She sashays into the kitchen looking around to see who all is there, eventually turning to me with a coy hint of a smile in acknowledgement of my existence.
I have known her since she was about two or three, and now she is a beautiful 15-year-old.
Three years ago she only came to the kitchen with her mother, a very loving woman who herself has issues. But eventually any influence the mother might have had wore away and this petite young woman now is making wrong decisions without restraint.
Many were the efforts by countless people to help this mother learn how to raise her child, but she was either not able or just blocked by her own issues to act on any of it. Without being taught any coping and or battling skills the daughter, who has already had an abortion, is only two steps from becoming a permanent resident of the street.
Every part of society is comprised of people from birth to death and all ages in-between. In order for a community to remain in force, this means that you need to keep up the numbers by supplying new blood.
One of the principal reasons for my stepping down from the kitchen on Saturday mornings was because it needed new blood. If as a volunteer I am always there, then no one else will step up to the plate, so to speak.
Also, it allows me to pursue one activity that I really enjoy and that is to stroll the farmers market. I love seeing all the different sights, smelling all the different smells and listening to vendors talking up their product and buskers playing their tunes.
Not only that, I get to meet and greet a lot of friends and acquaintances both old and young. It, in my mind, is one of the activities that develops, builds and maintains community spirit.
We live on a very busy road with lots of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. This gives me a great opportunity to observe people as they walk by, mostly kids on their way to school.
Often there are small groups and also twosomes who will walk by chatting with each other. Their faces are animated and they seem to be quite happy as they go on their way.
Then there are the solo walkers, many of whom have a device plugged into their ears, with an expression on their face that suggests that they are engrossed in what they are listening to.
This is also what I observe at the kitchen: Many come in by themselves wearing some kind of listening device.
“Nobody wants to play rhythm guitar behind Jesus,
Every body wants to be the lead singer in the band.”
This song put out by a group called The Oak Ridge Boys came to mind this last couple of weeks. Several things have happened that make me realize that these words carry some validity; they’re not just some pretty words in a song. They in fact are a good analogy of the way that we are at times.