I wore two shirts, two sweaters, and my good Columbia jacket today. I was really glad I had all those layers, considering the wind and rain and my last-choice-because-I'm-new booth location. I'm going to need to invest in some wool socks, and might even forego the athletic shoes for my snow boots.
I don't have a suitable hat, but I do have scarves, which I've worn mostly as colorful accessories. All of a sudden this weekend I learned the value of a big scarf! I wore it over my head and then wrapped around my neck. My ears were warm! My neck was warm! I hardly got wet! I have perpetually cold fingers out there, even with my gloves, but I felt very appropriately dressed for the weather.
I vaguely remember scarves from my early childhood in San Francisco. I can picture Mom wearing one, to protect her hair from the wind, I think. And I'm pretty sure she tied one on my head on several occasions to keep me warm. I was prone to ear infections back then, and when I tied the scarf on this morning I thought about how pleasant it was to feel my ears protected. I smiled at the memory of my mom's tender care in my pre-school years. Don't you love it when some ordinary action brings back a warm memory? I hope you get many of those moments this Christmas.
I crochet. A little. OK, I know one stitch. But I made an afghan once, and a couple of scarves, and I have a nice big pile of yarn for when I get serious someday. The day may have come today. I know feeding people on the street helps them, but lack of food isn't the biggest problem for Portland's homeless -- people are very generous here, and there are dozens of free meal programs. The biggest problem is exposure, especially in the winter. Scarves, hats, blankets, jackets, and dry socks are so deeply appreciated that it's embarrassing to hand them out. It always makes me appreciate all I have, and wish that I could provide real shelter for these people.
How's your front closet looking? Do you have old jackets, scarves, gloves, hats that nobody has worn since the 90s? Think about wandering downtown one day and passing them out. I promise Christmas will glow in you. Or try this -- tie a scarf on a telephone pole with a note for anyone who's cold to take it. How cool is that?! Or send them on over to me if you're shy, and I'll get them out there. Yarn and fabric are helpful too, so my volunteers and I can make more items.
Thank you to everyone who's been ordering for Christmas and giving donations. Only four months into this venture and we already have some tangible offerings for our downtown neighbors in need. Blessings to you all.