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©January 2006

Carol Jane Remsburg




Grateful for Good Deeds




It was Black Friday, November 25th, 2005.  The chimes of midnight had struck signaling a new day coming, a bitterly cold day with a string of more just like it to follow.  There would be snow coming in the next few days.  My problem was my furnace, it was belching out heavy black smoke and it frightened me.  I was frantic over what to do, not knowing where to turn for help.  Worse, I hate asking anyone for anything. 


Back in October hubby had left a message for the gentleman who had installed our furnace about seven years ago when we renovated.  This same gentleman had come every year to service the furnace and all was good.  Last year we couldn't quite connect to make an appointment, and we let it go, knowing we would regret it.  We didn't hear anything back, but the heat pump sufficed for the time being.  Then about mid-November, I began calling but couldn't even leave a message because the voicemail for his business was full.  I kept trying to no avail.  Suddenly it was Thanksgiving, there was a cold snap and we had to turn on the furnace.  The furnace rumbled and roared, belching out great clouds of black, oily smoke.  It worked but I felt I couldn't fully rest or leave the house with it running.  It was too much of a fire hazard with all the black smoke billowing out.


On Thanksgiving night, I turned to my husband and asked him if there were someone else he knew who could step in and service the furnace.  He shook his head, he didn't know anyone either.  I felt so helpless, especially after growing up with my father who specialized in heating/air conditioning/refrigeration systems.  We talked about our options.  I didn't want to hit the phone book.  Hubby tried to reassure me that he would ask around at work the next day.  I left him to his television and went to check my email, the news and the weather as a ruse to think.  There had to be someone out there I could trust.  This wasn't a situation I could let go for long and I needed ideas.


Sometimes worry and fear obliterate rational thought.  I had spent the last two days not thinking about Thanksgiving and my blessings but about the furnace.  How was I going to get it fixed and who was I going to trust?  I had been burned in the past, it had made me gun-shy.  With Daddy gone more than eighteen years now, I should have contacts to call, but I didn't.  Part of that is also my hesitation to call others, to ask for help. 


There I sat in the dark of my little office, a niche fitted out as an afterthought of our renovation—and then I knew who to ask.  The answer had been there all along.  If there was anyone who knew someone who was reliable to fix my furnace, it was our electrician, Ken Twining.  This is the man who knows so much about everything and people.  He knows who is good and who isn't.  Further, he's more than my electrician, he's my friend. 


It's hard sometimes when you begin to lose touch with people just because life gets so busy.  It's a shallow statement, yet few are truer.  Our days are filled with our duties to work, home, and our families, leaving little time for the niceties that should be kept.  With often twelve to fourteen hours eaten out of most work days I'm lucky to help my daughter with her homework at night.  Hubby gets about five minutes of conversation for he too works long hours and his illness tires him.  In the end, we tend to focus inward rather than outward, readying ourselves for the next day and the next challenge.  The whine is a familiar refrain.  It makes me cringe to know its truth in my life.


There I sat in the darkness, the shadow kind to my eyes that I like with the sliding dimmers that Ken put in at my request.  Again, I hesitated to reach out and ask.  I was embarrassed.  I heard the furnace kick in and I walked out onto the back porch.  From the security light on the garage, I could see the black smoke pouring out and knew my sleep would be a ragged affair again.  I couldn't wait any longer.  I had to ask, so I sent him an email hoping that by maybe on Monday he would offer me a suggestion.  I couldn't hope for anything sooner than that, but the next morning there was an email waiting for me from Ken.


He is a wonderful man.  He sent me the name and phone number of a gentleman to call that morning, Mr. Majors, and that I should mention Ken's name.  I made the call hoping for an appointment perhaps mid to late in the week.  Meanwhile, I would hold my breath and hope for the best. 


Unbeknownst to me, Ken had been a busy fellow.  He had already contacted Mr. Majors and called in a favor, of that I'm sure.  I could tell Mr. Majors was an "in demand" man but by the grace of the heavens, he came around within an hour, putting off other work he had already scheduled. 


By noon, my furnace was fixed and serviced by the best of the best.  My heart was no longer choking my throat with worry.  I had been provided the best of service without being gouged, and I would have offered up most of my Christmas money just to see it fixed, but I didn't have to. 


Mr. Majors and his help-mate were wonderful, kind, and most efficient.  I now have someone I know to call whenever I have a heating problem and he will get all of my business and if anyone asks, I'll be sure to recommend him.  If I can manage it, Mr. Majors will keep busy and have all the clients he'll ever need. 


However, it was Ken who did more than offer me a phone number and a name.  It was Ken who had ensured immediate service.  It was Ken who, besides being a wizard at electrical devices, has a ready wit and enjoys confounding me with questions about phone service I have to go find out about.  It was Ken, my friend, who looked out after me, made sure my family and I would be safe and warm.  It was Ken who took away my fears and worries. 


There is often so much bad news in the world, but I can tell you that good deeds happen every day.  If we are lucky and blessed, we reach out and others back to us. 



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