“Late night HELP! Does anyone have box fans? HVAC emergency. Will pick up tonight.” The town crier wasn’t standing in the street soliciting assistance, but he may as well have been. The message came through on Facebook, on the Westport Front Porch page. I did, so I replied right away, “I have a large round fan (which someone on Westport Gift Economy gave me); you’re welcome to borrow. Can you come pick it up now?”
At 9:40 “J” pulled up in front of my place – I felt a bit odd standing outside in my comfy leggings and oversized T-shirt in the dark – and rolled his window down. “Thank you so much. The HVAC system failed, and when I went in it was 102 degrees.” He spoke of a nearby, well-loved, independently owned, charitably-minded ice cream and candy shop. “No worries at all,” I told him. "Keep it for as long as you like. Save the ice cream!” And off he rode to do just that.
Between the time I wandered outside to meet him and when I nestled myself back on the sofa, the post had blown up with offers of fans from all over town. He replied “Everyone – I believe we are all set! This group is amazing. Running around now to pick fans up from Diane and another Westport Front Porch member. Thank you all of you, seriously.”
I don’t know how late into the night they fought to prevent an epic meltdown, but I walked by the shop the next morning, and everything looked very peaceful. I’m hoping they managed to get the HVAC system repaired (damn these persistent humid summer temperatures!) and save the sweet inventory.
Many of the subsequent comments on his post echoed my own feelings of awe and gratitude that we live in a town and have technology that allows us to support each other – friends and strangers alike. Of late, this particular site has reflected the current times: scared, angry, controversial posts about Covid and politics abounded. The administrators reminded us that while these issues were valid, they were not the main focus of the page, which is intended to create and support community. Plenty of other pages focus on the merits of mask-wearing or one candidate vs. another. This page is the country store where we gather to cheer each other on, gather communal intelligence, and lend a hand when it’s needed. It takes a village, and this page and others like it around the world provide that virtually. And in this coronavirus-laden time, that has become even more important. I, for one, am a big fan.
PS: “J” returned the fan, along with a small white bag containing a very sweet thank you. The repairs saved the system...and the frozen goodies.