One of the many domestic skills that I am woefully lacking in is the art of cooking. Make no mistake, I can find my way around the kitchen well enough to keep my daughters and myself alive and well, and to my knowledge, I have never caused an outbreak of food poisoning. I definitely am better at cleaning my plate than I am at preparing the food to go on it.
Even my love of food is fairly simplistic. A foodie, I am not. I am partial to the comfort food of my childhood and still enjoy them on occasion. Grilled cheese. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. They are delicious throwbacks to being a little girl, but to some people, they are a throwaway kind of food that indicate a less than sophisticated palate. To others, that last item on my list of not-so-guilty culinary pleasures is so much more, and because of the kindness of one person, it now means a great deal more to me, as well.
In the local homeless community, there are some wonderful organizations that provide sack lunches for those who need a serving of both food and kindness. One such group happened to be distributing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and individual bottles of Gatorade on a sweltering afternoon to the guests at the day shelter for homeless men, where I once worked and now volunteer. If you think that the heat is unbearable, as you make your way from an air conditioned home to an air conditioned car to an air conditioned office or store, imagine what it is like for those who brave the heat on a daily basis, as they make their way around the city. It is brutal.
As I watched some of the gentlemen come into the day shelter carrying the much coveted sandwiches and drinks, I was happy for the ones who were able to partake in this much-needed source of nourishment. The demand tends to be greater than the supply, so, these sack lunches are a hot commodity on the even hotter streets. That is why what happened next touched my heart and fed my soul.
One gentleman approached me, carrying a couple bottles of Gatorade and a wrapped sandwich, and he had a big grin on his face, as he announced,”Here you go, Miss Kristi. I didn’t forget about you!” There is a reason that I refer to the guests as the finest gentlemen in all of Louisville, and this gesture is one of the many examples what makes them among the kindest and most generous souls in the world. I had not requested this special delivery, which is what made it all the more special.
I could not accept this particular treat, at least, not in good conscience. There is a delicate art to turning down a kind gesture from someone who has nearly non-existent material goods or resources to offer, and my years at the day shelter have helped me to hone this particular skill. I thanked this gentleman for thinking of me and gently declined the food and drinks by telling him that he should keep them for himself. He quickly shook his head and explained that he had already eaten, but he was worried that I may be hungry and thirsty, as it was around lunchtime. It never ceases to amaze me when someone who has so little is so willing to share what little they have with another person, especially someone whose needs are less than theirs.
After hearing his response, I thanked him for his thoughtfulness and suggested that he either save the food and drinks to enjoy later or to share them with someone who have not have been present when these treats were being handed out, as I reassured him that I wasn’t hungry or thirsty. He listened and looked at me intently, as he slowly withdrew the offerings he had placed on the desk in front of me, and he commented, “Okay, Miss Kristi; I will give them to one of the guys, but if you change your mind, I’ll take care of you.” Off he went, as I continued to feast on his kind words and gesture. That, by far, is absolutely the finest dining of all.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story