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Friday, 06 February 2009

This Scottish Life - Page 4

Written by Emilie B. Haertsch
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The first time I met John he yelled in my face. It was the night I began volunteering at St. Catherine’s, and I was nervous. I stood outside the convent soup kitchen, unsure, but the waiting homeless men seemed to know what to do, and one of them rang the doorbell for me.

Even on Easter, he was in the same lumpy cardigan. His eyes seemed to bulge accusatorily at me.


I froze in panic. “John—” I started.


“Ehmeleh,” he bellowed, and enveloped me in his arms. “Heppy Eastuh!”


Surprised, I hugged him back. “Happy Easter, John.”


He pulled away to look into my face a moment, and then crushed me to him again. He told me how glad he was to see me. He said he knew it must be hard for me to be so far from home that day, but that they at St. Catherine’s were thrilled to have me with them on Easter just this once.


“Thanks, John,” I whispered into his shoulder.


He finally released me, but before I could proceed into the chapel he managed to slip some chocolates into my hand.


“Tha’s fa’ yee. Boot,” he winked, “dunna et ‘em en tha kirk.”


I grinned, shook my head, and entered the chapel.


The next day when my parents called, they were worried that I had spent the holiday alone.


“Not alone,” I told them. “I have friends here.”

This Scottish Life, volunteering at St. Catherine’s, convent soup kitchen, living in scotland, Emilie B. Haertsch

© Emilie B. Haertsch

(Page 4 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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