JJ Vincent’s mom does nothing halfway. That includes filling the barrel at a local food bank drop-off.
I learned a long time ago that my mother does nothing half-way. This includes helping people in need. Sometimes this is a blessing…throughout my life, she’s helped a number of friends in need, from a few dollars in gas money to a roof over their heads for several months when their families discarded them. Sometimes this is a hard lesson for her, when people take advantage of her kindness and she’s left the poorer for it.
When she lived in California, she adopted families at various times of the year and at holidays, although for her last few years there it was months instead of holidays, which her faith does not celebrate. This meant making sure they had food for special meals, outfitting children for back to school, buying heaters and blankets and toys, taking parents and elders shopping, taking care of their children if they had to work extra shifts. She’s not done that much since she moved here to Alabama. People here tend to take care of their own, and I think she’s missed the joy of giving.
Last week, I mentioned a local food drive that our public radio station heavily promotes. She kept asking when it was, and I told her I had not heard. She kept after me, and the answer was the same.
Yesterday, I got a call from her. She was at the grocery store, asking what she needed to get for the food drive, because there was a big sale. Mind you, her mind is not altogether together. I made sure the drop-off location was open, looked up the organization, gave her a “most-needed” list, and spent a goodly amount of time on the phone with her as we co-shopped, pondering the relative merits of mac-and-cheese over Hamburger Helper, canned chicken over canned tuna, and straight noodles or curly noodles. When she was finally satisfied that she had gotten as much as she could for her money, she bade me goodbye and headed to the checkout.
Did I mention my mother never does anything halfway? I found out this morning that two years of pent-up desire to take care of those in need had translated into a full grocery cart of food, which filled the rain-barrel collection container at our public radio station lobby, requiring the help of two cheerful volunteers to unload. When the car was empty and the barrel was full, she waved at them and left. No name. No receipt. Just a big smile.
I guess she made her own food drive. By the happiness in her voice, I doubt this will be her last.
There are times when she drives me a little bit nuts. And then there are times when I aspire to be the person that she is, and am very glad that she’s my mommy.
Although I don’t think I can carry as many bags as she can.