As the kitchen staff wheels in a trolley loaded with 200+ pounds of potatoes, carrots and onions ready for peeling, you may wonder, why are these people smiling – this isn’t bingo. They are smiling in anticipation of what is fondly known as “Veggie Patrol.”
Every Thursday afternoon a group of Residents and volunteers gather after lunch in a first floor dining room at the Jeanne Jugan Residence. Wheelchairs and chairs are pulled to a 16 foot table, aprons are donned, trays and tools are distributed. Any vegetable with an unusual shape is held up and admired for its uniqueness.
Our current resident veggie patrollers are Frank, Joseph, June, Ellen, Paul, Ada and Connie. Conversation flows as everyone gets busy. Topics range from the practical to the sublime. To give you an example, meet Joseph who has been participating in veggie patrol for seven+ years. On a practical level, he gives advice about peeling onions (keep a piece of bread in your mouth) that prompts many laughs and other guaranteed tear prevention tactics. On the sublime level, he shares his reflections that result from his favorite spiritual readings (“Anxiety robs God of His due. Serenity renders God His due. The choosing, you do.”) that give us all pause for thought. Pearls of wisdom, indeed.
Once the vegetables are on their way to the main kitchen and every scrap of peel swept away, the group adjourns to the café for a well-earned treat of ice cream! Everyone (Residents and volunteers) go home happy to know they’ve shared another afternoon with good friends.