Ear plugs were set firmly in place and I was focused on pulling the starting cord of my line trimmer. This was the first time I’d wintered my landscaping machines using newly formulated anti-aging fuel. I was hoping it lived up to its proclaimed benefits. And this was my analysis of those claims, the first attempted start for the season.
“Here goes nothing,” I said while giving the cord a pull.
I’d been here every spring for years and years. With traditionally formulated fuel, I’d expend all my energy, for seemingly ages, to get even a sputter out of awakening machines. When the trimmer sputtered and quit on the first tug, my heart was cheered. I pulled again. It sputtered and quit. Then, on the third try, it started, sputtered and kept running, roughly. I held it in my hands and fiddled with the accelerator switch, just enough to keep coaxing it on until it ran smoothly. That’s when I noticed that a car had rolled up in the driveway behind me.
The combination of blocked ears and trimmer noise had deadened my senses to the arrival of a guest. I turned off my triumphantly sprung, back-to-life machine with the confidence of “new convert” to reformulated fuel, to greet my visitors.
A kind voice wafted out from an open car window. “Hi! I made you some bread. It’s banana bread.”
It was Siokapessi Tilini, one of my newer neighbors. I was a little surprised by her gesture, because I don’t often get visits from my neighbors. Conversely, I wasn’t surprised at all because of the smiling face in front of me. From the first time I met Siokapessi and her husband, Tevita, I’ve marveled at their genuinely warm and open nature. It was the same at this moment. Her smile and presence were as if a second sun had begun to light my day. I thanked her and she backed out of my driveway.
I walked back to my trimmer, marveling at fuel reformulation, and the wonder of how the kindness of one person can reformulate an entire day, environment or life.
“Reformulation of gasoline and diesel fuel removes many pollutants at the refinery, so smog-forming compounds never reach the tailpipe,” Greg Easterbroom has written. “Developed in the late 1980s by chemists at the Arco oil company, petroleum reformulation is a social boon most people don’t even know occurred.”
Easterbroom’s words passed through my mind again as my ear plugs were set firmly in place and I focused on pulling the starting cord of my line trimmer. I now wondered if the Tilinis were the equivalent of a reformulated fuel for winterized hearts. Both are a social boon with proven, marvelous results. And this is my confirmation of both claims, the first successful start for the season for my line trimmer, and my warmer, grateful heart.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.