Fishing for Newspapers
I ran out to the market the other morning and a woman shouted down to me from her balcony:
“Are you going to the market? Could you buy me newspapers?”
That’s the French I understood anyway so I replied, “Oui!”
She motioned to the plastic bag in her hand which was tied to a long rope, saying it held the coins needed for the purchase. I waved her off and headed out. As I returned with les journeaux, she lowered the bag to me. It caught in the wind and I chased it like a fish, flopping about the sidewalk. Smiling at my situation I managed to snatch it and placed the newspapers inside. Hand-over-hand she pulled her catch over the railing. She thanked me like this was a completely normal exchange and I went home.
I said to my family, “You never know what’s going to happen the minute you step outside your door.”
I’m having a hard time helping others. I have reached out to a couple of organizations who connect volunteers with those in need and am getting rejected based on 1) language and 2) having kids. I’m requesting for us to act as companion to the elderly, for either at-home visits or assistance in grocery shopping and other errands. I write things in the Comments section like “My daughter and I have a lot of hours to give.”
We are available and eager and isolated. They are available and eager and isolated. We are parents at home with our children. They are seniors at home with no one. There are a lot of us. There’s got to be a way to bridge this gap.
In the mean time I’ll be looking up when walking to the market now, hoping to help a stranger again with her daily catch.