Cementing Relationships

This was originally posted by Hodgepodge in alt.callahans.

A very strange thing happened here in suburbia a few days ago…

This past weekend, I noticed a neighbor of mine repairing his sidewalk. He had removed a number of broken sections (thanks to numerous trees in his yard). He had rented a cement mixer (portable – not a truck). He was laying new forms for the cement. He was allmost ready to pour the cement which would form a new, flat sidewalk that would no longer be a safety hazard to folks walking to his front door.

This particular neighbor is in his 60s. He and his wife never had children of their own, but both have always been exceptionally nice to the neighborhood children.

On Halloween, they host a “haunted house”. At Christmas, they always have gifts for all the children who live nearby. At Easter time, they host an Easter egg hunt in their yard. One would have to look far and wide to find a couple of people who care more for children than they do.

It is because of this that I was so shocked this past weekend…

Seeing as how this gentleman has helped me do so many chores around my house in the past few years, I offered my assistance to him in his task.

We finished preparing the site for his new sidewalk. Then we mixed the cement. Then, we began pouring the new cement walkway leading to his front door. After laboring for a number of hours, we finished. To those of you who have never poured cement, it is back-breaking work. A portion of cement the size of a medium bag of dog food weight more than 100 pounds!

We were both exhausted. We each opened a beer and sat down to admire our work. Just then, two neighbor children came riding down the street on their bicycles. Seeing the fresh cement walkway, they cut across his lawn, and rode the bikes right across the fresh (still wet) cement, leaving bike tire tracks across the fruit of our labors…

My neighbor, totally out of character, immediately started screaming obcenities at the children. I had never heard him use such language! Especially directed at kids! His tirade lasted a few minutes. He was angrier than I had ever seen him!

When he finally cooled down, I asked him, “Ah, John. I am surprised. I thought that you loved all the children around here.”

He looked over at me and responded, “In the abstract, yes. But, not in the concrete!”

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