“Oh, something smells good!” as he climbed in the car.
For a long time, I’ve had good reasons not to sign up.
But the clipboard came around again at church after I’d gotten several days of political-group emails talking about a national volunteer day. I’ve never been one to run with a crowd so I picked my own day but it just felt like time to step up.
It was for the Ronald McDonald House families by Stanford Hospital. I talked to the coordinator about how to pull this off. Walking with a large full heavy pot of sloshing soup with a cane in one hand and lousy balance while trying not to spend any time in the sun while needing to drop the soup off in not the late but the early part of the afternoon–it was going to be interesting. She was delighted to have a new volunteer and assured me there was a handicapped spot right by the door; just check in at the desk and surely they’d be glad to help carry.
And so this morning I chopped two heads of celery, some big red and yellow peppers, a couple of onions, a good handful of seedless red grapes cut in half–don’t miss those–a whole lot of chicken broth, I cut up a no-nitrates ham steak, added two pounds of split peas, rinsed first. Simmer. Stir!
My dutch oven was very full. I got up and stirred it every couple of minutes for two and a half hours, partly to make sure it never got up to a big boil–there was just no room. I was supposed to bring enough for 16 people, but given how much there was I only felt a little guilty for scooping a bit out for Richard and Michelle.
Split pea soup is a favorite around here but it was also on the list of foods I got told to my great regret not to eat anymore post-op. I do, actually, but only a few spoonfuls, watered down with lots of fluids.
I am so glad I saved their part out.
The little boy had just gotten out of the elementary school up the street and was clearly enjoying the speed of his bike. He was alone. He was careening through the pedestrian island where the main road crosses his and it was clear he wasn’t going to be able to stop in time–I slammed hard on the brakes. The guy behind me slammed his.
Nobody hit the kid. Or anyone else, either.
But what was–I glanced down when I felt safely well past him, and there was what turned out to be half of that pot of soup splashed across the floor.
It wasn’t till I got to the Ronald McDonald house that I was able to fully assess the damage: the carpet was just the start. Part of the dash, the center console, my right shoe, the little lever thingy to pull the seat forward and back, behind there–and yet somehow there was still more soup in that pot.
I went to the check-in desk and got a very helpful woman who brought a cart and towels: no need to carry that pot in, and there, put the towels on the bottom tray when you’re done. She hovered, wanting to help, but the passenger side floor of a Prius is a one-woman operation.
I gave it up for the sun exposure of it, not explaining more than, I’ll finish this at home, thank you so much for the towels and the help! The moral support especially is what I really meant.
We walked through what turned out to be a beautiful building, very well designed as a healing place for families of sick children. Into the kitchen. There was a row of crockpots waiting, and I wished for a smaller one but was surprised at how much of my offering still, after all that, went into that big thing. Loaves and fishes!
Back at the car, I smiled wryly. It ain’t easy being green.
I posted something brief on Facebook, and a local friend (thank you Suzi!) mentioned that the car-washing place over thataway will do a carpet shampoo and shopvac in a small area after a spill. Good. The little boy is okay, that’s what matters most; I can only pray that the little ones of the families staying where I took the soup to will be, too.
I picked Richard up from work and his comment as he got in the car made it instantly clear that this was a dinner he was going to thoroughly enjoy. And somehow that, too, made it all worthwhile.
And even after I dropped half the rest of it on my other foot Michelle got some after she got off work late. Ooh, Mom! Split pea soup!
(With a p.s. for Phyllis: your plates of cookies I delivered sat demurely on the seat the whole time and showed that green stuff down there How It’s Done. They were fine.)
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