“Aussie, what are you doing with your food in the living room?”
Aussie’s food bowl is aways in the laundry room, her usual dining venue. Yesterday morning I had some roast beef gravy, so instead of putting her dry food in the bowl I put it into the plastic container with the gravy and put it on the floor of the laundry room. After a few minutes I noticed that it was unusually quiet. Aussie was not in the laundry room. I walked into the living room and there she was on the rug, food bowl between her paws.
“What are you doing with your food, Aussie?”
“I’m on guard duty. You know what the problem is, don’t you? Once you get good food, you have to protect it from everybody else! I just know Henry is skulking around, ready to steal the meal as soon as my back is turned, lazy Chihuahua!”
“He’s lazy? And what, pray tell, do you do to earn your food, Aussie?”
“I take you on walks every day! I accompany you on your drives and growl at you to stay awake. I lie on the futon all day protecting the computer screen that’s at the other end. I went with you earlier today to meet those families you love so much. I let the kids pet me, I grin and smile though I can’t understand a thing they’re saying. Let me tell you, I work hard!”
“Aussie, you’re being tight-pawed.”
“These are hard times. Speaking of which, what are you cooking tomorrow? I don’t smell anything in the kitchen.”
“I’m not cooking, Auss.”
“What? You’re not cooking! Thanksgiving’s the day I don’t move from the kitchen floor.”
“Aussie, after 21 years of cooking, I’m not cooking this Thanksgiving.”
“You’re lazier than Henry. What are we going to do?”
“We’re going to line up and get our meal from Stone Soup Café tomorrow.”
“You mean, with the poor? We’re not poor!”
“I know that; I’ve already paid for our dinner and added a donation.”
“I can’t believe this.”
“At first, I thought I’d buy some prepared Thanksgiving food, but I received a notice from Stone Soup that they’re doing lots of Thanksgiving meals and packing them in boxes to take home. So tomorrow you and I are going to stand on line, masked and 6 feet apart, and pick up our meal.”
“It’s going to rain!”
“Good, we could use more rain, Aussie.”
“I don’t want to stand on that line. All those veterans with their emotional support dogs wearing silly bandannas! I’m from Texas. I don’t do that kind of stuff.”
Poor Aussie! I was thrilled to receive the email from Stone Soup. Nothing I like more than to stand among the community, wait my turn, thank the volunteers and their incredible Executive Chef and Director, Kirsten Levitt, for providing hundreds of big Thanksgiving meals to anyone who asks for one. It’s on a pay-what-you-can basis, and whenever I’m there I feel like I’m taking my turn in the give-and-take of things.
I just returned from giving out $750 more in food cards, cash for Anselmo’s rent for next month (he still can’t work after falling off a roof some 5 weeks ago) and rent and Internet for Marisol, still with her son in the hospital where he went through kidney surgery today, along with a gift someone specifically sent for Floriana who’s taking care of Marisol’s other children. That’s over $2,600 that came from people from all over. I’m so lucky to take part in all this.
At the same time, it’s easy to give. When I used to fundraise for the Greyston organizations in Yonkers, knowing the rush and urgency of our financial needs, trying over and over to get foundation staff on the phone, I used to fantasize that one day I’ll work for a foundation and start giving out money, rather than asking for it all the time.
I don’t feel like that anymore. Tomorrow, at Stone Soup, Aussie and I will be the ones receiving. And if I didn’t have any money, I’d still be receiving those delicious meals. I’ll stand on line with many different people laughing and kibitzing, edging closer to the tables where they’ll ask my name and whether I ordered a turkey meal, a vegetarian meal, or a vegan Thanksgiving meal. Pretty terrific, isn’t it?
Next to me will be different people, some of whom can’t put down a penny and others who probably made bigger donations than I did. It won’t matter, what will matter will be the receiving, getting to the front of the line and accepting the box of food. Aussie will hold up her head and sniff happily, and I’ll be able to thank everyone.
From joy to bewilderment: Yesterday, Donald Trump finally made a 1-minute public appearance to announce that the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone over 30,000, “a sacred number” according to him. Sacred means different things to different people.
This morning I read a column by Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times entitled: Even in a Pandemic, the Billionaires Are Winning. He quoted a study by the Institute of Policy Studies tracking the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor. “On March 18, … America’s 614 billionaires were worth a combined $2.95 trillion. When the markets closed on Tuesday [yesterday], there were 650 billionaires and their combined wealth was now close to $4 trillion. In the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, American billionaires’ wealth grew by a third,” or one trillion dollars in just 8 months.
In that same timeframe, over 20 million people lost their jobs, Congress is in no hurry to pass a relief bill, and evictions are going to skyrocket smack in the middle of winter once the new year begins.
On this Thanksgiving eve I can’t let myself get into rage, especially witnessing the kindness of so many people. Still, any fool can see where this is heading.