From: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Title: No Mallets Intended
Pub. Date: November 4th, 2014
I love everything about this time of year... the decorations, the lights, the smile on most people's faces, the parties and get togethers with both family and friends. It's hectic, sure, and all of my jobs seem to need extra time and effort this time of year, from subbing at the Emporium so the Klausners can spend more time with their grandchildren, to my work at the new Queensville Historic Manor. But still... I love giving gifts, and I kinda like getting gifts too, even the silly or dumb ones! ESPECIALLY those!
But a recent trip to my grandma's hit me hard. I was running to the grocery store to get a box of chocolates that she wanted to give to a friend of hers. Becca does so much for Grandma Leighton that I try to do some running around for her when I'm in London to see her. (London, Ontario, of course, not the other London ;-) ) The grocery store is just a few blocks from the downtown area, so it serves the urban population.
As I was coming out, I noticed a very elderly gentleman sitting on the cold sidewalk just beyond the grocery store's far wall. He held his hat out. It was frigid, and he wasn't dressed correctly, not nearly warm enough in my opinion. I scooped all the money I had with me out of my purse and headed over to him. I dropped it in his hat and said, "Hey, brother, how are you doing?"
He looked up, maybe surprised to be addressed, and nodded. "Okay," he said his voice dry and dusty sounding. I chatted with him for a moment and he said he lived at the Salvation Army hostel. They were good people, and made sure he had enough to eat and a warm place to sleep. He admitted the extra money he got from passers by helped him buy the little extras in life... including smokes.
We shook hands and I told him not to stay out too long, to make sure he took care of himself and got into the warm. He assured me he would, and he smiled, a grin that showed most of his teeth missing. I said I hoped he had a good Christmas, and he told me he looked forward to the turkey dinner - almost as good as the one his mama used to make - and warm socks he'd get at the mission.
I turned away to bustle off to my busy life with tears in my eyes. As I walked away a gentleman came over to him with a steaming cup of coffee, and I was grateful that I saw that happen. I'm pretty sure I'll remember the elderly gentleman sitting on the sidewalk long after he's forgotten me.
I don't talk about this much. When I do, people like Valetta's brother Brock will say how he's heard about panhandlers who drive away from their post in Mercedes, and beggars who are living it up and make more in a year than they do. Others say, with their mouths pinched up in distaste, that those kind of people will just use the money for booze or drugs. Or cigarettes.
Maybe. But maybe not. None of my business. I hope the money I gave that fellow helps, and if he buys cigarettes, I don't care. Maybe those cigarettes give him solace in loneliness. It's really easy to judge from the comfort of a warm home and all the food you need and family and... you catch my drift.
When it comes down to it, I really think I got more out of that interaction than the elderly fellow did. I hope I remember him through the rest of the year so that I am reminded, giving and the ability to give is the best gift of all. It has the capacity to make the giver feel warm inside, and what other gift can do that?
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you all. And I ask this question... what gift, in the giving, makes YOU feel the best?
In the spirit of the season, and for our Season's Readings giveaway, I have a prize package of books and a book tote for one person who comments here! Today's contest is open to American and Canadian readers!
This pic is just one of the books with the tote... I will probably add in a couple of other books, and if you already have them, feel free to pass them along to someone you know who likes to read! And oh, by the way?
Cat not included.
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