BEUSCHEL: Neighbors turned on their heartlight

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, as has the sweet scent of sugar in the air. I still have a few heart-shaped Little Debbies tucked away to stretch out the festivities of the month.
Feb 21, 2013


There’s also a three-tier valentines box sitting in my living room that is the pride of my granddaughter since she won the prettiest and most colorful awards for her design. I’m always amazed at the design ideas I see on the valentines boxes: giraffes, monster trucks, turtles, "save the pandas," robots, and most amazing was a 3-foot origami swan basket. What talent!

Earlier this month, I got a valentine surprise that was heartwarming, to say the very least. It came on a snow day when the light, fluffy snow we had been getting turned into a heavy, wet, deep snow overnight. Up to that point, with the help of my granddaughter, I was able to shovel the lightweight snow while I was waiting for my snowplow service to get their equipment ready to go. 

A few weeks before this, I had come home from work to find my driveway had been plowed and I had no idea who had plowed it. I figured maybe the plows were back to work, but a call to my plow guy ended that idea, as they still weren’t in service yet. I figured at some point I’d find out how my driveway got plowed.

When the overnight heavy, deep snow fell, giving me a snow day, I knew I needed help getting my driveway cleared off. So I went to the Tribune classifieds and called a listed snowplow service. No problem — someone would be there in the afternoon to plow. I was thankful for that because I could barely lift a shovel of the newly fallen snow.

I was still walking around in my pajamas when the dogs started barking at 10:30. I went to the door to see what was happening, and there was a young boy shoveling my front stairs and sidewalk. Just as I was wondering where he had come from, I saw a truck with trailer at the end of my driveway and a man unloading a snow blower off the trailer. 

By the time I got my coat and boots on and got outside, the man had started to plow my driveway. I came to find out that he and his son were the ones who had come by before and plowed. As they worked away, I made attempts to move some of the snow while my granddaughter played away in her snow fort. 

The boy told me that, in a couple of hours, they would be leaving to go to Detroit for one of his hockey games, and that made me doubly amazed that they were here plowing my driveway. He told me that they lived down my street and around the bend. I knew where their house was by his description, but I had never met them before.

By the time the job got finished, the man was covered with wet snow and his son was eagerly looking forward to his hockey game. I asked if I could give his son some money as a thank you for their help, and the father replied, “No thank you. Neighbors need to take care of neighbors.” Wow!

I’m calling this event an early valentine surprise for me because it was so heartwarming and Valentine’s Day is about matters of the heart. What more heartfelt gift can be given than showing care and concern for someone else?   

Maybe the sentiment of Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, needs to be stretched out to cover every day. It reminds me of a song that I love, written and performed by Neil Diamond, called “Heartlight." I took a few minutes to find the right song title through Google and then a search to find my Neil Diamond CD in hopes that this song was on it so I could listen to the lyrics. The refrain goes, “Turn on your heartlight, let it shine wherever you go, a happy glow for all the world to see.”

Because of my early Valentine’s Day surprise, I felt the wisdom in the words, “Love thy neighbor as thy self." It’s about the feeling of being connected to the world around us. It’s about turning on heartlights.  

— By Janice Beuschel, Tribune community columnist. She can be reached at her website,


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