Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Baker City's Ordinary Isn't Quite That

Sunday morning I got a phone call from a lawyer I do work for sometimes, his office had been hit by a car and could I come down? I pulled into the parking lot and there was a late 90s Buick reposing in the block wall, right up to the windshield. The eighty year old lady driver was unhurt, other than absolute mortification. She was talking to the police officer who was busy soothing her. As I was cutting blocks loose from the car so it could be winched out of the building, neighbors came by offering food to the owners of the building, checking on the driver's condition and generally trying to be helpful.

In Baker City, on a Sunday in the late building season, no building supply houses are open and I needed some materials to cover that hole. Dick Hindman, dressed in his Sunday best, met me at Cashway Lumber and opened up so I could get some studs, plywood, and various little items to cover up the hole. The profit on that sale scarcely covered his gasoline costs, much less time, and etc. but I needed it for an emergency, so he covered me.

Back at the scene the owners gave me a ride to pick up my '50 COE Chevy dump truck for debris disposal. The truck drew admirers, who also had to get a good look at Gus - he's a 155 pound Great White Pyrennes who seems to have to go to work with me. The building's owners were trying to soothe the old lady, she'd seen the mess inside the hole, what was the firm's law library. Their concern was that she was alright physically and that she wasn't beating herself up over the damage.

I got the hole covered and the roof structure supported and the mess cleaned up and headed for home, reflecting. Neighbors helping neighbors and caring about their neighbors, pretty ordinary around here, but also, maybe, a bit extraordinary. Funny how much I like it here.

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