This year I decided to volunteer at the United Churches Christmas dinner. It is actually coordinated by Barb and Friends, a non-profit that was started by a woman and her son who owned a soul-food restaurant in town. My mom and I went down to the church and followed the heavenly smell of barbecue until we found an open door. The volunteer gave me a “Hello my name is…” tag and sent me down to stay with the children while their parent picked out presents for them.
The kids were corralled in a back hall while they waited. Many of them took in it stride and I got the distinct feeling that this was not the first time they had been there. The older kids tended their younger siblings. The young kids, some just learning to talk, proudly showed off the presents they had picked out for their parents.
I had been prepared for the worst, neglected, out-of-control children with poor social skills and bad attitudes. None of them were like that. Not one. I got one runner who was obviously autistic and bolted out of the hallway, dodging and weaving between the legs of the adults like an NFL star. Luckily, his brother eventually caught him.
Toward the end of our time there a tall, thin African American girl about nine years old came through the door. She reminded me of a student I once had. Assembling her three siblings in to the corner, her eyes were wide and her brow knitted together with a look of confusion and a bit of panic.
“Where is my mom?” She asked me.
“She’s in the present room. As soon as she is done, she will be here to get you.” I said.
“Are you sure?” she scanned the room the whole time she was talking. I explained to her that the line exited right out the other door and into the hallway. Her mom had to come through there in order to leave. “Ok.” She answered me, not quite convinced. Then with one hand she took mine and the other she wrapped around my arm.
“My name is Shelle we just moved here we’re staying at the shelter right now because we had to move out of our house but we’re going to move into a new house in January…” Her run-on sentence continued without a break as she told me about herself, her sisters, her parents, school, her fears. Her little world had been turned upside down and she was scared shitless.
When it was time for me to go I turned Shelle’s hand gently over to the other volunteer. “You have a happy Christmas, ” I said to her in a quite voice.
“I will,” she answered, ” I can’t wait for my mom to open her present.”
Shelle made my holidays. As I made a breakfast of crepes with apples and rose whipped cream for my son and I on Christmas morning, he played happily with his Legos. I though of Shelle and her sisters and wondered what their Christmas morning would be like. The mom in me worried about whether they got a good breakfast. This week I’ve been trying to locate the shelter that they are staying at so I can deliver a gift card for groceries.
If you are one of the people I send this blog to, I know quite well that you have a good life. Giving does not need to be just one stinking day. I’ve added a list below of places you can donate to or volunteer for. Stop watching you big screen TV, get off you ass and go make someones New Year a little happier. Afterward you can make yourself some crepes and appreciate your sweet life.
http://www.treehouse4kids.org/, http://www.marrow.com/, http://www.netsquared.org/share?cg=slider, http://jwcenter.org/, http://www.acco.org/, http://www.rmhcseattle.org/, https://www.ywcaworks.org/netcommunity/
These are just a few places. Trust me, it’s not hard to find someone who is in need of a little help.
Apple Crepes with Rose Whipped Cream (VG)
See the Crepe recipe in the Sol Invictus post
For the rest:
This a simple and yummy breakfast. Chop your apples and dates into small pieces and put them in a sauce pan. Add about 1/4 cup of water, about 1/4 cup of white wine, 2 tbsp. corn starch to thicken it up and brown sugar to sweeten to your preference.
Let this simmer on the stove until the apples are soft and the liquid is syrupy. In the mean time, make your crepes and add in some Brie cheese.You can also use Ricotta cheese if you would like.
To make your whipped cream pour your whipping cream into a bowl. Remember it will be about half again as much as what you start with as it fluffs up. Add about 1/4 tsp of rose water. Whip it. Gentlemen, you may want to use your favored hand – I don’t necessarily mean the one you write with. Once your cream starts to get pretty frothy, add the regular sugar in to taste. About 2 pinches or 1/4 tsp.
Assemble. I sprinkled a little powdered sugar on mine.
Eat. Enjoy. Appreciate.