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Gladness and Sadness

Our Christmas Dinner was held this past Tuesday, January 18.  Three weeks after Christmas and people who received their cheques before Christmas are ready for a hot turkey dinner.  Seems to work for everyone.

Two settings of eighty people each, tickets are distributed and it works well.  This year we had an East Coast Trio that did well: one of our Newfoundland guys said, “I close my eyes and I’m back home.”

Volunteers cooking, serving, cleaning, visiting – with our friends from the streets sharing words of thanks and appreciation.  One Christmas treat bag each, along with one sock filled with more treats. The other sock was inside the first one – I asked.

So, near the end of the second setting I leave through the kitchen door to return my camera to the car.

I noticed someone standing, well leaning, on the wall outside the main door, just out of view of anyone inside.  He was standing on one foot, his leather dress boot in one hand, while at the same time, he is putting on a fresh emptied sock from the gift table.  I looked away to preserve some of my friend’s dignity, and my mind was flooded with thoughts filled with emotion.

I didn’t notice any used socks around when I returned: I wonder if he had any socks on at all.  The leather dress boots had seen better days, and then only inside, but the winter had turned them white with salt, and there was enough water to penetrate the leather right to the bare feet.

What could happen to a person that he would not have socks?  This is sadness.

Then, what could be a better Christmas present than a clean, fresh, warm pair of socks?  Can’t get much better than that!  That is gladness.

Sadness and gladness all wrapped up in a simple exercise of putting on a pair of socks.  The sad story behind this we may never know, but we could imagine there’s a lot of stuff hidden in that story.

Then we have to consider the bigger picture of a bunch of volunteer stuffing socks with candies, hoping to bring a little light into someone’s life – if only they knew just how appropriate their gift really was!

A small thing really, for most of us – but a pretty  large thing for our sockless, water soaked, leather booted friend.

You have to wonder if all the preparation of the meal, the music, the gift bags (and sock bags), the venue, the volunteers, and so many countless deeds of kindness that went into the whole Christmas dinner in January… was so that one man, who had cold, wet boots, could have warm feet for just a wee while.

And know that Someone cared.

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