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Water Leak Wisdom

Wisdom can come from the most unexpected places. In this short story, neighborly encounters that are less than ideal still provide teachable moments.



“Hello, can I help you?” Katie asked as she opened the front door. The doorbell had rung unexpectedly, and she found a young adult, maybe early twenties, on her front step. He obviously wasn’t selling anything, dressed casually in loungewear.


“Yes, your contractors left a mess in front of my Mom’s house, and my Mom wanted me to come let you know,” he said brusquely. Not quite rude, but also far from pleasant. Accusatory might be a more proper word. “The ones that redid your driveway,” he added, gesturing to the one single square covered in gravel, out of six or so untouched slabs in the entire driveway.


Puzzled, she thought to herself If we were getting our driveway redone, why would we pick one single square and leave the rest of the driveway alone?


The truth of the matter was that the meter box had been leaking for a couple weeks. The water had flowed at a slow but constant crawl from the meter box and down the street, including past the messenger’s house. As this was obviously an issue for the county to fix, it had been reported. Within a week, a crew came out and determined that one square had to be removed as the leak was coming from the main line under Katie’s driveway.


The county brought in equipment, removed the slab, and dug a section about three or four feet down. Five-gallon buckets of muddy water were removed from the new hole one at a time and sloshed down the street. Eventually after multiple hours, the leak was fixed. The hole was filled with dirt and topped with gravel until a separate crew would come to pour a new slab. Wrapping up, the workers sprayed down the street so as to remove any debris or mud in the street.


Katie replied to the young man, “They are not our contractors. They work for the county and were fixing a water main leak.”


Before Katie can add anything else, he yelled from her front stoop to his mother two houses down, “Hey Mom, she said they work for the county. Yeah, the county.”


Katie, jarred from his decibel level and unable to see said mother, raises an eyebrow. The young man turns and leaves without any further word, acknowledgment, or otherwise.


Katie decided to take a walk not long after, as she typically does, and looked thoroughly at that respective house. Nothing, save for a little bit of dirt from water runoff. No clumps, and definitely not any damage. Literally the only thing different was that tiniest bit of discolored water runoff (on the street no less) that would wash away the next time it rained. And not even a hard rain, just a general passing shower.


Glancing at their backyard as she passed, their fence continued to be in the midst of a slow but methodical takeover of untamed shrubs and kudzu. Weeds and vines alike had captured the back portion and were halfway towards their goal of taking the two other sides. It was noteworthy in that the fence had not yet collapsed from what must be a considerable amount of weight.


Sighing, Katie walked the remaining distance to her own house. She could think of a few teachable moments in this particular instance.


Kindness and understanding goes a long way.
Never assume you know the whole story.
Ask relevant questions before you take up the mantle of someone else’s errand.
Pick your battles.
Pointing fingers when your yard is not in order is ill-advised.
Perhaps, more than one side is being inconvenienced.
Minor inconveniences can prevent major inconveniences.
You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control how you react to them.

And with the thought of that last lesson, Katie brushed off the earlier encounter and went inside. She was looking forward to cooking a new recipe, and an evening full of laughter with her family. And, of course, a soon to be poured slab of concrete.


She knew the perfect playlist of music to queue up.





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2 comentários


Charlotte A. Cason
Charlotte A. Cason
21 de set. de 2022

Lot of good advice in this story!!!!

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Holly Bills
Holly Bills
25 de set. de 2022
Respondendo a

Agreed! Lessons are in everything.

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