We had our first luncheon of the year at Mercy Hall today. All I could think of on the drive home were the Marines we had met. Their stories are truly awe-inspiring.
We arrived about a half hour earlier than originally planned and Susie and Grace were there unloading. Susie met me on the sidewalk out front…
Susie: “There are no tables!”
Jane: “It’s okay, it’s always like this when we first get here. We’ll find some.”
Susie: “Nooo, there are no tables.”
Jane to the person behind the desk: “Would you mind calling over to the Liaison’s office and ask them to bring the two tables over, please?”
The Desk Person: “We already did. They don’t have them.”
Jane walks over to the Liaison’s office. “Could you please bring the two tables over for us?”
“Well… we have two carts you can use. Will they work for you?”
No problem! We made the carts work.
About the time I returned from the Liaison’s office, Elizabeth pulled up behind me to unload. I waited for her and she followed me over to the parking garage and Jess arrived with her massage chair not long after.
Grace, Julie and Susie had a lot of the set up completed by the time we returned to the barracks. It’s a little crazy when we set up – we have four tubs of stuff, plus all of the food, and assorted boxes and bags. One tub has bowls, platters, things we need to serve with; another tub has all the paper supplies, silverware, plastic wrap, tablecloths, etc., a tub with the niftie gifties, the fourth one has what doesn’t fit in the others.
Just a little bit of the stuff we bring in.
There was a new group of Marines this time who had moved into the out-patient barracks.
“This is for US???”
“Yeah man, they come here every so often and do this.”
“Yep, it sure is! The stuff on the pool table and the cart is for you to take back to your rooms if you would like, and we’ll start serving as soon as everything is set up. We’ll leave the leftovers here for you to take back to your rooms, too.”
They served with HONOR.
We used the one regular table they had for the main course. (I have a feeling the other two tables were being used for something else, somewhere else, and that they will be back at the next luncheon. It was a busy, busy day at the hospital.)
Grace and Elizabeth had a chance to catch up with each other. They met at our October 2009 luncheon. Grace likes to serve the food so she used the Marine Corps apron that the MCL gave us at their Birthday Party.
Left to right in the crockpots is vegetarian chili, green beans, beef stroganoff, and then white rice and broccoli. In front of those are four kinds of bread and the butter.
One of the tall tables was used for the garden salad, fresh fruit, and appetizers.
The other one we used for the smoothies.
Two smoothie choices this month – strawberry/banana or black raspberry.
On the carts –
We used one for the desserts. One of the Marines saw the pie. “My favorite pie!!!” and took a piece before he took anything else so we’ll take pecan pie again.
We’ve noticed that the Marines aren’t real keen on a whole lot of sweets. Many of them are working on getting back into shape and watching their calories. We will add healthier snacks to the “stash table” next time and also cut back on the salty food.
We used the other cart for the drinks and “stash stuff” and the pool table for the niftie gifties.
“Is it okay if I take a hat for my son?”
“Sure! Which one would you like? How old is your baby?”
“He’s a month old.”
“Yeah… I’ll be able to see him soon.”
“You’ve seen pictures of him I hope!”
he said with a huge grin that only a new Daddy can have. He is one PROUD Poppa, and it won’t be long before he joins back up with his new little guy and his wife.
He served with COURAGE.
The stash table and some of the pillowcases on the pool table.
We learned that a lot of the Marines we met at past luncheons have moved on, been medically discharged or have gone back to their units. It is like seeing “old friends” when we see one of the guys or gals we met at a previous luncheon come into the room, and it is so gratifying to see them looking better each time we go. Scars have healed, they’ve gained weight, they’re walking better, or with a cane instead of using a wheelchair…
“Yes indeed, would you like one?”
“Oh this baby afghan is beautiful! My niece would love it.”
“Well, go ahead and take it for her! Each square is made by a different person.”
It was one of the afghans Esther’s Ladies made.
We filled bags to overflowing for some of the guys, took a home-stitched walker bag and tied it to the back of a wheelchair after stuffing it full, plus he had stuff on his lap, passed out phone cards, the encouragement notes, Dunkin Donut gift cards, quilts and homemade pillowcases were handed out. Gave a newly released movie to one of them but made him “promise to share!”
To all of you, who made today’s luncheon possible, Thank You! You made a difference in someone’s life today. Angels come in all forms…
The luncheon was a HUGE morale booster for the out- patients at Mercy Hall. A home-cooked meal and small tokens of appreciation can do wonders for the spirit…
The luncheon crew with me this month was Susie, Grace, Jess, Julie, and Elizabeth.
Thank you, Ladies!
In March we will be on 5 East on the 28th.
We will be back again at Mercy Hall on April 15th – with lasagna as requested!
If you would like to send an UPBEAT, positive note of support to the patients you can email it to (email address no longer active).
We will format them into a word document, print them out and hand-deliver them personally for you.
“When I leave here, I’ll be going to school in Ohio…” I listened with enthusiasm to his plans for the future.
“…and if things work out and I get back to my old self, I’m going to OCS.” (Officer Candidate School)
“Ahhh, a Mustang! You want to be an Officer!”
“Yes, I do. I think I would have an advantage, having been enlisted and then being an officer, knowing both sides.”
Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.
Love and Hugs,