A Simple Feast With Angels
A remarkable woman reminds us to always be kind to strangers, for we never know if we'll be entertaining angels.
BY: Jaye Lewis
It was fifty years ago on a hot summer day in the deep South. We lived on a dirt road, on a sandlot. We were what was known as "dirt poor." I had been playing outside all morning in the sand. Suddenly, I heard a sharp clanking sound behind me and, looking over my shoulder, my eyes were drawn to a strange sight. Across the dirt road were two rows of men, dressed in black-and-white striped, baggy uniforms. Their faces were covered with dust and sweat.
They looked so weary, and they were chained together with huge black iron chains. Hanging from the end of each chained row was a big black iron ball. They were, as polite people said in those days, a "chain gang," guarded by two heavily armed white guards. I stared at the prisoners as they settled uncomfortably down in the dirt under the shade of some straggly trees.
One of the guards walked towards me. Nodding as he passed, he went up to our front door and knocked. My mother appeared at the door, and I heard the guard ask if he could have permission to get water from the pump in the backyard, so that "his men could have a drink." My mother agreed, but I saw a look of concern on her face as she called me inside.
I stared through the window as each prisoner was unchained from the line, to hobble over to the pump and drink his fill from a small tin cup, while a guard watched vigilantly. It wasn't long before they were all chained back up again, with prisoners and guards retreating into the shade, away from an unrelenting sun.
I heard my mother call me into the kitchen, and I entered to see her bustling around with tins of tuna fish, mayonnaise, our last loaf of bread, and two big pitchers of lemonade. In what seemed a blink of an eye, she had made a tray of sandwiches, using all the tuna we were to have had for that night's supper.
My mother was smiling as she handed me one of the pitchers of lemonade, cautioning me to carry it carefully and to "not spill a drop." Then, lifting the tray in one hand and holding a pitcher in her other hand, she marched me to the door, deftly opening it with her foot, and trotted me across the street.
How to entertain angels...
Read more >>