Friday, November 26, 2010

Serving on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving yesterday was very pleasant.  We spent most of the day with Clint's family, doing the typical Thanksgiving day activities such as gorging ourselves with way too much food and watching football.  Except for I didn't really pay attention to the game because I find sports on television to be painfully boring.  I spent most of my time talking to Clint's sister and his grandpa.  I enjoy talking to Clint's grandpa because he tells the most interesting and funny stories from back when he was in the military (like the time they had a female officer on board their plane and wound up having to make an unscheduled landing to find her a tampon).

Yesterday morning I served Thanksgiving meals to needy and homeless families with the Salvation Army.  I had actually wanted to have the Builders Club help out this year, but since I had never volunteered myself, I decided that this year I would try it out on my own first as a way to sort of test the waters.  I loved it.  From the moment I arrived, there was an immediate camaraderie between myself and the other volunteers.  After about an hour, we were joking and laughing together as if we were old friends.  In the beginning, I was in charge of beverages.  I loved this job, because it meant that I was out on the floor, getting to greet and talk with every single person.  I met so many interesting people.  Several of them were in wheelchairs or handicapped in some other way.  One lady seemed to be suffering from some sort of dementia and needed me to walk her everywhere.  One woman was a single mom living in a motel.  But I'd say about half of the people we served were just your normal, everyday people down on their luck and suffering from a bad economy.  Everyone we served was grateful and happy.  At times it felt like I was back to my waitressing days, joking around with customers with lots of fun, boisterous conversations. 

After about an hour, they had to switch me to the kitchen because they had a shortage of cooks.  The irony of course is that I am a very scatterbrained cook, and here I was in this tight kitchen with two other so-called cooks, whipping up sweet potatoes and cooking bin after bin of turkey.  I was in charge of the turkey, sweet potatoes, and gravy.  The stove was this giant archaic iron beast, and it had this enormous heavy door that refused to close all the way.  Every time I put in some new turkey and closed the door, it would slowly fall open again.  The other cooks were laughing at my attempts to verbally coax--and eventually beat--that damn stove into submission.

When it was time to go, all of us volunteers said goodbye to each other and gave each other hugs.  It was honestly an experience I will never forget.