Wednesday, January 19, 2011

22 Sandwiches

Terry and I planned to go out Sunday afternoon to watch a football game at a bar. Before we did we went to visit Mary Hill at her mothers home in Winter Park. I had not gone to the reception after Margaret Hills funeral. Instead I rushed home and started to write. This was the first time Terry had visited Mary at her mom's house. When we arrived Mary offered us drinks and sandwiches. Mary's neighbor Phyllis Miller was there and she used a portable grill she had bought from home to toast our sandwiches so they were nice and crunchy like Panini's. This was the first time Terry really had time to get to know Mary and they really hit it off. Mary's friend Elizabeth Cohen showed up soon afterward. Terry and Elizabeth had many things in common for instance they had both lived in Israel for a while so they were like two peas in a pod.

After Phyllis left, Elizabeth and Mary started a sandwich production line. Elizabeth smeared on some mayo and then Mary put on cold cuts and cheese. Mary had so many leftovers from the funeral that she wanted to make sandwiches and hand them out at Lake Eola, in her mother's memory. I warned Mary that there was a law on the books that said no one could feed more than 25 people in a public park in Orlando. In all they made 22 sandwiches. Terry was touched by this generosity and at first she wanted to go to Lake Eola to help hand out the sandwiches. Then Elizabeth got a call and realized that she had totally forgotten about a social engagement she had made. After Elizabeth left, Terry decided we should go with our original plan and we soon left to see a playoff football game downtown at Wild Side. Mary packed all the sandwiches into a fabric reusable grocery bag.

After Terry and I left for the bar Mary headed down to Lake Eola. The bar was really crowded but we muscled our way into a room with a large wide screen TV. I can't really relate the details of the game because quite honestly I wasn't paying much attention. I do believe the Packers won because I like the bright colors on their uniform and there was plenty of cheering whenever the bright green jerseys ran into the end zone. It was towards the end of the game that I got a text from Mary saying she had finished handing out the sandwiches.

Later I learned from Mary that this simple act of generosity was moving on so many levels. Everyone she approached was honesty thankful. One woman related that it was impossible to find food on a Sunday. She approached one group of 3 men and had two sandwiches in her hands. Two of the men stood side by side and the third was a few steps further down the trail. When Mary asked if they would like some sandwiches the first two men of course accepted her offering. The third had trouble walking and he hobbled closer. The man standing closest to Mary looked at his sandwich and then at the man hobbling closer to him. He paused and thought to himself before he decided to give the struggling man his sandwich. He looked down afterwards certain he must have made a mistake since he might have to go hungry that night. After a moments pause the man finally looked up at Mary. Luckily she had another sandwich in her bag and he was truly grateful. Mary was moved close to tears by his act of selfless giving on his part.

Mary had not had the chance to relate to anyone why she was handing out sandwiches at Lake Eola. When she handed out the last sandwich in her bag, the man thanked her saying, "You must be an angel, I was just standing here thinking to myself that I was an idiot for missing the food line earlier today and I would have to go hungry tonight. Then here you are handing me a sandwich!" He asked why she was here alone handing out sandwiches and she was able to relate her story of the leftovers after her mothers funeral. She said her mother was a generous person and she was giving away the sandwiches in her honor. The man said, "Your mother is still teaching you lessons isn't she?" "Yes, she certainly is and I'm sure she will for many years to come." Mary said.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

The story of the sandwiches just made me cry.