Saturday, May 22, 2010

Breaking bread

Bread for myself is a material question.
Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.

While we were in San Francisco last month, I was bound and determined to have some clam chowder in a bread bowl... because I missed out on having it the last time.
And I kicked myself for months afterwards, because last time, I had acquiesced to popular opinion, and had fish and chips instead of what I really wanted.

But this last time?
Nothin' doing!

I love sourdough.
I love clam chowder.
I love Fisherman's Wharf.
What better combination... the worlds best sourdough, filled with rich and creamy made-on-the-spot clam chowder, in one of the most beautiful spots on earth... and all shared with the people I love best?

This time, there were several 'takers' when it came to the bread bowls, so after we had gotten our food, we wandered around the corner to sit on the benches, and to watch the seals and seagulls as we ate.
And it was good.

Only it was filling.

So I found myself only eating less than half of it... and I almost decided to do what the grandsons were doing, and throw pieces of the leftover bread to the seagulls.

But something told me "no".
Something told me to just place the leftovers - in the paper bowl - on top of the bin.
So I did.

And within less than half a minute, an old homeless man wandered over, picked up that leftover bread bowl and he proceeded to eat it.
Every last bite of it.
Clam chowder all over his whiskers and face, and even some in his eyebrows.
And a look of such pleasure on his face, that it would almost break your heart.

He then came over to me, smiled, and said "thank you for sharing the bread with me mam... That was surely delicious.
Do you have a cigarette you can lend me?"

So I gave him 4, (all that I had left) thinking that he would have one for now and then have some spares for later, you know?
And then I thought, well, what good are the cigarettes, if he doesn't have a lighter to light them with?
So I offered my lighter to him as well.

But he declined, saying
"thank you mam, but I'm going to go give these ciggies to a few of my friends, because I don't smoke, ya see.
May God bless you mam... because you've made an old man and our Lord very happy today."

And he wandered off.

But to this day, he hasn't left me.


Robynn's Ravings said...

Kate, that was such a WONDERFUL idea! I would have just tossed it in the can without thinking. How lovely to share and to watch him enjoy it so much. How much good food is TURNED to garbage just by virtue of throwing it in the bin? You will always make me think twice now. That is so YOU. Why am I not surprised that you gave more than you were asked for?

farmlady said...

Kate. This is wonderful. I remember this kind of feeling two Easters ago when I had to stop at a light coming off of a freeway and a homeless man was standing on the corner with a sign and his dog. I handed him some money and when he reached over to take it he looked at me and said, "God Bless you lady". I looked into his eyes and saw something like light come from them under the dirt and raggedy clothes. I swear it was light.
I still don't know what happen but I've never forgotten it and to this day I know that what I did, handing him that money, was a very special moment that gave me a.. (I don't like this word because it's so over used and sounds almost corny, but it's the right word for the emotion I felt.) blessed feeling beyond anything else that I have ever experienced.
I go that way all the time but I never saw him again.
What you did with the bowl of chowder was one of those
times. What he did with the cigarettes was one too.

Pam said...

What a wonderful story! You did good.

HermitJim said...

what the old timer did with those cigarettes shows what sharing and thinking of others is all about!

Just think, my friend, that you are responsible for making several people happy that day...and touching their lives in a way you never expected!

How great is that?

God Bless, my friend!

Narelle Nettelbeck said...

Love this story.
Thanks for sharing

Tatersmama said...

I think it might just be that MY life was affected even more than the old mans was. There was just something about him... he wasn't there, but then he was, and I definitely hadn't seen him before, in any of the people milling about. And he disappeared just as quickly. I felt like I had 'entertained an angel" if that makes any sense.

Nancy M. said...

What an awesome story! It's so wonderful you were able to bless him like that!

Sherri said...

Being we live in the desert (warmer weather then most places) we seem to have quite a few homeless around. There have been a few occasions when I've gone through a drive-thru and bought food for the homeless guy on the street holding a sign. I figure it's best giving food and drink rather then money. When I lived in Brawley there was a homeless guy who lived at one of the parks. On Thanksgiving I would fix him a plate and take it to him. He was always greatful. I did that for years.

diney said...

great story!

Fruitcake Sandy said...

Oh dear Kate, you touched my heart with this posting. I have sat on the pier and watched the sea lions basking and the gulls swooping low. I've eaten from the sourdough 'chowder' bowls ... and gone to Chocolate Factory for truffles.

I have given money to homeless people over the years ... a large bag of dog food once for a fellow's German Shepherd who sat beside him ... But I have never looked into their eyes. I have been thanked for kind deeds, but you, dear friend, were blessed by this old man ... thank you for sharing. I've missed my blogging buddies.

joolzmac said...

Great story Kate. I think you helped an Angel that day.


Karen Deborah said...

Your killing me with this. I'm going there this week! If I find somebody hungry I'll share too.

I want clam chowder bad!!!

I gues it's because we lived there, other people don't get it.

Karen Deborah said...

yep you may have entertained an angel...

Marjie said...

Nice story. I'm glad you got the breadbowl, and more people than just you enjoyed it!

Caroline said...

What a beautiful story Katie! Reminds me of the song, 'what if she's an angel' :)


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