An Act of Kindness That Reveals Tarrytown’s True Nature

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by Joan Raiselis – 

When I walked into the kitchen on the last day of the year, my husband Fred was sitting at our big table. The coffee was made. He asked how I was doing. I wasn’t doing well. Late last night, my brother Richard had called to tell me that our brother Bob had died. At times like these, the trivial can be a welcome distraction, and as I stood there, stupefied by what my world was now without one of my cherished siblings, I heard the garbage truck.

“Oh Fred. We didn’t put the garbage out.”

As if it mattered, on this day.

“I think,” Fred said, “that you don’t have to worry about the garbage today.”

He was right, of course. Whether the garbage stayed in the bin for another week didn’t matter; it was sufficiently cold outside. In my pajamas, I watched out the front window as the truck pulled up aligned to my neighbor’s bin; the arm with the claw extended out, grabbed the bin in just the right place, dumped and set it down again.  The truck then rolled about twenty feet and stopped, blocking our driveway. One of the regular DPW guys who have been coming to our street for years and years got out of the truck, walked to where we keep the bin under the trees on the side of our driveway and rolled it into place under the claw. It was as if, on this particular house on this particular day, he felt the need to make the effort. His simple gesture at once both broke and healed my heart.

He would have no idea what this act of kindness would mean for me, but that didn’t matter.  This act was a part of a larger mosaic of care and belonging that is Tarrytown.  It embodies the way that I have always felt in this village: looked after, held together, a part of a larger community that transcends many barriers that could so easily separate us.

So, I wanted to relay the significance of this seemingly small yet incredibly meaningful gesture to say thank you – for all the gestures that get done because they are maybe easy to do or are right to do but may not get acknowledged.  And for the ones that do get acknowledged as well.  They are part of the glue that holds the heart of this community together, that shapes the way we react and act toward one another, that makes the humble and brilliant and soulful village that is Tarrytown.

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