Never hesitate to lend someone a hand

I had a friend visit me for a couple of weeks recently. She is the kind of friend who fits right in; who doesn’t alter a space in which she is in but rather enhances it.
The best part is she has a serious helping of silly ingrained in her cells. And what could be better than silly?
Alison is a chef, a maker of incredible food, following a plant-based formula. She believes, after thorough research and committed study, that we can find the answers to our health problems in how we fuel our bodies.
Of course, she’s not alone in this supposition. New evidence is leading us in this direction all the time.
Alison inspires me with her wisdom; with her boundless enthusiasm to share her knowledge in a gentle, encouraging manner. I am hopeful, while I am with Alison, that I will eat my way to renewed health.
Alas, her visit went by all too quickly. Alison has gone and I had pumpkin pie for supper. In my defence, I couldn’t let the pie go to waste. Actually, that is no defence; there isn’t a defence available aside of temporary insanity (at least I hope it’s temporary).
The good news is I didn’t have ice cream with the pie, though now that I think about it, the absence of ice cream didn’t seem like good news at all. Perhaps once I’ve created some distance between the pie and me, I will feel better about the absentee topping.
But right now the memory is too fresh; the disappointment too painful.
It’s an unlikely story how Alison and I met. And when I share the details, it may seem like I am blowing my own horn, but there it is, just ignore that part.
I was living in Chesley at the time and Alison was living in Walkerton, the town now known for its E. coli nightmare in the municipal water system back in 2000. I was strolling down the street in Chesley, minding my own business, when up ahead of me I saw a woman collapse on the sidewalk.
She went down hard without putting her hands out to break her fall, so I knew she was in some sort of medical distress. I rushed to her and she was trying to get up but obviously was hurt (though a basket she was carrying prevented her face from striking the concrete).
I wanted her to lie still but she was determined to get up—embarrassed by her circumstance and urgently confessing she was to help her friend cater a luncheon to the Children’s Aid Society at the community centre down the hill.
She can’t do it without me, she insisted tearfully.
I assured her I would step in and don my waitress apron; all would be well. Her husband came and scooped her up, and took her to hospital. I continued on my way to find this chef who needed help.
I introduced myself to Alison, told her of her friend’s mishap, and that I would be standing in. She jumped into action, giving me my marching orders; we were off and running.
We served a delicious lunch Alison had prepared and she was none the wiser that I had limited experience slicing up food and handing it out (I’m usually on the eating end of things).
After the meal was finished, Alison and I sat down to have our own lunch and she asked me how I knew Pat, her injured friend. I don’t, I replied. Just came upon her on the street when she fell, I explained.
Alison was dumbfounded that a stranger would do such a thing. She had no idea that being a server was on my bucket list and I had a wonderful time—despite my fear I would do something wrong or drop a plate full of food on some unsuspecting guest.
We have been friends ever since.
The moral of this particular story? Never hesitate to lend a hand when the opportunity presents because what you take away from the experience is far more than you ever give.
Meanwhile, I’m headed for another piece of pie—even though I hid it behind the kale.
wendistewart@live.ca

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