Today… MJ & I were at the farmers market enjoying a perfect summer Sunday in Hollywood… farmers were providing samples of the freshest fruits in town… the street musicians were playing… people were discussing important topics with words like … “vegan, raw, cold pressed, unfiltered and gluten-free” while carrying wicker baskets from home to protect the environment. It was a safe place with people who seem to know more than me.
The best part of Sunday is the variety of ethnic foods… anything from Korean to Middle Eastern… it’s there being cooked to perfection. Today, we decided on Middle Eastern… I got a grilled vegetarian platter and MJ got chicken and lamb kabobs. There are no words to describe how good it smelled and tasted. For $20 we got enough food to feed a family of four with enough left over to feed them again! It was a feast!
Anyone that knows us will tell you food is paramount in our lives. The act of eating is almost a religious experience and we worship it several times a day! Say Halleluiah and Amen!
Something important happened after lunch that I don’t want to forget… because it took me back to a life I walked away from in Florida. I want to share it …
Scattered between the food vendors at the market are shared tables and chairs so you can relax while eating everything in sight… It’s a perfect place … a sax player played the blues and a poet sat at a typewriter banging out poems for a $1.00. Everything about it was safe and welcoming… sorta like hanging out at your grandmother’s place after a family dinner.
Once we had eaten about 1/3 of our food we headed to the trash cans to throw a perfectly good feast away. It was there that I had an epiphany… just as one of the containers hit the trash I looked to my left and there was a homeless couple. The woman looked at me but the man looked away. I asked the man if he was hungry and offered him our lunch. He said nothing and continued to look away. The woman step forward and said he was embarrassed and yes, they were very hungry… so I handed them the food and the one I’d just tossed into the trash. Nothing else was said about it… nothing needed to be said. I did nothing heroic by offering food I was about to toss… but they did something for me.
They reminded me of a day when I was hungry. I’d spent the night in jail for public intoxication after leaving Pete’s Bar in Atlantic Beach, Florida. Once sober, I was allowed to leave with $1.00 to my name. For some reason, the police kept my belt and shoe laces… so I was a ragged messed walking back to my oceanfront condo a few miles down the beach. I remember walking into a McDonald’s filled with surfers and kids enjoying a day at the beach and I remember the humiliation of not being able to order from the Dollar Menu. I was hungry and 6 pennies short of food. I remember holding my belt less pants up with my hand and shuffling in my lace less shoes home. That was low a point in my life. Today, the hungry man reminded me of my own past. I hope the food helped him because he certainly helped me.