...because of Rubin.
I was moving our annual load of wood chips from the street end of the driveway to the beds needing cover. We get free wood chips from arborists. They need somewhere to put them. We need mulch for the beds. It's a great deal all around.
Moving slowly, because that's what I do these days, I filled the wheelbarrow and pushed it to the bed. Dumping the wood chips in piles, I cover the whole area then come back later with a rake to even the coverage. This is no small pile of chips. I figure it will take me days to get it all spread.
A nice young (to me) man on his morning walk says hi as he passes and I return the greeting. Then he stops. "Do you want some help?"
I smile. "Yeah."
"I'll help you."
"Really? You want to get sweaty and dirty?"
He shrugs and comes closer. So I hand him the shovel and tell him my work plan. He starts loading the wheelbarrow and we add a couple of unused recycling bins to make the work go faster. He loads. I haul and dump.
For three hours we work together and visit. He is from Mexico and just returned from a visit to his family. His oldest son, now 19, is there and wants to stay. Rubin would move back in a heartbeat if he could--but he has a house and is suffering from the drop in property values. He doesn't want to lose money by selling it now. I think he is lonely and a bit homesick.
Rubin suddenly says, "Well...I gotta go." We shake hands. I thank him again. "Thank you for giving me something to do," he says, and he is on his way. I send him off with zucchini and cucumber and invite him to come back in a few weeks to get tomatoes and serranos. (I hope he will.)
To me, Rubin is an angel. He worked tirelessly for three hours, making my work much faster and easier. We spread 3/4 of the chips. The remainder my neighbor will use.
Today, because I didn't have to do both the loading and hauling yesterday, my usually cranky low back is only speaking to me when I first start to move, but it loosens up easily. I can walk without struggle.