upon the small gestures that civil society is
based, said Carl. And it is on the
failure to observe the ordinary kindnesses, that
it is eroded. Carl made this lofty
statement while staring out at the young student
next door cleaning the snow off her car with a
ragged snow brush, the kind bought at a gas
station convenience store for a couple of dollars.
Most of the snow the girl heaved off the hood and
roof of her car landed on Carl's freshly
shovelled sidewalk, so maybe he had a point,
especially as she made no effort to clean up the
mess on the pavement before she drove off. Carl
narrated the scene, and his outrage, to his wife,
Deborah, who sat behind him in her wing back
chair, knitting. He turned to see if she was
Deborah had a
seemingly endless supply of colourful yarn and
created magnificent lengths of knitting; frothy,
frilly, lacy things full of sparkles for women,
sensible wooly scarves for men, and fluffy little
scarves and mitts for children. Carl did not know
what she did with them all, sold them he supposed.
He had seen women in the neighbourhood with
familiar looking designs draped over the
shoulders of their winter jackets or tucked up
under their chin.
Mrs. Morrison down the street must have bought an
entire set of scarves and matching mitts for her
wretched gaggle of boys, because the little
buggers had waved enthusiastically at Carl the
other day, flashing their new mittens like
warning flags. He imagined that they were ready
for another snowball fight on the way to school.
Last week Carl went out to yell at them to 'break
it up' and 'get a move on' when one of the boys
tossed a snowball that landed on the front step.
Accidentally, the boy claimed, because he was
actually trying to hit his brother. It did not
matter to Carl, he gave the boys an ear chewing
anyways. The students next door deserved an ear
the lull in her husband's diatribe and without
missing a stitch or even altering the rhythmic
click-clack of her knitting needles, she inserted
the appropriately sympathetic, but neutral.
Kids will be kids, Carl.
excuse for bad behaviour.
all young once, dear.
isn't right, and I'm going to say something to
that girl the next time I see her, said
Carl. To her and the boyfriend. He's worse
than the girl.
knitted faster. It had been a bad winter and Carl's
patience grew thinner and thinner with every
snowfall. The triple set of scarves and mittens
she dropped off with Mrs. Morrison, (plus a shawl
for the woman herself) had taken a month to knit,
and as soon as Deborah finished the scarf she was
working on for the mailman, who had cut across
the lawn and dragged snow onto the front steps,
she would start on something nice for the
students next door.