jayellebee's Blog

July 16, 2010

Lunch at the Crossroads

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 4:51 pm

     Preparing enough tossed green salad to feed 140 people takes time.  Not much concentration, but a good chunk of time.  A dozen heads of iceberg lettuce, thirty-plus tomatoes, nearly three feet of cucumbers if they were lined up head-to-toe, and enough radish slices to cover a table several inches deep, fill three stainless steel bowls the size of which no home kitchen would ever have space to store. 

     Ken and I have joined a small army of “Lunch at the Crossroads” volunteers providing a nutritious meal to those who need one.  The Crossroads is an inter-denominational program in Grass Valley.  Today was my first opportunity to help with the food preparation.  The hum of overhead fans ruled out conversation with co-workers, so my thoughts wandered, unobstructed, as I washed, peeled, sliced, diced and chopped.

     Yesterday, I enjoyed a meal with friends at Fred’s, a Chinese restaurant in Nevada City.  We could have gone to any number of establishments, and chose Fred’s based on menu selection alone, not cost.  Once seated, the four of us debated ordering ala carte vs the lunch menu, once again ignoring the financial implications, considering instead portion size.  None of us was very hungry.  Two men shared a working lunch across the room from us, flipping through papers and studying diagrams.  The Asian gentleman of the pair used a fork, his caucasian friend handled chopsticks with practiced ease.  The restaurant owner’s three-year-old daughter visited our table, fingering packets of sugar substitute and managed a one word comment, “Pink.”  I suspect her Chinese is stronger than her English.  A pleasant hour passed, then we retirees headed back home with nothing special on our agendas for the rest of the day.

     Today, I thought about the guests who would consume three bowls of salad along with pizza, orzo, watermelon and dessert.  They are strangers to me, but we are neighbors sharing a small, rural town.  We have the same basic needs:  food, shelter, clothing, love.  Our paths cross, but our life experiences are so different.  In a different setting, encountering some of these individuals one-on-one, I might be concerned about personal safety.  At The Crossroads I greet and smile at human beings who have been dealt a different hand from mine.

     I am privileged in ways I don’t even recognize.  My worst days would offer a welcome respite to many.  I pray to take my own situation less for granted and to be more cognizant of the inherent worth of my fellow men.



  1. The plusses of volunteering are we receive more than we give and we appreciate that which we have. It’s too bad it’s not a requirement of our educational system- so many hrs of community service. Perhps a story of a young person getting involved with a local cause – raising money & physically helping out would be a good one.

    Comment by Vivian Hermann — July 16, 2010 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for sharing, and the reminder to be grateful and compassionate. Along thos lines, I found a book this week “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace. It’s a college commencement address, takes about 20 minutes to read, and it’s wonderful.

    Comment by Donna — July 17, 2010 @ 9:24 am | Reply

  3. Dear friend,
    Once again that big heart of yours shines through – very powerful.

    Comment by nina bucchere — July 17, 2010 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  4. Good for you, Joanne! Philanthropy is an exchange: They were fed and so were you!

    Comment by Ann Damaschino — July 19, 2010 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

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