Saying that she had made the stuffing for Thanksgiving one of the ladies at Zumba asked me where I was going for Thanksgiving so I said, I would go up to the church and she responded, “Nice!” and I thought, well, yes, it is better than staying home alone, but Nice?
The actual holiday was grey and drizzly. I managed to get out the door and up to the church a half hour after the starting time for the free dinner for those who had nowhere else to go. Once inside the warm cheerfully decorated cafeteria, I found there was a general kind of hub-bub with almost as many volunteer workers as those who came to eat. The large local grocery store chain had donated an assortment of loaves of bread and I was happy to get a nice loaf of $4.00-$6.00 bread to take home
The first person I recognized was Christine, a lady I met about fifteen years ago at a spaghetti dinner here. She works at the fish frys in Lent and volunteers at another hunger center as well. I asked about her friend Theresa who she always went to Mass with on Sundays and Christine said she’s doing okay, that she usually invites her to Thanksgiving dinner with her family, but this year did not, so she came here instead.
Next I recognized another lady whom I have seen in church and at a few of the regular church dinners. She was a few tables away and gone right after eating.
After sitting down and being served a nice plate of dinner with a small salad, roll, cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, a cup of iced tea and a slice of apple pie, my spirits lifted. A large white haired man wearing a snow cap sat next to me and after I spoke to him, he felt more like talking, which was nice. Briefly he took a call on his cell phone. He seemed to know a number of folks, none of whom I had ever seen before, and he said he goes from church to church for their free meals.
A whole family filled all the vacant seats at the table once the big man left. None of them looked indigent except the granny who had on a worn flannel shirt and a big black furry hat. Her daughter sitting across the table from me was taking pictures with her apple i-phone and I took a picture of her and her mom with it. Interesting, I thought that a church school cafeteria should be a preferred choice to a family home for such a group.
I sat there just listening to the chatter and watching the people, absorbing the atmosphere and thinking, after all, nice.