The Judys

March 25th, 2009

There are two – Judy kitchen and Judy parlor. Judy kitchen arrives at First Parish in mid-morning, but is not the beginning of her work. She has already be shopping. Shopping for us – we, the homeless. Her leg seems to have healed. I don’t quite know how she managed the long hours of cooking while she had her leg in an immobilizer.1 I ran into her on the subway once. I think she told me she had worked for Haley House. I have not had a chance to find out how she got from the Catholic Workers to the Onetarians. There is never time at community dinner. If she is not presiding over the kitchen, she is talking to one of my colleagues more desperate to be listened to than me.

Judy Parlor works on serving the meal. Sometimes she brings her son. I saw him once in the kitchen through the serving window. He did a quick pirouette. Not a studied movement, but one of those playful apparently meaningless movements that young boys do… IF… That’s what they mean, “I feel safe in this world. I thrive.’

Judy Parlor takes my empty plate and reminds me again to keep my silverware. It’s the umpteenth time she has reminded me. But I keep getting fooled because the silverware is made of plastic designed to be thrown away – but not after only one course. I like when Judy Parlor reminds me to keep my silverware. It makes me feel safe in this world. Even as the guy with half his teeth spits out half chewed food – I thrive.

1This miracle of modern medical technology replaces the plaster cast. It is made of space age plastic and velcro. You can unfasten it, with care, to wash or scratch an itch. I regard it as a genuine example of progress.

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