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Julie HawkOwl: The kindness of a stranger


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

On May 1, May Day, I took my sons on a bike ride to Mill River Recreational Area from our home. This is something I’ve been avoiding because Route 116 is between our house and this wonderful family park.

But COVID-19 has reduced traffic so much that I thought we could give it a try. It was a harrowing ride, because though my boys are amazing, they are not street savvy (due to lack of experience), and when my speed is about 8 mph, the number of cars I encounter is a lot higher than when I’m driving in my car (I know; this should have occurred to me, but it didn’t).

Anyway, we had a very reasonable two bike pileup on Sunderland Road, just a driveway or so north of the Harp. As I sat in a driveway cuddling my younger son, who’d bashed his knee on the gravelly shoulder, a kind bearded man — presumably from the Harp — who must have been headed south turned back and stopped by us to ask if we were OK. Touched, I said we were fine.

He kept going north, but since he’d been heading for the Harp, he turned back around up the street to get to his destination after checking in on us. As he drove by again, he stopped and invited us to come to the Harp and sit at the tables and get a glass of water — just knock on the window. My boys recovered quickly and didn’t want to put off having stick-boat races on the Mill River, so we didn’t take him up on it, but I wanted to share this story to show my gratitude and to hopefully lift up other people’s spirits when they read it.

Julie HawkOwl

Sunderland