Friday, August 15, 2014

Meals on wheels

My wife and I went out on our first meals on wheels delivery this week. We were a team - she was the navigator and runner (took meals to the door) and I was the driver ( I ran, too, as some of the places had no numbers to identify them and looked a little questionable to us). I felt brave as I checked out some of the homes expecting a pit bull to come tearing around the corner of the house. My wife is pretty good at talking down angry dogs, better than I am, but how could I let her fend off a pit bull while I sat in the car ( admittedly, I did think about it for a second). We have lived in this mostly rural county 35 miles from Jacksonville, Florida for over a year now and we discovered we didn't know much about it. We drove on country roads we had never seen before, some sand and barely passable after recent rains. I was glad we still had our 4 wheel drive SUV. We were given a list by the Office of Aging with no directions other than, just go. So, with my wife on her iPhone GPS system we crisscrossed our corner of the county. Our route took us so far down some sandy roads we  had to drive on the grass to the next home. At one such home the sand road bore the same name that welcomed us on the home at the very end. We felt like we were in a scene from a Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings novel. Most of the people we were delivering to looked at us cautiously since we were new. When we identified our selves as the new delivery team with their hot lunch and cold milk their faces brightened and they told us how thankful they were for bringing the meal all the way out to them. Some of the people had no visible means of transportation and were unable to get to the door. "Just come in the back and leave it on the table, sweetie!"  Often there was a ramp leading to that door and a wheelchair inside. The remarkable, and yet, unremarkable, thought that came to us was that in each of these homes down those long country roads there was a person living. Now, that sounds like a simple statement of fact but this delivery of food may be the only human contact they have all day. When you looked into their faces you saw that fact may be as important as the food we delivered.