i was hesitant, thinking i didn’t qualify as an emergency situation, but she said we are going. we sat in line and made friends. i was reminded that a desperate need for food doesn’t eliminate food intolerances and preferences. “i can’t be eating any white bread” she shared. “it sticks things up and goes right to my thighs.” her smile was much bigger than her thighs. we were being entertained by a young roaming gal from florida who was making sharp observations about berkeley and our other bay area towns. she pegged me as someone who probably owned a yoga mat. she wasn’t wrong. on our second visit, dapper older men were missing their turns because they were too busy socializing in line. not a real problem; everyone had each others backs.
my sister/pal is responsible for the care & upkeep of a church garden. she shares extra lettuces with me (and my tortoise) and look what i did with a beautiful white radish. makes me feel like rapunzel sneaking into her neighbor’s garden; let’s not think about all the trouble and tower imprisonment that led to. luckily i seem to not have inherited my dad’s weird stinky radish burps problem.
one church garden leads to another and at urban adamah we receive charity on all fronts. every wednesday we can have eggs, bread, and fresh farm produce while visiting with intellectuals, activists, new mothers, rainbow children, chickens and goats. when the lay abed berkeley sun is a no-show and one is shivering noticeably, hugs and blankets are provided. much appreciated, but this party-pooper leaves before any music or dancing festivities start up. i overhear friends confessing that although so deeply appreciative of the helping hands they sorta need a little shove in the rear as well to get on board with all the food preparation now required. also, sister/pal wonders why i keep getting low first-called numbers and she doesn’t. we drink replenishing herb & flower infused water, the strongest note being roadside fennel.
a limp beet from the food pantry is salvaged by pickling in raspberry vinegar, pairing with fava greens & cilantro from urban adamah, and serving over food pantry white rice which now becomes pink. a lively salad distracts from the worry of eating expired butternut squash soup. a friend passed on a green bell pepper with the stipulation that i show her what i did with it. a dented can of stewed tomatoes is the base of a whole wheat pasta dish and a wilting carrot is given a second chance in a yogurt cumin salad.
all this food rustling has made us less timid and more outgoing so this time when we get the church flyer we make a point of going to the event. to meet our neighbors and eat a hotdog for dinner. one of them tells us about the river cruise adventure just concluded; from amsterdam to hungary. he urges us to eat lots of salad. his wife is always worried people won’t eat her salad. we were glad to help.