Surely this is a Christmas story and clearly Spirit was at work, so there’s that. My daughter, Antonia drove out this morning for her next holiday destination and I walked back into her room and noticed she had left behind a Christmas box full of teas. Huh. I grabbed the box figuring I might still catch her at the Shell station. Jumped in the Jeep and headed down there and pulled up next to her as she was preparing to get back into her car. Jumped out, offering her the box, with a smile. “What’s that?”, she says. “Your tea!” “Oh!” Another goodbye hug and smiles and off she goes one direction and I in another. Figured I would swing by the post office on the way home. Finding the parking lot almost empty I suspected they might be closed, but I parked, went in, and walked toward my box, when I saw a homeless person asleep, rolled up next to the wall in a corner, his head propped up on plastic bags as a pillow. Hmm. I walked quietly back outside and approached a woman and man in a car who had just pulled up. She could see question on my face, I could tell. “There’s a homeless person asleep inside and I don’t want to go in alone.” The woman said, “I’ll go in with you,” and jumped out immediately to assist. He was just starting to stir as we entered and we went together to see him. “Are you all right?” I asked. “I’m cold,” he mumbled. We both wished him well. I checked my box and she and I both departed. “I think I have a sleeping bag in my car,” I told her, and, sure enough, an old fashioned large green sleeping bag, quite clean, was in the back of the car. I grabbed it and took it in to him. The woman went with me, and I placed it over him and said, “I brought you a sleeping bag so you’ll be warm. And look. When you leave? You can roll it up and tie it down in a roll and take with you and you’ll be warm.” “Oh, thank you. Bless you,” he mumbled. He was a small black man dressed all in black. Now he was under a green blanket. I wished I had a pillow to offer, but he was better off than when we found him. “Have a better day,” the woman offered him. And we walked out. She followed me back to my Jeep, told me she “takes care of old people, people who have memory problems” and that she’s paid eight dollars an hour. Is that even legal in California? I said, “I’m taking a bunch of clothes to Good Will. Do you want some skirts?” She said, “That would make a nice Christmas present.” We started sorting through and I could feel her hunger for something new, a gift, and I said, “Here, just take the whole bag. Take what you want and find a home for the rest. Merry Christmas.” It was a lot of clothes, but I no longer had to drive to Good Will, and they were gone. Good. And she was clearly happy. I got back in my Jeep and as I drove home I thought of the man we had left on the floor of the post office. What more could I give him? I went home and made him a big turkey sandwich. And I went through all my scarves, about which I had just told Antonia, “There are too many,” found a pale olive green wool cabled scarf that a man could wear and drove pell mell back to the post office. Would he still be there? I walked in and saw he was just rolling up the sleeping bag, tying it down and doing an excellent job. “Hi. I brought you a big sandwich. And I brought you some nuts and raisins for energy you can carry with you. And I brought you an orange. I wanted to bring you something hot, but I had nothing to carry it in. And I brought you this scarf you can put around your neck and stay warm.” He took the food and scarf, thanking me, and wrapped the scarf around his neck, which looked so much better on him than it ever had on me. I knew it would offer him some protection from this bitter cold. Antonia said it was 28 degrees this morning. And then I asked him his name and asked him how he got into this situation and I asked him if he was doing drugs and he told me a few things and was nearly honest. (I can read people.) And the last thing I said to him was, “You have to think of yourself first. You have to do it for you. And you are worth it.” And I left. And all this because for some “inexplicable reason” Antonia had left her tea on the bedroom table.
Wishing you a lovely holiday.
Love and blessings,