Wednesday, September 23

Benevolence Incarnate

Had a run in with a saint today. It was an odd experience. I told her so, and she said, "It's not odd to share."

It was just the kids and me at the park, and someone strides up and says, with a wonderful Indian accent, "Would you like some food? I have plenty of extra that I was giving to the senior citizen center." Then she takes off to her car, and my son follows her, as if he's a rat and she's playing pipes. I scoop up my one year old, and follow, all the while I fret about poison and strangers, my paranoia in overdrive.

We get to her car, a dumpy white Volvo station wagon, filled to the brim with food from Trader Joe's and Safeway, and she's talking nonstop about how kids get their preconceived notions about poverty and food from their parents, and how her dog (named Trixie or Tricia or some T-name that I forgot) is great with kids. She says, "Here, let me hold her, I'm a nurse," and she snaps up Harmony before I can protest. While I'm floundering for something to say, I find three plastic containers of vegetables, four loaves of bread, and two containers of berries in my arms.

I say, "We don't really need this," and she said, "Everyone needs food." She explained that she likes to stop at parks on her way from getting excess groceries from the stores and giving it to schools and food banks, because she likes to cut out the middle man, and give directly to the parents, and she feels better knowing people will eat the food. "I give the food to the kids at the school, and you know what they do? They throw it! They don't know any better."

Then, as quickly as she came, she zoomed off, supposedly to give the food to someone else as bewildered as me, while we opened up a plastic container of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, whose only fault was that the date said it was today.

She said her name was Sumi, and my kids ate: after all, they were hungry, because everyone needs food. Thanks, Sumi.

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