The ‘A-Team’ – saving the day for  ‘Cranky Gerri’

Can I brag on these people?

Surrounding me and ‘Cranky Gerri’ (that is how she introduced herself to me) in this picture are a group of individuals that displayed service in the most generous, caring way that I have seen in a long time.

The Northwest is known for its beautiful trees.  Tall stately Ponderosa pines, Western white pine, Douglas fir, Wester larch Quaking aspen, Netleaf hackberry, water birch black cottonwood trees and Oregon white Oak.

As you are already I aware, I spent most of my summer in Spokane, Washington where among other things I enjoyed the fantastic shade that the evergreen and maple trees provided.

Outdoor cookouts, playing catch, sipping a cup of coffee all were enjoyed avoiding the strong summer sunshine (YES, they have that in Eastern) because of the shade these trees provided.

But then comes Fall.

Those same huge, magnificent maple trees begin to shed their leaves as the nights become cold and winter begins knocking on the door. Thousands, if not millions of leaves, fall to the ground and must be picked up before the first major rain of the season.  There is just a small window of time between when the leaves fall and when the first significant rain falls during which the leaves need to be collected. You can find all the homeowners up and down the street out feverishly racing the clock.

That is all fine and dandy when you are strong, young and healthy. What happens when you get older and bit frail and can’t manage things quite like you used to? That is the situation that ‘Cranky’ Gerri found herself in. With literally a dozen maple trees on her property, she was in a real bind.

That is when you are thankful for the ‘A-team’.

That is what I call the people in this picture. Just like that old television show where Mr. T and his cohorts unexpectedly came in the nick of time and saved the day. This group saved the day for ‘Cranky’ Gerri.

One afternoon I came home to my sister and brother-in-law’s house to find this group of people going next door to rake ‘Cranky’ Gerri’s leaves. Here is what I found remarkable about their generous act.

1) They didn’t need to be begged or even asked. They just saw the need and offered.

2) They didn’t wait until they didn’t have anything else to do. They already had their own leaves to rake but wanted to help anyway.

3)They did it unheralded. No one except those involved and impacted even had a clue.

4)They did it thoroughly. When rain and darkness set in making it impossible for them to finish they simply came back the next day.

5)They did it without complaint. Yep, this was the kicker for me. As I raked alongside of them, not once did I hear a peep from any of six kids (aged 2-11) or their mother/leader that it was too cold, too hard, took too long, wanted to be doing something else, needed to be doing something else.  They didn’t even complain when the faint possibility of hot chocolate at grandma’s house afterwards could not happen because the task took too long.

Every single one of them went about this labor of love with a smile on their face. Raking, piling, collecting and disposing of the leaves FOR HOURS  – and they didn’t complain once.

The Junior members of the A-Team are:  Kaylynn 11, Kera 11, Austin 10, Cameron 8, Alysia 5 and Evey 2.

Their big-hearted mother/leader who led them and saw this need:  Allison.

Can I encourage you to lead your own ‘A-Team’? There is a ‘Cranky’ Gerri in every neighborhood that could use your help.


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