Most of the time I don’t understand this world. I don’t understand how our society has evolved into what it has become. What it may become. Today Shawn, Scout, and I took a trip to the grocery store. Lately we’ve been taking daily trips. I’m finding that we spend less money on our grocery bill when we do this rather than take large trips and stock up on unnecessary items. As we walked through the warmth of the sun in the parking lot I got a chill when I saw these two older women at the door with a giant green trash can. They were handing out pieces of paper. Electric blue, violet, sunshine yellow. On the pieces of paper was a list of items that our local food pantry needed. Cans of chili, canned veggies, noodles, peanut butter, jellies. Toothpaste, deodorant, bar soap, baby food, diapers. We live in a world, a state, a small town, where babies don’t have diapers. Mothers don’t have soap to wash themselves. Where families can’t even afford a peanut butter an jelly sandwich.
It makes me sad. I’ve been in situations when I needed these items. I was a teenage mother. A teenage single mother. I’ve been homeless three times. I had to spend what money I did have on a renting a one room motel room. I didn’t even have money to use the telephone. And yet, I still went to work full time. I washed dogs. I worked at the mall. I donated blood. And yet, I still went to school. I became a veterinary assistant. I bought a used car. I always had quarters to wash my laundry at the 24 hour laundromat. Sometimes I had an extra quarter or two to play Pac Man while waiting for the industrial sized steel dryers to get all my clothes back to an exceptable cleaniliness. Sometimes I couldn’t wash out all the animal hair or blood. Sometimes I couldn’t get clean enough.
Those times are hidden in a deep dark past. Sometimes I dream of them. Remembering how very hard it was to survive. Today those days aren’t so bad. Shawn has a very stable job. He brings home a weekly paycheck. We don’t run out of milk. We have diapers. We are well stocked with soaps. (I could never let go of my past when it came to cleanliness.) But then one day we walked outside and I saw the world for what it’s become.
We don’t make the time for our neighbors. People don’t stop to talk to the homeless man that sits in front of 7/11 on Thanksgiving Day. My mother did. She told the man to stay there and that she would be back in just a few minutes. She walked the 1/2 mile back to our home and put together a container of turkey, potatoes, corn, stuffing. And pie. She gave him some pie. I never did see the man again. I’d like to think that he remembers my mom’s kindness.
I bought diapers. Size 2. I bought a package of wipes. 80 count. I bought Gerber baby food. 10 packages. I don’t know how long this will last. Surely not long enough. I imagine the woman at the food pantry sighing in relief that someone bought a package of diapers to donate. I imagine she holds her baby close and tells him, “Everything is going to be alright. I love you. I always will.” I imagine her sleeping on a cot at the YMCA with her baby comfortably in her arms. I imagine she will never let go. I hope that she will make it.
And in the midst of the turmoil that tugs at my heartstrings I knit. I knit to calm the dark sea that sits deep in my heart. I knit so that I can remind myself that I am safe. I have a home. I still have enough quarters. And, now, I have socks. I am thankful that my feet will never be cold.
Squid and Ink Socks by Mama Blue
Yarn: Simple Merino by Mama Blue
Needles: US 3 needles (for a size 9.5″ foot)