Yesterday a woman came to the table where we were non-stop assembling paper boats of spaghetti with beef and ricotta tomato cream. She squealed with delight, "this is exactly what I need. I'm waiting for a bus to take me home." She was maybe 75, short cropped grey hair, and pulling a small shopping cart with various plastic bags of her belongings. She pointed to the Greyhound bus station across the street. "They open up again at 4pm" , then another squeal, "Oh my God, they have ice cream."
It's true, on Fridays we serve ice cream to finish off our week. Even in the rainy winter. We can't afford it really, though we pay an extra $10 for Tillamook brand and everyone notices that we got the good stuff. We make a big deal out of upcoming flavor choices or ask patrons to tell us their favorites. Sometimes that's the only way I know how to say i care loud enough. Sometimes it is as much for me as it is for the community.
The woman asked if she could take a second helping for her long ride to the coast. That was home. She had to leave the coast when her sister whom she lived with passed and the rest of her family had no time for her. She and her sister had a cleaning business and they would clean weekend homes. Her plan was to take the bus to XXXX and get off close to old the senior center and maybe they would know somewhere she could stay. She had a little money for a hotel, but not much, so she hoped she could go back to work cleaning soon. "But nothing too filthy. I won't clean it if it is too filthy."