I wish you might imagine the immediate feeling of ease and confidence that permeates our bland inner city street corner as soon as you arrive, just because you’re there. Thank you for your big hearts, your hard work, your flexibility, your attentiveness, your leadership, your thoughtful conversation with our waiting guests, your gentleness and playfulness with the little children, your friendship with me.
You made “Belonging” real for everyone.
You made all the “Who Cares?” commercial Valentines hype into a few hours of personal meaning for so many, including some new “gentry” in the changing demographics at the fringes of our neighborhood. A few of the day’s onlookers jogged over as we were folding our tent and could not say enough about their awe, their desire to volunteer next time.
I hope you are getting some rest today. Each of you blessed my day, uplifting so many of our neighbors and strangers and passersby. Gentleness and humor and kindness were in the wind yesterday.
Thanks, particularly, for hanging in ’til the end, collapsing boxes and leaving our work area as close to whistle-clean as it could be while we were still in action. You’ll be heartened to know that when I walked over to the firehouse after dark to borrow a broom while Abdul was closing down his gas lines and making his “kitchen cafe” ready to tow away, the firemen grinned kindly at me and said, “We got your back, Mary. We’ll send somebody over. Don’t worry about it”. I was a little stiff in the joints from the long day on the sidewalk, and I was the only one left to sweep up candy wrappers, scraps of foil, occasional soda cans, forks, and food bits that were surprisingly few for the numbers of people we had there during 11 hours, but too many to bend and pick up individually along 3 blocks of sidewalk. I was SOoooo grateful to our FDNY partners for offering to take care of the last of the clean-up. I padlocked the gate at the Parks Sanitation Site at “the Projects”, climbed over my last icy snow pile of the day, plopped into my car, and was immediately as good as home. BIG SIGH, bigger smile, inside and out
Another sweet day with loving family and friends, bringing a little levity to a working Saturday for a few hours, softening the edges of life a bit on one street corner in a big city. Thanks to each of you for giving us yet another chance to do it. HAPPY VALENTINES, MY LOVES!