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This community displays kindness in many ways

I was raised in the ghetto of Minneapolis so the friendly small-town flavor of the Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park community is delightful to me. The other day while shopping at Hallmark in Cottage Grove a lovely young woman, Nichole, came up to me and said, “Do you mind if I talk to you?” As we chatted she took notes on her iPad and her little girl, Ali, stood by watching and listening. Nichole said she decided that this year, every day, she was going to talk to one new person and so far she’s accomplished that. She said only one woman had said, “You’re weird.”

At Christmas time, I went to the St. Paul Park Post Office to mail a package. The clerk was very busy but cheerful and kind. Everyone in line was chatting with one another. Some elderly gentleman came in, recognized a guy in line I was talking to, John, and they greeted one another. John, I’d found out in our chance meeting, was a resident of Grey Cloud Island, as was the fellow who greeted him. I used to attend a Bible study there at the Hales’, who are longtime residents. What a treat for a city woman. I told my newfound acquaintances and the clerk, “This whole thing smacks of Mayberry, and I expect Andy or Barney Fife to walk in any minute.”

The Cottage Grove library where I spend a lot of time is the same way. Laura, Pat, Ray-Ann and others are always so helpful, even when the photocopy machine is quirky or steals some coins. At Rainbow Foods, the produce manager and I always kid around or chat a bit.

In many ways this is becoming a scary world and we do have to be cautious, using good common sense. To acknowledge that another human being, no matter age, race, social position is valuable and worthy of respect and to be treated with kindness and dignity because they are made in the image of God is becoming a lost art. But not in this community.