EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE

by David Sisler

In January 1964, Monday nights at 9:30 on NBC became the place to be for biting political satire. Nancy Ames sang the headlines to start the show. Tom Lehrer wrote many of the songs. David Frost, Alan Alda and Henry Morgan told us "That Was the Week That Was."

We have been living through several weeks that "was" and we fervently hope never are again. Tornadoes devastated communities in widely scattered areas. Teenaged gunmen devastated lives in Colorado. Babies in California died when a maniac decided to kill innocents. Innocence has been a real casualty lately.

Network television gave us their rendering of the Bible a few nights ago, scrambling Genesis so badly that it little resembled its original autographs. Media moguls once again proved that the Church should never leave its job of telling the Good News in the hands of the world.

Not reaching the scale of any of the above disasters by any stretch of the imagination, I had a calamity last week of my own. My computer was doing strange things and I suggested to my son, Michael, that he reinstall Windows 95 and see if that would help. It has before. This time it made things worse. Much worse.

What followed is proof that caring people still live and work in our neighborhood.

When Mike and I do something to the computer that we cannot undo, and that scenario, thankfully, does not occur too often, I load it in the car, strap it in the seatbelt and take it to Ron Hyde at One-Stop Computing. When I walked into the shop Friday morning, Ron greeted me with a knowing smile. I explained I really needed the machine back that day because it was "Grade Weekend" that every six week occurrence when the residents of the Sisler abode leave home while the school teacher puts her grades into the computer.

Ron called Tim Fletcher, the technical wizard, over and I explained what was, and was not, happening. He asked Tim to put aside what he was working on and get us up and running that afternoon.

Alas, the best laid plans of mice and computer tecs oft times go astray. A corporate client had a disaster and Tim went into the field. But he came back that night at 9:30 and worked well past midnight on my machine.

The next day was graduation day for Augusta State University and Amy Sisler Herrington. I was sitting in the auditorium just before the proceedings began, when my beeper tingled. Prepared for the occasion, I slipped my cell phone out of my pocket, returned the call and Cindy Thomason from One-Stop answered. Our machine was ready, but since the business was not open, she was coordinating with me to pick up the old Pentium. When I explained my predicament, she said, "I will come back at two o'clock and meet you. Is that convenient?"

Three people went out of their way to help us. The students who get their grades on time may not be appreciative, but we certainly were.

After Amy was suitably graduated, the only Bachelor of Music degree to be awarded, Bonnie and I decided to try one of Augusta's newer restaurants for lunch and stopped in Chili's. We learned later that there had been an accident of some sort in the kitchen and meals were slow in coming out. We placed our orders and enjoyed the wait, catching up on the week it is amazing how two people who live in the same house can be so busy in such different directions that they seem not to have time to talk to each other.

About 30 minutes I glanced at my watch and said, "Do you suppose they are foraging for our food?" We did notice folks around us who had come in after us, getting their food while we waited, more or less patiently. Finally our food came out, carried by a man who was not our waiter. He apologized for the delay and said he would come back and talk to us when we had finished our meal.

We scarfed down the groceries, enjoying our repast. As our waiter departed to cash us out, Pete Grieco, one of the restaurant's managers, and our impromptu server, came back. He apologized again for the delay, and gave us cards entitling us to free food nothing to buy, just stop in and enjoy some edibles on the house.

There has been so much meanness in our society lately. It was nice, when, if only for twenty-four hours, a few folks did more than they had to, making last week, maybe not the week that was, but at least one that had more kindness and generosity than usual.

-30-

Published in the Augusta Chronicle 5/15/99

Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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