In a previous blog, I wrote myself a sticky note, so that I could remember to write about Robert. I always called him homeless, when in fact he was more of a street person.
The city where our banquet facility resides, is a downtrodden rivertown in Pennsylvania. Every Monday the local newspaper features “Mugshot Monday” and a majority of those mugshots belong to this particular town. I’m setting the scene here to show that it’s not the safest place to be, especially at night.
It was close to Christmas and we had catered an event in another city. My partner’s daughter in law was in labor with her first grandchild. She rushed off to the hospital, and I headed back to unload.
It was about 10:00 p.m. when I arrived and snowing pretty hard. I opened up the back of my Jeep, and suddenly looked up. There was this really tall guy, looking kind of rumpled and it seemed that he just appeared in the midst of this snowstorm. He startled me, but for some reason he didn’t scare me. When I looked closer, he had on one of those long… (OK, I stopped here and googled the name of what I was looking for because I don’t think I could describe it) and it’s called a lanyard. Kind of a cool word, and if you don’t know what it means, you can google it and hey, it could be the word of the week, nice.
It was yellow with black lettering (yes, like the Stillers!) and it repeated itself saying over and over: GOD IS LOVE. I like it! As he approached me, I also noticed that he had this nasty ass greenish-looking snot dripping all over his top lip, yuck. He said, Hi, can I ask you a question? OK. Are you the people who are going to have the free Christmas Dinner? (We had been approached by a local church when we opened up this banquet facility. They had been hosting a free Christmas Dinner for about 10 years and had run out of room. They would provide the food, and volunteers, and we agreed to provide our facility and our time to help out. This was going to be the first year and I think we fed about 800 people that day.)
I said, yep, that’s us. He commented that he had never been in the building but heard how beautiful it was and he was very happy that he could finally see inside. (And it is beautiful, an old Masonic Temple.) Then he said, can I ask you another question? Sure. How did you come up with the name Fairy Godmothers Enchanted Catering? Wow, like I said before, no one ever asks, and Robert was about to lead me into a world where I would become curious everytime someone asked, although I had no idea at the time. I told him about seeing the lights in my mind, and he smiled this sweet sweet smile, and said, Ah, it’s from God. Yesssss.
The next day we were contacted to host what would turn out to be our most lucrative catering event ever. Sigh, I can hear the purists now: this is all an illusion and looking for signs in the illusory world is not what this is about. OK. I get it, but this is how I learn. I will get there, but in the meantime I have to have signs show up for me HERE, it’s how my faith is developing in all this. And I don’t want you to write to me about it because some have in the past, and really, it just confuses me, so thanx, but no thanx.
Christmas arrived about two weeks later and my partner and I had decided to split up our time for the day. I had the later shift, which meant I arrived about 10:30 a.m. I was amazed when I pulled into the parking lot! There were people lined out into the street, all the way up the second floor, waiting for dinner to begin at 11:00. As I was moving through the crowd, climbing up the stairs, someone shouted, Hi Sally! And there was my Robert, all cleaned up, looking beautifully silly with a Santa Claus stocking hat on. Sweet!
When he sat down to have his dinner, I joined him. He ate very little, and when he was finished he said, I want to help you. Shit. Robert was probably in his late 60’s, very skinny and kind of weak. I decided to blow him off because we had so many volunteers and he just did not look capable. But he hunted me down all day long until eventually I would find little jobs for him to do. I asked him where he would go when the dinner was over. He said back to my room. Where’s that? Across the street. I later found out that the building across the street was for housing folks like Robert, kind of a safe house I guess. I asked him if he had family, he hesitated and said no, but he did have roommates.
I ran into Robert a couple of months later when he was hanging around our dumpster. He was not embarrassed just happy as hell to see me, with his God is Love lanyard hanging around his neck. Man, that smile and the big ole sweet generous hug always took my breath away. Again, the next day, we found out that our gas bill for the building, due to some rate cuts, would be half the year before. Whew, that’s a biggie, in our ongoing struggle to keep this place afloat. And it was at that time I began to realize there was something about running into him, and then something good happening shortly after.
One time I ran into Robert, as he was assisting another kind of crazy street dude. I could see the guy taking little pieces of paper out of his pocket, writing something on it, and placing it on the windshields of parked cars. I’m like, Hey Robert, what are you guys doing? He’s all excited. Sally, come here and look! OMIGOD, they were making their own damn parking tickets and were wildly exuberant at their geniusness. Like: WHY IN THE HELL DIDN’T WE THINK OF THIS BEFORE??? It was how they were going to make some extra money. Shit! I took a look at one of the notes and it said: This is a no parking fine, it costs $2.00. And that was it, no explanation as to where to pay it, nothing. Now I am just so damn happy landing in the middle of all this lunacy, and thought, shit, if it works for them, who am I to rain on that crazy fucking parade.
The next two Christmases, Robert showed up for the Christmas Dinner. On his way out, I would hand him a Christmas card with 20, $1.00 bills in it.
The last time I saw him was April, 2009. He looked awful. He gave me a very feeble hug, looked me in the eye and said: Why do you like an old drunk like me so much? I was kind of surprised because I had never even smelled alcohol on him before. I said, ‘ya know Robert, there is just something about you. I think you are an angel because every single time I run into you, something good happens to me.
I got back into my car, and my phone rang. Hey, this is Mike, do you remember me? You used to wait on me at the Red Onion? Oh yeah, sure, how are you? He told me he worked for a chemical company and they needed someone to run their cafeteria and he thought of me. OK. Can I call you back later?
My thinking at the time was, shit, I needed the money, the catering/wedding season is short, my partner and I were putting all our paychecks on the mortgage to keep the damn place going, but I AM SO NOT A COOK! As a matter of fact, my Aunt Pat, in early stages of dementia, says to me, 3 to 4 times an hour: Sally, I am so surprised that you run a cafeteria, so that gives you a hint as to my reputation of not so much a cook in our family.
But then, its slowly sinking in, you just had contact with Robert, pay attention.
I had been running the cafeteria for a couple of months, and was thinking early one morning (that’s another thing, I’ve never been a morning person before this job but somehow I have become one, hah, only on the days I work, and have never once woke up thinking, fuck, I don’t want to do this!) man, I am not making very much money with this job, when I heard loud and clear: THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE MONEY! OK, yeah, shit, let me ponder on that one for a couple of days. And of course, the Voice was dead fucking on. This was at the beginning stages of undoing the ego, through Take Me To Truth, and every fucking thing that could go wrong, was going wrong, and it all revolved around the catering business, and my own particular war with the person who was in my life to teach me 😦 With this cafeteria job, I could create my own little damn happy world. Hey, no whining or bitching at the window, you come up here all shiny and happy. I play very loud hip hop music or upbeat blues all day long. It’s my own little SallyWorld, filled with wonderful forgiveness opportunities all day long, far far away from all the pressure of the catering mess. Obviously, it is not about the money, it was a sweet deliverance.
On Christmas Day, 2009, and again on Christmas Day, 2010, I brought my Christmas card for Robert with 20, $1.00 bills in it, but with no sighting of him for the past two years, I figure he’s gone. Somewhere in ACIM, it talks about angels showing up to help you, and I now know that Robert had been sent to me. It truly was the toughest time of undoing the ego, and, as it has been stated, I was not left without help.
Thank you Robert, you most wonderfully odd angel. Lucky me for having my eyes opened and being able to see through your “outward mess”.
Much Love and Pink Clouds,