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Kindness doesn’t have to end

Imagine being alone in the middle of a pandemic and you get you lawn mower out for the first lawn mowing of the season. You haven’t had time to get it serviced because when the shutdown started on March 13, we were still wearing winter coats.

It happened to Tamaqua resident Marie Tenant, who said she started the tractor, drove it out of the shed and then it just died.

I would have kicked the thing and then went inside, nursing my sore foot. Marie left it in the yard.

“After a while my neighbor noticed the tractor sitting in the yard and asked if the battery was dead. She offered to bring over her portable battery charger and hooked it up to my battery. The engine started and I was able to get the grass cut.”

In the country you have to depend on your neighbors.

“She certainly came through for me,” Marie said.

People all over the area looked out for each other during the pandemic. But will it continue?

On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic - 66 days according to a self-help website.

Many of us have been home since March 13. Fast forward to today and that’s 92 days, long enough for the habit of being nice to our neighbors to sink in.

We can do this. When we return to normal or even just “green phase,” we need to still make time to help those around us.

A survey by BusinessElectric.com showed that one in five Pennsylvanians met their neighbor for the first time during lockdown.

The online electricity comparison and resource site conducted a survey of 4,000 Americans to find out how many had their first interaction with their neighbor ever during the lockdown period.

Are you one of those people?

If you live in town, that may be hard to believe, but if you live in the country and work all the time, maybe you never do see your neighbor.

In the past months, people really stepped up their efforts to care.

We know about the parades. A group in Palmerton began hosting parades every single day for several weeks of our lockdown in red phase. People just showed up and organized in a parking lot before they drove by to honor people who had birthdays and other special events.

A woman from Lansford knew a man who could use some help. It was the height of the run on stores. He isn’t well and walks to the store, so even if he got there he couldn’t have really stocked up.

She put out a request on Facebook and people responded with soup, soap and yes, toilet paper.

She drove around to pick up supplies because there was a need.

On another day the Carbon Community Foundation surprised grocery shoppers in the senior risk category by paying their grocery bill.

Something like this doesn’t just happen. People have to donate to make that happen.

Here’s another one: Members of Rush Township Police Department made deliveries to elderly residents in the township.

On Easter Sunday, a couple from Palmerton delivered dinners to many residents who were alone and unable to be with their families. Dinner included ham, potato salad, macaroni salad, homemade paska and dessert.

I united with friends over Jell-O. My husband likes sugar-free gelatin as a snack, and even before the pandemic hit the artificial dye laced fake food was getting hard to come by. My husband is in a high-risk category so we decided I would go to the store every few weeks and stock up as best as I could. Hard to do that when I couldn’t find his nighttime snack.

I didn’t know anyone else ate Jell-O.

I mentioned it to my co-worker because her husband works in a grocery store. One day I opened the door to find a bag of the stuff on my porch.

Another friend did the same thing for me.

Might not sound like much but it made both of us very happy.

No one knows when our green phase will end, but if we are careful and deliberate, we can make sure our kindness phase does not end.