Reflections from the Road: Vignettes of Kindness, Joy and Challenge
" We say we get food moving and we do, but we're also moving food to people. We're interacting with community members. We get tiny glimpses of their lives. That's an important reminder, that we're not just dropping a box off at the door." - Erin Callaway, PRFC Executive Director
Every time it feels special. It's an honor to be doing this work. Often it feels really bizarre. It's humbling to be vulnerable with someone, to see the human in someone, and to see that reflected..
In that light, we've compiled a few anonymous vignettes encompassing last weeks delivery to homebound seniors. Some are funny, some are deeply sad and all are very human. These moments show states of being we all have in common, although the level of external adversity might look a lot different for each of us.
"Oh my goodness, thank you. You have no idea what a giant help this is. And, here he is! He's only 9 months old!" A quite large, quite burly, orange cat sticks his head out the door, which she leaves open a crack while we talk. This customer has bright eyes though she has experienced great challenge in her life. This is someone who has gone without, just so her cat could eat.
"Little PENS? Oh, my, all wrapped..." Of all of the items I was delivering today, the small pens wrapped individually were the best. Potatoes and organic produce couldn't touch the delight of something like a gift during a holiday month!
She zips out in between an indoor laundry line and quickly swings the door open. Usually I don't visit with this customer. Her hands shake as she clutches the cat food and tries to reach for the other bag of goods. I ask her if I can set the food box on the ground so she can make a few trips. On another day I might have wished her well and left but I was prompted to ask how she was, really, how was she? "I miss him so much..." She begins to cry. Her husband had recently passed. "Oh, but I'm alright" Spoken like a tough Mainer. "I sleep, I watch tv, I play with my cat." She shrugs. There doesn't seem to be much else to do, or to say. I nodded, and tried to offer sympathy with my eyes because she couldn't see my face under the mask.
"Just don't let him get in! He'll want to go home with you!"
And no sooner did she utter those words, did the wrinkly, white pug leap into the van, running circles and hopping over food boxes into the drivers seat! I shooed the small pup out and he trotted to the next house with me before he was finally called home.
I ring the doorbell and wave. "Oh! Come in dear!" As I do, I tell her, "I've got some books for you this month!" She looks up from her recliner. "Oh! I'm on my last book now!" She waves her book about and waves me in from her reading nest. I remind her I'm just here briefly. "You haven't got that virus do you? No? I've been praying..."
"Oh well, do you need me right this minute? I'm trying to glue something...."
He is in good spirits, which everyone at PRFC will be grateful to hear.
"No, no" I say, "I've got a few trips, I'll be right back." I chuckle. Just like that, the months of being in the hospital seemed to have disappeared. He seems like himself, which I am grateful for.
No one appears to be home. Birdseed is on everything, and many objects are on the porch, some of which strategically block the entrance. It's very quiet.