A couple of days ago, before our first big snowstorm made everything white, my world was primarily orange.
I'd volunteered to help sell pumpkins at the corner of Alameda and Carr in Lakewood. It was part of the Jeffco Partners for Interfaith Action (which means a bunch of churches of various religions) to benefit Habitat for Humanity. It was a sparkly, sunny, chilly Monday and I had a blast.
I joined a team of three manly volunteers from Jefferson Unitarian (I think that's what they said) and they were pretty jolly. At one point I said that the only thing missing from the day was candy corn. Jim, the handsome dude at right (please ignore my finger), then trekked off to get me what I needed. Alas, no candy corn was found so we had to make due with M&M's and Skittles, my favorite!
We were pretty busy all day long and customers tended to come in clumps. It's the same in retail and restaurants ... I'm sure there's a Important Marketing Study going on right now that will explain this eventually.
But the highlight of the day came when Jim leaned over to me and said, "The people that are coming up behind you now - be sure to give them a big discount."
I turned around and saw at least a dozen young adults who live at a group home for the mentally challenged. Led by two sweet blond lady chaperones, one had a walker, a few had helmets and all of them had gigantic smiles. I could actually feel my heart expand just by looking at them.
"PUMPKINS!!!" they exclaimed.
They were not picky. Several chose the first pumpkin they got their hands on and decided it was the most perfect thing they'd ever seen. A few of them told me excitedly about how they'd decorated their house together.
"We put up spiders EVERYWHERE!!!"
"And kitty cats!"
"And scary witches!"
OMG, it was cute squared. Eventually, they all had made their selections (about 13 pumpkins) and I only charged the lady $20. "God bless you," she said, with visible relief. I'm thinking their budget for outings like this must be slim.
I helped carry some pumpkins to their little bus and the fun continued. While the lead ladies loaded up a wheelchair-bound fellow, I helped buckle seat belts and situate new glorious pumpkins on grateful laps. A big, fluffy Huskie dog named Tawny (she lives at the home) sniffed over each child, making sure all were accounted for.
When it was time to leave I said, "Happy Halloween everybody!"
And almost in unison, they replied in high volume: "THANK YOU NICE LADY!!!!"
OMG, my heart just melted and I couldn't stop smiling. Even now, typing this, I am tearing up. I can't believe how much joy I got from being close to these kids for only 20 minutes or so. Such a pure feeling.
I can't shake the feeling that these kids are closer to God than I could ever hope to be.