This morning, my guys and I did the thing we've done every third Saturday for the past three and a half years.
We took bags of canned goods, pasta, cereal and bread to distribute to people in Riviera Beach, which sounds like a really lovely area, but is actually a place plagued by poverty, crime and neglect.
For a long time, I was scared of the people who showed up to receive the food. I couldn't wait to give out the food and leave.
That changed as soon as I took the time to get to know these people -- their names, their stories. Now, spending time chatting and hugging and laughing is my favorite part.
There is Ms. Barfield, who recently survived breast cancer and chemotherapy, but is scared and shaky still. There's Sheba, with her son who couldn't wait to tell me how he dressed as a Transformer for Halloween. Etta May turned 91 recently; she shows up dressed like she's going to church every single time. Curtis is happy when we have corn bread for him, and last time, he gave up his bag of food to a mother who showed up late with four children. Tony helps his blind brother, Matt, navigate the crowd. And Eva brings us sweet potato pie each and every Thanksgiving.
I was nervous to eat Eva's pie the first year. But once I did, I was a goner. Best-tasting thing on Earth.
As soon as our van pulled up today, Eva rushed over and handed us a pie wrapped in silver foil. "I didn't want to forget you," she said.
I stashed the pie on the passenger seat and got busy handing out very heavy bags of food -- packed extra for the Thanksgiving holiday.
When we were done and wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, I saw Eva walking with her bag.
"Eva," I called. "Do you have a ride home?"
"No," she said. "Curtis is out of town, visiting his sister."
"Hop in," I told her, holding the van door open.
As we followed her directions toward her home, I couldn't believe the distance.
"Eva," I said. "What time did you leave your house to get here this morning?" (We give out the food at about 10:30.)
"Six o'clock," Eva said. "But walking is good for you."
I looked at the huge highways we were traveling over and the skinny grassy areas afforded walkers.
"Eva," I said. "Thanks for that pie. You know we love your pie."
"To make that," she said, "I woke up at 4 o'clock."
Onto the numbers . . .
Today's word count: 800
Total word count: 25,847
Goal: 50,000 words
Days remaining: 9
Don't count me out yet, folks. I finally got myself unstuck from that mucky middle. Starting tomorrow, tune in to watch my fingers fly. Of course, what I write might not make any sense, but write I will. After all, a publishable novel doesn't emerge from the first draft, it evolves during the revision process.
Today's Trivia Question: What is Bono's real name?
Answer to Yesterday's Trivia Question: The thing that is missing from all the casinos in Las Vegas are clocks.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make a cup of tea, join my hubby and have a lovely slice of sweet potato pie.