Bad weather brings out the best and worst of people.
We saw the best in those who took the time to help neighbors stuck in snow or without power. On Christmas Even, I stopped to help two young men in a pickup who slid off the road after hitting a deer on U.S. 221. While I worked to free the truck from deep snow, two other motorists stopped to help.
But they had been stuck in the snowbank for more than 30 minutes while car after car whizzed by without stopping to see if they needed help.
Local AEP workers gave up Christmas with their families to work to restore power after the Christmas Eve ice storm knocked out electricity. Protocol Automotive owner Joey Kaylor says he saw a Floyd County resident chewing out an AEP worker because the power was out. It wasn’t the lineman’s fault. The fault lies with AEP’s regressive management that puts return to stockholders ahead of improvements to the utility’s infrastructure or service to customers.
Some who volunteered to help clear snow in Floyd after the storm that dumped up to two feet in the area ran into residents who screamed at them for where they were putting the snow.
A lot of people went out of their way to help their neighbors during the past two weeks of bad weather. Most got thanks for their help. Too many, however, got nothing but grief.
While I can understand how tempers can flare in bad weather, yelling at a neighbor who is trying to help is not the Floyd County way. Yet I’m seeing more and more evidence that we losing too much of what once made living in Floyd County both unique and enjoyable.
In Floyd County General District Court on Thursdays, Judge Ed Turner presides over a disturbing number of disputes between neighbors. The high number of civil cases brought by one neighbor against another prompted Turner to wonder, in open court, if “anyone in Floyd County gets along with their neighbors?”
While having breakfast with local musician Bernie Coveney at Blue Ridge Restaurant over the weekend, a Floyd resident who is leaving the area told us that one thing he won’t miss about living here is the trouble he had with a neighbor who complained to the town government about a workshop he maintained in his back yard.
What happened to the “live and let live” attitude that used to prevail here? The town is trying to force the resident to tear down his workshop, saying it is too close to his property line. Why? It’s his property.
Floyd Countians didn’t used to try to tell their neighbors what they could and could not do on their own property. One of our neighbors tunes his race cars at night. Sure, it gets loud sometimes but he loves racing and I’m not about to spoil that by bitching to the county.
We live in a diverse county with differing cultures, differing viewpoints and dissimilar lifestyles. There was a time when people lived the way they wanted without interference from their neighbors or a governmental entities. There was a time when neighbor helped neighbor. We still see a lot of that here but we also see people yelling at each other and taking each other to court to settle petty disagreements.