When you live in a city the size of Dallas, it is great to live in a neighborhood like Oak Cliff, where the emphasis is on neighbor. We have great neighbors, but one did the "above and beyond" the call of duty for us today.
Several years ago I joined a community garden group and at the first meeting I met Van. At the time, he was actively working on his dream of an Oak Cliff Earth Day. When we finally turned the first shovel of dirt on our garden, Van was there, pitching in, even though he did not have a plot there. He worked tirelessly in helping us accomplish our goal.
The next time I came across Van, he was recruiting people to help plant trees to beautify a median on a major thoroughfare in our neighborhood. He worked to get the trees donated and enough volunteers to plant trees through a significant portion of the street.
When Facebook started, he began a group called Oak Cliff Gardeners, where you can find all sorts of great information and resources from a like minded group. When I went to see his "garden" I realized what an expert he is on the topic. He does not have a yard, he has a garden, a front garden and a back garden, with a pond, and incredible attention to detail.
Last night Dallas was hit with frozen rain, sleet, and ice. He posted a picture of his cleared driveway and sidewalk and offered to do others for $20. I commented that I would gladly pay for him to clear my parents' drive, as I am sure Dad will try to get out sometime today. Dad doesn't like to stay indoors for any length of time.
Within a short time, I heard the unmistakable sound of someone clearing a sidewalk with a snow shovel. Sure enough, it was Van. He worked until he had every tiny bit of ice cleared from their sidewalks and driveway. He sent me in for my camera for a picture of Annabel who had been clearing our walk. When I came out, he was gone, before I could even thank him, much less provide something warm to drink and any type of payment.
So hear is it, "Thank you, Van, for all you do!"