Story of the Week: 4/6/15-4/12/15

We Three Amigos


by Jonathan Tuthill

On a cold gray September morning, a day so dreary that it was already tired of itself, I DSC_0013groggily stumbled down my front steps and flopped into the driver’s seat. I looked out into the 6am darkness pondering, “what I was thinking signing up for this AmeriCorps gig?” Of course, I was thinking I want to meet new and interesting people and do good, kind and meaningful work. So it was that I found myself wending my way through the dark and wild woods of North Pomfret in the pre-dawn of a day that would never see the sun, headed to meet up with a West African drummer that I was told spoke little to no English. I pulled into the dark predetermined parking lot and welcomed my musically gifted new friend. After a brief period of confusing babble, we quickly arrived at a common language of charades and broken English. Together we set off for the gritty once bustling rail town of White River Junction to connect with a witty tech-savvy teen who was taking a day off from revolutionizing the way the world listens to music to help move an elderly couple into their new home. Together, we three amigos squeezed onto the bench seat of a truck that was last used to move Methuselah and shuddered and shook our way down the road to greet the anxious new homeowners.

We rattled to a stop at the happy new homeowner’s old house and were greeted with gratitude and smiles. It turns out the couple – wife 80 and husband 84 – had lost their last home in a fire that claimed personal treasures and professional tools. The couple shared the agonies of trying to start over as renters and the difficulties associated with reestablishing themselves professionally. My cohorts and I could feel the relief and joy radiating from the kind older couple as we carefully loaded their belongings onto our modern day Rocinante.

DSC_0015We began loading the truck when I noticed the husband wearily eyeing us as we stacked boxes of carefully wrapped and packed two by fours and other various sized boards. When I asked about his apparent concern he sheepishly grinned and responded that he was told “we would take anything that was packed in a box” but he was also told that we would not be able to move all of his boards. So being a problem solver, he had gotten creative and was waiting for us to refuse to load the boxes. He was ecstatic when the boxes were all loaded with no hassle and we all had a good chuckle at his “problem solving” skills.

We mounted Rocinante and began our twenty mile trek to the new house with a rattle and rhythm all our own. A cacophonous melody that announced our arrival and departure with all the fanfare three do-gooders could ever hope for and more than we deserved. After three calamity-free trips and nine exhausting hours, we three amigos bid farewell to the happy new homeowners, as they stood beaming with thanks and waving good-bye. As I parted ways with my new friends, the tech savvy teen and the musically gifted West African; I found myself reflecting on what a great day it was and how fortunate I have been in discovering AmeriCorps.

VHCB AmeriCorps is a program of the
Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

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