Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lingering And Not Wanting To Leave

Volunteer Frank serving the first two meals of the day — meatloaf, baked potato, roasted green beans and baked apple slices.

When I arrived at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral this morning, a bit before 7:30 a.m. to start cooking for the Wednesday Community Meal, I saw a man bundled up and huddled with his back against the church trying to stay warm.  He was first in line for a meal that was still three and a half hours away and he was so crouched over that I couldn't see his face.

The temperature was just below freezing but felt even colder because of heavy winds. It really was miserably cold and even with a winter coat and gloves,  I could barely stand just walking from my parked car to the church.

Once inside, I asked my friends Mary and Martha who volunteer with me,  "Did you see there's a man already in line? I'm going to ask him if he wants a cup of hot chocolate." They both thought that was a good idea and said I should just bring him one.

So I mixed up a rich cup of hot chocolate and headed outside towards the man expecting to encounter sadness and even some gruffness since that's how I'd be if I was freezing and stuck outside.

That's not what happened.

"Sir, I have a cup of hot chocolate for you," I said. His head quickly lifted and I saw a smiling ruddy face with sparkly kind eyes.

"Oh that's so nice of you, I'd love a cup of hot chocolate," he enthusiastically said and added "I'm looking forward to the meal today."

He really surprised me with his positivity and politeness amid such suffering. He amazed me. The next time I get whiny about something trivial, I'm going to try my best to remember him and put things in perspective.

We served 287 meals today and noticed that our guests lingered longer and some even got back in line to eat two or three times, not wanting to leave the warmth of Kempton Hall.

Guests today were treated to beautiful handmade scarves all lovingly made and donated by volunteer Nancy's 86-year old mother Chieko. When I told a man who had chosen a scarf that it was handmade he said "I can tell and I'm going to cherish it. Thank you."

Meal Closeup.

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