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Tuesday Evening in Prineville New Hampshire

Jan 16 2018

Debra,the pastors wife's, heart burns aglow
As she trudges to church ankle deep in the snow.
The key in the lock, the creak of the door
It'sTuesday, the food pantry opens at four.
Her volunteers come as always they do
Three ancient widows and a teenager or two.
white haired widows, hands gnarled with age
Stooped at the shoulders, except for old Paige.
Though 78, Paige can still work like a man
Laying out produce and stacking up cans.
For neighbors are lined up in howling wind
For a free box of groceries and a listening friend.
The other two widows only gossip and chat
But Paige and the teenagers make up for the slack.

Once all the donations cover all of the tables,
Debra opens the door to the poor and disabled.
The first one in the door, as always, is Adam
Showing off his Special Olympics medallion.
He lived in Prineville ever since he was little,
His speech is too loud, punctuated with spittle.
But Debra hugs him without hesitation
He's not there for the food but to get affirmation.

There's a lonesomeness worse than the worst isolation
There's a thirst that's more than a mere empty cup
There's a hunger more hollow than even starvation
But Debra, Paige and Jesus will help fill it up.


Another regular, old Granny Brown
Arrives at the pantry with her permanent frown.
"Shovel your walkway, the ice made me slip,
"I fell on my face and busted my lip."
Debra knows Granny just seeks sympathy
And her story is nothing but hyperbole.
No swelling or bleeding no bruises appear
But Debra still sighs, "Oh my, you poor dear."
Granny, now pacified, focuses solely
On storing up carrots and canned ravioli.

There's a lonesomeness worse than the worst isolation
There's a thirst that's more than a mere empty cup
There's a hunger more hollow than even starvation
But Debra, Paige and Jesus will help fill it up.


An overweight deaf man comes next in the line
So one of the teenagers tries his hardest sign.
He wants to say, " Good to see you, again"
But really he tells him, "You look hot, my friend."
The old deaf man resists laughing out loud
At least the kid tried, unlike most of the crowd.
He signs back to the kid, "Such nasty weather.
Keep learning to sign; you're doing much better."

There's a lonesomeness worse than the worst isolation
There's a thirst that's more than a mere empty cup
There's a hunger more hollow than even starvation
But Debra, Paige and Jesus will help fill it up.

The evening is ending, the crowd is dispersed
Snow is still falling, but they've avoided the worst
With ten minutes to go, Rebecca comes in
A scarf hinds her face from the shame and the wind.
Just twenty-two, a petite introvert
With the face of an angel, and four years of hurt
She comes every week for a box to bring home
And she always comes last and always alone
She's ashamed that she needs this, and also she fears
She'll become like the others in five or six years.
But for now she is hungry, there's really no choice,
So she comes for some groceries and to hear Debra's voice.
Like an old high school friend who she's not seen for years
Debra embraces Rebecca with smiles and tears.

There's a lonesomeness worse than the worst isolation
There's a thirst that's more than a mere empty cup
There's a hunger more hollow than even starvation
But Debra, Paige and Jesus will help fill it up.

The evening is over, the widows have left
Except for old Paige who'll clean up the mess
With the help of the teens, the excess is packed
The tables are folded, the chairs are all stacked
When the vacuuming's over, and the rooms just like before
Debra locks up the basement and closes the door
She walks to the parsonage through the last flakes of snow
At peace and contented, her heart still aglow.

There's a lonesomeness worse than the worst isolation
There's a thirst that's more than a mere empty cup
There's a hunger more hollow than even starvation
But Debra, Paige and Jesus will help fill it up.

















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