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“You do all the cooking ‘round here?“ I asked, pushing myself away from the table in the small dining room while patients toyed with their carrot cake and others slumped in wheelchairs. Above them on a wide-screen TV, a newsreader described Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for reunification with Taiwan, peacefully or otherwise.

“Just evenings,” she said as I approached her, wiping meaty hands on a cloth and tossing it upon the food warmer. Her eight-button chef coat fitted snuggly over her bosom like casing over sausage. “Only eighty-six tonight—The census is low ’cause of the holidays,” she added. Her speech suggested origins from the hardscrabble Mississippi Delta, her lightsome spirit from decades of graced angst. “Am glad to see you’ve been eatin’ better than when you came in,” she continued. “That you’re goin’ home tomorrow.” Her deep-set eyes bedazzled like the blinking lights on the flocked Christmas tree behind her.

“Yes, I am, and thanks for all you do each evening.” She had seemed tireless mingling among the patients, calling them by name, listening to their comments about the food, even returning to the kitchen to prepare special dishes for them. Hilarity infused her movements.

My feelings were running high. I had more to say. “And may we hug?” Instantly, her cook demeanor morphed into Earth Mother, with crooked teeth resembling centuries-old standing stones weathered into points; within that moment her juiciness sweetened me, commingling her world with mine—a psychic feeding like no other.

 

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“How dare you get ahead of me! I’m next! I’ve got the number to prove it!”

“I don’t like that kind of bread. Don’t you have any like the stores sell? Sliced?”

“Give me that bag! I saw it first!”

 

Voices overheard at Grace United Methodist Church’s food pantry, Tuesday morning. For the second time since being open, their shelves were emptied, and the volunteers had to close early.

 

“This year, I’d like the Heritage turkey and cranberry relish, and some of your yummy mashed potatoes. Enough for fifteen.”

“I didn’t know you did all the cooking! A great relief! Give me the works!”

“Will you recommend a choice wine to go with the dinner I ordered?”

 

Voices overheard at Whole Foods Market, Tuesday morning. The clerk smiled taking the orders. 

 

Two vignettes of hunger: one from desperation; the other from affluence. Yet such hungers reflect deeper ones, physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, gnawing at our innards, whether anguishing over food stamp cuts or marveling over Wall Street’s 16,094.83 on the Dow or stewing on any situation in between.

 

There is an indisputable Source of replenishment. We have only to ask, on our knees.

 

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and all you hold dear in your heart.

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“How dare you get ahead of me! I’m next! I’ve got the number to prove it!”

“I don’t like that kind of bread. Don’t you have any like the stores sell? Sliced?”

“Give me that bag! I saw it first!”

 

Voices overheard at Grace United Methodist Church’s food pantry, Tuesday morning. For the second time since

being open, their shelves were emptied, and the volunteers had to close early.

 

“This year, I’d like the Heritage turkey and cranberry relish, and some of your yummy mashed potatoes. Enough for fifteen.”

“I didn’t know you did all the cooking! A great relief! Give me the works!”

“Will you recommend a choice wine to go with the dinner I ordered?”

 

Voices overheard at Whole Foods Market, Tuesday morning. The clerk smiled taking the orders. 

 

Two vignettes of hunger: one from desperation; the other from affluence. Yet such hungers reflect deeper ones, physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, gnawing at our innards, whether anguishing over food stamp cuts or marveling over Wall Street’s 16,094.83 on the Dow or stewing on any situation in between.

 

There is an indisputable Source of replenishment. We have only to ask, on our knees.

 

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and all you hold dear in your heart.

 

 

 

 

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