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Monday, August 13, 2007

The Cold Orange

Across the country and up and down the Atlantic coast, the temperatures during the past few weeks has been hot and humid. Today is no exception. I took a walk through midtown Philadelphia while on a lunch break and noticed a sweet interaction. A youngish, homeless man was seated on a street bench looking quite dejected. Who knows how he happened to become homeless? It doesn't take much.

A woman walking by took notice of this homeless man, stopped, reached into her insulated lunch bag, and pulled out an orange. She offered it to this man, explaining that it was "very cold" as it had been in her insulated bag all morning. The homeless man took the orange, sputtering his thanks and began to peel it.

There was a look of absolute joy in this man's face as he pulled apart the chilled, obviously very juicy orange; he savored the taste and, no doubt, the refreshing chill against the hot afternoon sun. He ate the orange slowly, not like a hungry man, but someone who was taking his time to enjoy a rare moment. I watched him consume this orange with such delicate relish as if it were an exotic fruit obtained only every great once in a while.

But, of course, for someone with no home, no job and no income, nothing is to be taken for granted. All gifts are welcome.

Especially a cold orange on a hot, sunny day on a bench.

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