ValueSpeak - A Weekly Column by Joseph Walker
It was hot
that summer in
admittedly, is a little like saying that it was cold at the North Pole. Or rainy in
is worth noting that it was hot that summer in
And not just during the day. For a three-week period of time it didn’t get below 100 degrees – day or night. I don’t know if that was a record or anything. I just know it was hot.
Constantly. Persistently. Incessantly.
Part of my
reason for being in
I’ll never forget the first time it happened. It was a humble home in the southwestern part of town, and although it was still relatively early in the day the temperature was already approaching 110 degrees. The woman who answered the door wore an expression I was used to seeing: impatience mixed with slight agitation. I started to explain why I was there, but she cut me off with a wave of her hand.
“I don’t want to hear about it,” she said.
I wasn’t surprised, and I braced myself for the door slam that was sure to follow. But instead of slamming her door shut, she pushed it open wider.
“Why don’t you come in out of the heat,” she said. “I’ll get you some water.”
I hesitated for a moment. The only people who had ever invited me into their homes before were people who wanted to hear what I had to say. I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond to someone who wanted to reject me and protect me – all in the same breath.
Eventually I came to my senses enough to go into her home and enjoy a few minutes of her kind hospitality. We chatted as I sipped my water, and then she sent me on my way – refreshed, both body and spirit, by her kindness. This same scenario played itself out numerous times during the following two weeks of intense heat. Nobody wanted to actually talk to me, but nobody wanted to watch me suffer. So I met a lot of nice people, and I drank a lot of water.
And then, when the temperatures started to cool, the doors started slamming again.
a lot from the people of
No matter how hot it gets.
— © Joseph Walker
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