It was 1:48, exactly, on this Wednesday afternoon in North Carolina when, once again, something hit me. I’d been awake since five – I’d gone to bed at a little … Continue reading What A Day
Midnight Me: Writing of the Whispers of Love Christmas Dinner
I was handed a flyer from a one Ms. B ____. It was a flyer promoting & welcoming people to eat a nice afternoon meal, pick out some gifts for Christmas (toys & coats & gloves,) & receive a bag of FREE toiletries.
This was an event I chose to attend, and to offer my services – to volunteer to do whatever it was that might need to be done.
After all, I have been in that position of helplessness, of starvation & homelessness. I very much wanted to be of assistance in helping these others in their time of need. Especially during this part of the year. This special season when Maricals DO happen. I have been overwhelmingly blessed the past month. A month of safety & Good Health & a Home I am truly happy to live in.
Becoming even more positive, along with wanting to acquaint myself – and become a serving member – with this community, I believe, is essential for my psychological & spiritual well-being. Our community, which I can legitimately call my HOME, could use a pair of extra hands.
I’m more than happy to oblige.
We (Special Lady Friend and me) took her electric, refrigerated van to the church. We stopped at a Family Dollar, buying cases of bottled water. After not being able to find to find the building, I started feeling antsy. Social anxiety/anxiety is not a fun accessary included with conscious being. But it is something I am learning to cope with. And I’m taking medication for the disorder.
This was an event I chose to attend, and to offer my services – to volunteer to do whatever it was that might need to be done. And My Special Lady Friend was just as excited as I was to be of assistance. She was very dedicated to conjuring-up something more she could do.
What started off as text messaging to the Contact in charge of the operation for more information, turned into me & My Special Lady Friend donating a little over $200.00 worth of fresh beef to the cause. Cuts of differing steaks, ground beef & roasts were Our gift & contribution to something that I’m very sensitive about. Going hungry & cold for long periods of time – hell, ANYTIME – strikes a certain appalling, protective chord in my heart & in my mind to SAVE the person from their plight.
We walked into chaos. Everyone was rushing to move something; tops of roasters were removed, serving spoons & forks placed along side of said roasters. Bottles of soda & deserts were arranged with care. (That was one of my first tasks, handed down to me.)
There was chattering galore. I tried staying silent. When I speak, it’s obvious I am not from North Carolina, South Carolina or Georgia… I’m a Yankee. And everyone knew it.
“Da Yah’ll drink sweet tea where ya’ll are from?”
A young girl, around 15 or 16, asked me that while I was breaking-up some chunks of ice for drinks. I didn’t know what to say. But my reply was: “I don’t know. I drink coffee.”
For some reason, people laughed at my comment.
After the teenager moved along, I asked her mother what the hell was with the sweet tea question.
“We all took trip to Colorado. Seems soon as we crossed state lines, nobody had sweet tea sweet enough for my little girl. And, honey, you a Northerner. She loves the mystique of Northerners.”
I didn’t pursue it.
What compliment I did receive was something along the lines of: “You may be a Yankee, but you seem harmless.”
– (Indeed.) –
The way things were set up, a person or family would walk through the line, starting with the roasters – full of ham & turkey, potatoes & green beans – next were rolls & other edibles of such persuasion, and then the dessert & drinks table, where I was first positioned, as the “BARTENDER.”
When the guests were finished with their meal, a trip into the pantry was in order.
It was hot in that pantry. And I did my best to keep up with the flow of traffic. I was putting canned foods, boxes of cookies & goods in glass jars, finally, at the end of the line, a large freezer, filled with meat into a medium-sized cardboard box.
After the box was filled, I was making trips to the parking lot. I loaded up the boxes of food. Boxes of toys & cloths.
I heard a lot of “God bless yous,” “Jesus loves yous,” & “You’re so kind.”
There were elderly ladies there. Young couples with babies… and there was a single man there. I was asked by Ms.__ to sit & talk with him.
Water to his trailer had been turned off.
My Special Lady Friend and I went to the Dollar General again, bought more water in gallon jugs. He had medication that needed to be picked-up. We drove to the pharmacy & got it for him.
Funny thing happened on the ride to get that poor soul’s meds. My Special Lady Friend, while driving us to the Walmart pharmacy, told me that all the ladies there loved me. And how kind & sweet her husband was.
That kind of made both of us laugh.
“Did you correct them,” I asked with a Joker’s smirk on my face, knowing the answer.
“No. I didn’t”
It was a good thing what we did. My heart pounded the war-drum-beat of purpose… of acknowledging the kindness BOTH of us expressed at this Whispers of Love Christmas Dinner.
But I never thought I would be doing what I did that Saturday, December 18, 2021.
It’s a far-cry away from the Youngstown, OH streets… the sickness of the past being simply that: something in the past I am healing from.
And I’m so grateful others are receiving some of the benefits of me BEING better & THINKING better.
On the Bench…
An aging man ask the aging woman how life had been treating her.
“Just fine,” she responded. “Raising my little boy to be a Big Man. Working nights. Don’t have much of a social life. But when I have an itch that needs scratched, I have a nice man stashed away that I visit that makes me supper. And he makes me breakfast in the morning.”
“Good for you,” the man said.
“Does anyone cook you breakfast,” she asked, adding an emphasis on BREAKFAST.
“Yes. And we are very happy.”
“Why do you look sad, then?”
An aging man does not like to answer those kinds of questions. They are HARD questions. Because, sometimes, men don’t know why they are sad.
They get up.
They talk with aging women about itches that get scratched.
There are some smirks.
Sometimes when all SHOULD feel right & crisp & fulfilled… for him, they are not.
His back is sore.
The neck tingles for some supernatural reason he is too terrified to confront.
He has to take a pill to wake up.
Another, different pill to go to sleep.
A pill to stimulate an appetite.
Another one to suppress it.
There are debts he knows will never be paid-off.
That bills will be there waiting & picking away at him
But, at the moment, this Young, aging Mother made his day: she reminded him there ARE things like breakfasts to look forward to. That, sometimes, there is an extra egg in the carton. And that is nothing to sneeze at.
She reminded him a dollar was still VERY important. Versus the person that NEEDS one.
How could he argue with someone like this?
Their STATEMENT is so clear, so driven with intent, he was beside himself. And, after a few more minutes of “telling-it-the-way-it-is,” he felt a little better.
Dropping the dime – or a million number of dimes, into the slots – IS something easy to do.
But that’s just not his style.
Sadness in the Song: Bells Outside of Stores & St. Nick Hats
I don’t do it to FEEL better about myself. And I don’t do it out of pity. I don’t do thinking they will stop ringing the bell.
I think I do it because I believe it is the right thing to do.
And since some of my past was no paradise, I know those funds are both something needed and wanted. Just like I know Soup Kitchens & Church Basements have their important place in the world.
Donating a dollar here, a pocket full of change there, can go a long way in making a difference in someone’s life.
It does make a difference. And I will NEVER allow myself to forget that, not that long ago, I was one in the multitude of unfortunate people classified as HOMELESS… as DESTITUTE.
Holidays can bring out something in us. Something GOOD. When I drop that folded-up banknote into the bucket, I ask myself how much of that money – donated money – had been spent on me.
According to Wikipedia.org:
In the United States, in 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that American households in the lowest fifth in terms of wealth, gave on average a higher percentage of their incomes to charitable organizations than those households in the highest fifth. Charity Navigator writes that, according to Giving USA, Americans gave $298 billion in 2011 (about 2% of GDP). The majority of donations were from individuals (73%), then from bequests (about 12%), foundations (2%) and less than 1% from corporations. The largest sector to receive donations was religious organizations (32%), then education (13%). Giving has increased in 3 out of 4 years since 1971 (with the occasional declines occurring around recession years).
I find this to be VERY interesting. I am on a fixed income. Supplemental Security Income, to be specific. (S. S. I.) And it’s not very much. But I always have the final tally of a purchase rounded-up to the nearest dollar amount. And there is the Salvation Army bell ringers with their red kettles.
Drop some $ in the kettle.
You may not feel better about yourself if you do. It may not, in the large scheme of things, change what can not be changed. It may not even make you a happier person. But that is not the point now, is it? It will make SOMEBODY feel better, in a certain way.
It sure as hell won’t harm you to drop a dime every now & then into the kettle… into the jar… or a bucket.