Thursday Hike

Ten thirty.

Been to Bi Mart, bought dog food and picked up my prescription. Encountered one person inside the store who was paranoid about the virus. Didn’t want to come close to me while I was looking at the dog food. He waited until I was through to approach. Almost everyone was masked— perhaps figuratively as well as literally. It was not a very good trip. The best part was passing Colin on my street. He was walking his dog Lolo. We stopped and chatted about the lockdown for a few minutes. He said he is planning a big block party for after this thing is over. Hamburgers and beer for everybody. I told him I can’t drink, but I would if I could. Colin also said he heard me playing my bass as he was walking past my house. He thought I should play it out in my front yard for the party. Funny. We talked about how we had to imagine ahead to keep our sanity… I forgot to take my iPhone with me and snap pictures of the clouds. I felt depressed going in one direction, but the way back was better. It’s good to hear that someone is still interested in rock and roll. And hamburgers and beer!

Saturday Morning

Seven fifty five. I’m leaving for the church at eight forty. If there’s any canned dog food, I’ll feed Aesop before I go. It’s raining this morning, but lightly. I anticipate that my walk will seem strangely isolated. I hope a lot of people come to the pantry and make it worthwhile. A carping voice in my head tries to say I’m just a no good alcoholic and schizophrenic. Alongside the voice plays the Stravinsky music I used to listen to 25 years ago. Am I as useless now as I was then? Or is the self criticism remembered from someone else who was cruel to me?… Almost time to go. I fed the dog. Now to get on my jacket and get ready…

Noon hour. It worked out just fine. I found myself hanging out up front, facing the parking lot and being a go between. Sometimes I felt like a fifth wheel, but hopefully my presence was helpful. I was the one who suggested putting out the placards and getting the operation going. Barb was reluctant to start, but she assented, and we were soon underway. The first car that drove up turned out to be a woman donating vegetables. It got us off to a good start. Between 9:30 and 10:45 we served over 20 families. Then the crew was reduced to skeleton and I could come home. I’ve just returned from the market with comestibles. Because it is Saturday, I saw more people outside than during the week. I’m having a Dr Pepper and chilling out. Tomorrow’s coffee hour after service ought to be interesting.

The Debt

I don’t want to go to the food pantry. Every time I do, I come home exhausted and behind schedule with Aesop. I know I’m being lazy. I have a half hour to change my mind. The weather is okay for volunteering. I ought to go… but I won’t. My egoism wins out again. I want to spend the day reading and writing for my own pleasure. I remember Beck’s heaven’s reward fallacy. You do all this self sacrificing stuff and resent it when God doesn’t dump treasures in your lap. Well I know not to expect recompense for good deeds. These just don’t come. Everyone gets nothing for something. Is there anyone at church I’d like to see today? Only Sue and Pastor. The walk there could be enjoyable. Just go without preconceptions or expectations. Take the phone and snap whatever comes. Life itself is a reward. For this gift I owe something back. That’s why it’s called “ought to.”

Food for L—- County

Almost noon 🕛. That was okay. Kathy the cookie baker was really glad to see me. Sue was very nice as always. Nancy was good. Sandi. I was the only guy volunteer. The clients, as they are called, were well behaved as they came around the tables. Really no incident today. Nobody brought their dog, claiming it to be a service animal. Nobody got impatient in line. Two clients even thanked me for volunteering. We had an over abundance of frozen carrots, colored yellow. I learned that carrots, like corn, come in various colors as the result of a cross breeding. I saw no Hispanics this time, but there was one African American woman. All the others were white. A few children came through with their family. I was in charge of the cans. Sue orders in all the stuff. She and Nancy do the food pantry regularly. They also do the snack packs for local schools. That’s their good work. It had been a while for me because of the fire and my health. I took a chair and sat about half the time, which was fine with them. No one was a hog with the canned goods, so I didn’t have to worry. I recognized the majority of the people who came in from last fall. One of them remembered me and asked how I was. All in all I had a successful morning.