Last Thursday I was unloading my car of all the extra fruit and veg I had received from volunteering at the farmer's market when I noticed my neighbor two doors up getting out of her car. I had previously met her last summer when she had a yard sale, and we briefly spoke but I couldn't remember her name. I walked across the yard and explained that I volunteer at the co-op and part of my reward was free fruit and veg. I told her that our family had more than we could possibly eat before it would go bad, and with the holidays I was simply too busy to try and freeze or can the extra. I asked if she and her mother could use any of it and to my shock she broke down and started to cry! She began to tell me that she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and was having to go through radiation and surgery to try and save her life. The doctor had suggested for her to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables while she was in treatment to help her keep her strength up.
She had bought a basket from the Farmers Market before, but due to her not being able to work she simply didn't have the money to purchase it any longer. As we stood in the driveway and talked I told her that I would be glad to send all my extras up her way from now on and if she needed anything else to please let me know. When this Thursday rolled around I again went across the yard, and this time I knocked on her door. When she opened it she was totally surprised to see me standing there box in hand. She graciously invited me in and introduced me to her elderly mother. Her mother and I chatted for a few minutes on canning and freezing food and what a blessing that can be for a family when hard times hit. As I started to leave her mother reached into her pantry and pulled out a jar of home canned peaches she had put up this summer before her daughter had been diagnosed. She rinsed the lid off and handed it to me with a smile on her face. I eagerly accepted the gift with a promise of my weekly visit.
As Christmas day quickly approaches, try to remember there was once a time when simple food, conversation, and friendship was the best gift someone could receive. Even today there are plenty of people out there who want and need the gift of friendship.