Volunteers and hangers-on

By: Mike Gorra

I could tell you that I’m again at DaDa’s in Delray on a Tuesday evening, typing by my thumbs, but I’m not.  At home at 5 a.m. on Monday, getting a head start on the week.

This third column in a trilogy steps away from a direct connection to matrimonial law into the theme:” those who hang by their thumbs” and those who help them.

First the helpers.  As directed, I arrived at Victory Church a few minutes before 10 Saturday morning to pick up boxes of free food to bring to people who need the food, arranged through the Mae Volen Center in Boca Raton.  I spot a couple of my fellow Rotarians, who tell me that, “the truck was late and our start would be delayed by about two hours.  Not being patient I groan, but then it gets interesting.

Micheal H. Gora

I pick up my six boxes two hours later, but not before watching a process engineered by the church’s volunteers, which started with a prayer circle, became chaotic when the late truck, a huge 18-wheeler, got unloaded, by the volunteers, followed by an assembly line of box stuffing from frozen meats, to vegetables, chips and the like, and dessert.

The prayer circle included a reference to an excellent faith healer, who was visiting the county. Just to be safe I stuck in a silent prayer for my wife’s right foot, which had been swollen lately while recovering from a fractured bone.

Of the many areas of South County being served I was randomly handed two lists of homes to choose from.  I chose Boca’s Century Village, because I would finish closer to my home than the route in Delray Beach.

After a few minutes of familiarizing myself with the map attached to my list, and a few more minutes of getting lost in Century Village I arrived at my first destination.

Easy.  A first floor apartment. I parked right in front.  Knocked, and then knocked a bit harder.  A tiny man in his 90s came to the door and with a big grin, invited me into his home, and directed me to put my twenty pound box in his kitchen.

His home, neat as a pin, was tiny.  Saturday’s newspaper was neatly folded on his easy chair.  He took a chance and said something to me in Yiddish,   I responded with one of the two or three phrases I remember and wished him good luck.  He smiled again and he patted me on the back like I was a bar mitzvah boy, I gave him a hug and left.

Door number two was a bit harder to find as the list was wrong, and there was no matching apartment number in the building listed, “E.”  I tried “D” in the same complex and found the apartment, and the matching name.  I never met the occupant as the door was opened and directions given by a hired care taker, who accepted the food box on behalf of the napping owner.

The other four apartments were in the right places and easy to find, but each was on upper floors, one near an elevator and three not.  And the 20-pound boxes began to feel like 50 pounders.

I first found a delightful couple in their 80s who had been waiting for the two hour late delivery, and putting off their local daughter who was to have picked them earlier.  The occupants of the next two apartments took a different turn, much sadder and far more desperate.

Both women were obviously home bound, physically unable to care for themselves and their homes, and in pain.  Both women were probably in their fifties, one on a walker, the other on a cane, both obese.  They were happy to see me, well, actually the food box.  Both women were personable and talkative.

After I cleared a space and put down her box, the Italian lady asked if I minded taking her trash out to the chute, claiming that her physical therapist who had just left had forgotten to do so.  “No problem,” I said, picking up the two light plastic bags, saying goodbye, and taking out the garbage.

Number five, claimed that her problems were due to a botched hip replacement, and two attempts at repair.  She complained about her various ailments including a very swollen right foot.  I mentioned that my wife had been having a similar problem.  She told me her diagnosis, a disease of the foot that I had never heard about.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, or maybe just a coincidence.

I trudged up to a second floor apartment, my 6th delivery, and last, I thought.  I knocked on the door, no response.  I pushed the corroded bell device, no answer. After pounding on the door I realized that no one was going to answer, took my now one hundred pound box and went home.

The box fit into the spare fridge in the cabana. “ Mae Volen” was closed until Monday, so there was no place to return the box as per the written instructions.  I took another shot at delivery to the second floor apartment on Sunday evening, no success.

The box goes back to the Mae Volen Center this morning, but I can’t help but wonder and worry about the second floor lady, and whether or not she was still hanging on.


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on Mar 31 2011 Filed under Columnists, Divorce Florida Style, Front Page, News.
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About Pedro Heizer

I'm a person of simple taste, all I need is some country music, Batman, Star Wars, sports, coffee, and most importantly Jesus Christ, because what profits a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? View all posts by Pedro Heizer

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