Peanut Butter and Mayo Sandwiches
Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
57Trip End May 14, 2010
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Out of my window I caught a glimpse of a man squatting by the road with a cardboard sign. I couldn't read any of it but "God Bless You" a common refrain on cardboard signs. Michael hadn't seen the man and so I told him to pull off into the McDonald's parking lot behind him. We did.
I grabbed a bag of nuts and granola I hadn't yet opened and two water bottles and we jumped out of the van.
"Hey, Friend! Are you hungry?" I asked.
With blue eyes under his dirty Texas Rangers cap, he looked up and sighed heavily - "Oh yes." He examined the bag, "This'll be fiber! And look at all that's in there - everything a human needs to survive. Wow, thank you!"
We shook hands with David and sat on the grass to chat. "This will be so good. Definitely better for me than peanut butter and mayo sandwiches. Oh, those taste good, though!"
Prompted by this, I asked if he wanted one. We carry peanut butter and bread for lunches in our car. And I recently stocked up on mayo packets from a Dairy Queen. I ran to the car and came back with the goods and made David a sandwich. He only wanted half - he didn't have much of an appetite. It was the first thing he'd eaten in four days, and after that long you forget you're hungry.
Originally from Iowa, David's goal is to escape cold weather making it all the way to Mexico. He traveled with his dog, Soldier, for 10 years. That is until 3 weeks ago. He fell into a coma due to a stretch of pneumonia. He left Soldier with a family he'd met at church when he went to the hospital. Soldier, though, had a girlfriend across town, Elaine. He escaped, got picked up by animal control, and was put to sleep before David ever got out of the hospital. The man was broken up about the loss of his pet, travel partner, and best friend. He was waiting in Amarillo until Bear, Soldier and Elaine's puppy son, grew big enough to go with him. Elaine's owners don't want to keep the puppy, so when he's grown, David wants to take him. David was currently hoping to collect enough money from people to buy puppy food. And cat food for his friends' cats. The cats have been eating Elaine's dog food. David said a mother cat just gave birth to six kittens. She'd been eating dog food, so David joked, "I was worried the kitties would come out barking!" So we couldn't leave without giving him money for dog and cat food.
We were so encouraged to sit and talk to David. He was so genuine and so happy to talk with us. He was tender when he talked about Soldier. And funny and lighthearted talking about his situation. What's more was that he had so much faith in the Lord. He kept referencing the peanut butter and mayo sandwich as "God provided this!" It amazes me how so often people who have nothing are the ones who see God as a giver, provider, healer and friend. His constant acknowledgement of the ways God has provided for him touched and challenged me. We were excited to hear him talk about the churches he visits. He's been welcomed and loved in church. As he said, "Jesus said 'come as you are' and I might smell bad and look bad, but I still go to church."
As we were planning to leave, David's friend, Scott, aka Bradley, aka "Pooh" walked up. We chatted and laughed some more. For you skeptics thinking, "you just gave money to a guy who gave a sob story about a dead dog..." When Pooh walked up, David said, "hey! look! I can get dog and cat food!" And without any more prompting, Pooh replied, 'Oh, that's so good. Mama cat just had six kittens, they need food." Same story - separate guy. Totally legit. Anyway, we didn't think for a second that we were being lied to.
David was surprised to hear about us, that we have no home - just living in hotels. And he assured us we'd have a mansion in heaven someday. He promised he'd bring Soldier over to play at our mansion when we all get there. : -) And we'll all eat peanut butter and mayo sandwiches.