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Thanksgiving Day | 8:00am

Ahhhh...the day after Thanksgiving. No alarm clock, apple pie for breakfast, pajamas all day. Love it. My family has never been keen on the whole slave-away-in-the-kitchen tradition. We go out to eat and then see a movie. This year, however, we decided to skip the meal and volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner to others. It was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.

Eagle Ranch Ministries has been serving a hot meal under the downtown freeway viaduct every single Sunday + Thanksgiving and Christmas for 22 years now. I've volunteered to prepare and serve Sunday breakfast a number of times, but had not participated in the Thanksgiving meal until yesterday. It's quite an operation. The Eagle Ranch Chuckwagon is parked under the freeway at 7:30am and as volunteers trickled in we were put to work unloading tables, grills and camping stoves, huge tupperware containers, a cd player and PA system for Jesus rock and logistical announcements, and more. After 22 years Jennie Dudley knows exactly what she's doing and the whole morning rolls by like a well-oiled machine.

I would estimate about 150 volunteers cooked meat (raised locally on the Eagle Ranch), sliced cheese, chopped up fruit salad, prepared potatoes (fresh and mashed by hand), sorted donated rolls and pastries, and other such preparations for a feast. It is awesome to me how much care and time is put into this effort. My task, and the task of my new friend Jamie, was to sort through bagged romaine lettuce and remove any leaves that weren't fresh and crisp. Rifling through piles and piles of lettuce to pick out the smallest imperfection really puts it in perspective. They love the people they serve and every Sunday for 22 years they present a beautiful meal to their friends.

This experience, particularly in light of my recent musing on pure religion, reminded me how much I enjoy serving meals with Eagle Ranch. I want to try and volunteer one Sunday a month, even when my travel schedule picks up again, and walk the walk, so to speak.

First Snowfall

Grandma's Hands