Let's keep helping our neighbors
Jilda had yoga training last weekend so I was on my own. I ran by to see my mom to give her a Mother's Day card and a new gown. On the way home I stopped by the Sipsey Community Center, which is the hub for distributing food and necessities to victims of last month's disaster.
My intention was to see if I could deliver food to any elderly folks who didn't have transportation. My stomach was growling because it was almost lunchtime. One of the ladies said they didn't need to deliver any meals, but they did need someone to help serve the food. I thought, I can do that, so I stepped behind the counter, washed my hands and slapped on a pair of latex gloves. "How hard can this be?" I thought to myself, as a few folks drifted in for Mother's Day lunch.
Soon we were out of corn fritters and fish sticks. When I mentioned this to one of the ladies, she pointed to the stove and bags of stuff to be cooked. The only things I've ever cooked were chili, coffee, cornbread, and waffles - I normally don't cook these at the same time, but you now you have an idea of what my resume would look like if I applied for a job as a chef.
When I turned to tell the lady about my lack of experience, I saw a crowd of people coming in. The line soon extended out the door and into the parking lot. If I'd been in her shoes, I would probably have said "Hey! Stop being such a whiney-baby. A spider monkey sloshed on Jack Daniels could fry this stuff." But she was kind enough to give me some on-the-job training. "Just toss the fritters and fish sticks into the pots of boiling cooking oil. When they start turning brown and rising to the top, dip them out," she instructed.
I was a little tentative at first but again that little voice inside said, "I'm a college graduate, I'm trainable, I can do this." About halfway through lunchtime, I was shouting "ORDER UP, GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT!!!" You would have thought I was a cook at Waffle House. I was amazed by all the people who came to help this little community on Mother's Day. A bunch of the volunteers who showed up to eat wore matching yellow shirts.
During one of the lulls, I stepped over and talked to one of the guys. As it turns out, they were members of the Mormon Church in Tennessee. On Saturday, 500 showed up with chainsaws and other hand tools and went to work. They seemed as organized as a colony of bees. About 250 stayed until Sunday and came back to Sipsey after church to help until nightfall.
There were several other church groups and individuals who pitched in as well. It was humbling to think of the kindness of those who showed up to lend a hand. When lunch was over, I washed up, took out the garbage and was about to head home for a nap. The ladies there kept telling me how much they appreciated my help. I told them it was the least I could do.
I know a great deal has been written about the disaster and many of us would like nothing better than to put this behind us, but it's not so easy for those who lost so much in these storms.
To Sipsey, Argo, Cordova and all the other communities in Alabama, the road to recovery is long. I encourage everyone reading this to think about ways to continue helping our neighbors in some way. It's the least we can do. Read more: Daily Mountain Eagle - Let's keep helping our neighbors.