Helping Hands

Kodecker brought one of her friends up from the beach to help us with the mess left behind from Saturday’s storm. Bless her sweet heart, she got up early to drive over an hour and then helped drag giant limbs off downed power lines. Those helping hands of hers saved us a couple hundred dollars.

Brandon made breakfast for everybody to say thank you. I wish we could’ve spent more time together, but Kodecker had to get back in time for work. After she headed home, I smiled while thinking about how her driving all that way to lend a hand exhibited our shared cultural values.

In North Carolina, we’re brought up to prize benevolence. The value of spreading good deeds is shared from one end of the state to the other. It’s not necessarily taught to us, either. We witness the helpfulness of others daily.

When I was a little thing, cattle occasionally escaped Papaw Cochran’s pasture. Every time, the young men of Dutch Cove gathered to round them up. I remember watching from the porch as Daddy and our neighbors, Ronnie and Paul, chased cattle all over the mountain.

Many years later, during the Haywood County flooding of 2004, teenage boys in 4x4s stood guard at flooded bridges helping people cross over to safety. Others went from house to house to wake sleeping families and warn them of danger.

My mama is known to give shelter to any family or friend who may need it. It felt like our home had a constant rotation of cousins holed up in the spare bedroom. Her generosity applied to my friends, too. During my teen years, many of them found a safe haven on our couch.

Storms bring out the very best of people on the coast. Once during a tropical depression, I watched a group of men jump out of their cars at a stoplight to push an elderly man’s vehicle to higher ground after he bottomed out in a flooded lane.

These aren’t random occurrences, either. Last year, Belle rushed forward to assist a woman who slipped outside the grocery store. And this morning, Brandon went to help his daddy move furniture out of a storage unit.

When I start feeling down about the state of the world, I remember all of these instances – and it makes my heart happy. I’m thankful that helping hands are just a beautiful way of life around here.

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