaks with us there. It is a wide street, they do not park illegally (as some of our very own neighbors insist on doing) and they are polite and pleasant to have around.
So, here’s a pat on the backs of Sanitation workers. They do us a great service, quietly helping the environment by recycling or removing debris that is often heavy and dirty, and they do so good-naturedly. They are very much appreciated by me and, I hope, by everyone.
Of course, the Sanitation workers are not alone in providing excellent service. Regular readers of this column know I admire and applaud the New York Police Department and the Fire Department of New York; they’re absolutely terrific.
And, compared with transportation services in other areas, ours tops most, even though our hearts sink when we’re in a rush and a stream of “not-in-service” buses whizzes by. If you’re not familiar with the N4 buses, they sometimes fly by even when they’re in service and someone runs into the street trying to flag down a partially empty bus.
Let’s all try to appreciate the good things we have — and tell someone.