VIEWPOINT: Learning life lessons at a young age


Hats off to everyone who has to brave the heat to keep our society functioning.
When I was younger, 85 degrees did not seem so hot, but now you’d think I was a popsicle in the desert and melting fast.
I appreciate the men and women who deliver the mail, pave the roads, fix the power lines, roof houses and mow the grass — to name a few — while working in hot, humid conditions. Thank you for keeping the rest of us safe and comfortable.
When I was a kid growing up on the north side of Chicago, my parents bought an 1890s Victorian house. There was a big porch that wrapped half way around the house, and part of that was screened in.  
We had porch furniture and at times I slept out there on really hot nights, because the old place did not have air conditioning.
During the hot summer days, my mother would always put out a glass of ice water or lemonade for the mailman. I was only about 10 or 11 then. She would put the glass on a table right next to the mailbox. We always had the doors and windows open on those hot days, and I could hear the mailman come up, drop the mail, pick up the glass, set it down and yell “thank you” through the open door.
It was no big thing, but later in life I realized how much this taught me as a child.
This would have been about 1960. Our mailman was African American. At a time when African Americans were seeking equality with the white world, my mom was practicing that on our front porch. In an age where in some areas drinking fountains were separate for whites and non whites, my mom was using our everyday glassware to offer someone a cold drink on a hot day. She was being compassionate toward another human being.
That’s what I want to remind everyone. We are all human beings…regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, nationality or whatever. We all cry when a loved one dies, we all bleed when cut, we all need each other.
And a cold glass of water on a hot day.
Lately I have been thinking that really rich people can do anything they want because they are really rich. Maybe Lady Justice isn’t blind after all. Or maybe I think too much.

Terry Dickow is a retired elementary school teacher with lots of opinions, some you will like, some you won’t. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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