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?
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.