An Incarcerated Christmas, Pt III

The Bible says “so if we have enough food and clothing, let there be content”  Tim 6:8 NLT

The clothing is not very stylish, but our bodies are covered.  The food – well, we are fed 3 meals a day and we won’t starve.  Sometimes it’s better than others, and trust me, I would love to have a 2” thick grilled Porterhouse, a little char on the outside, a little pink on the inside, and a lot juice everywhere, but – that will have to wait (excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin).My prayers for Christmas morning focused on family and friends, and being thankful for both. Of course I miss my family very much, but I gave thanks to god for watching over them and blessing them. I prayed that my incarceration would not detract too much from their happiness on that day.

I also prayed for all the men who share life inside the fences and walls that they may find some solace of peace, comfort and joy on this the most difficult day of the year I would think, to be away from family.

I work in the dining hall, and since I normally work in Saturday, I would be working on Christmas Day throughout breakfast and then the noon meal, which was eagerly awaited by all.

The menu for this meal sounded impressive, and the executing of it was very, very good.  The meal consisted of: A plump, juicy Cornish Hen for each inmate, accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy, dirty rice (this is Louisiana), green beans, corn and a dessert box that contained two small, round pecan pies and 1/6 slice of custard pie.

As I have said before, we take better care of our prisoners than we do the poor & elderly.

My ‘normal job’ in the dining hall is to mop in front of the 20’ of beverage and ice dispensing equipment and anyplace else a liquid spill may occur (I only do liquid spills – solid waste spills is another department).

Christmas Day lunch I was pulled off my mop (which I am very good at, thank you!) and placed on “utensil deployment”.  This means I hand each person their rolled-up napkin containing a “spork” and salt & pepper.  As I had previously mentioned there are two entrances to the facility, and both walk towards each other in front of the line of servers who fill the trays and hand them to the inmates just before they meet in the center.

Today, because most of the amount of food and dessert, there was a 6’ table set up perpendicular to the serving line in the center, with a co-worker of mine on each side handing  a dessert box to each inmate as they picked up their trays.  Then they passed by yours truly who was standing at the end of the table handing out “utensil packets” as they passed by either side of me.

I was determined to try to be cheerful and upbeat and I proceeded to say “Merry Christmas” to each of the 1200 or so inmates who passed by over the next hour or so (may 1½ hours).

That’s a LOT of Merry Christmases!! Of course, I had no idea who was Jewish, Muslim, Navajo, Wiccan or What (editor note: Wiccan is a Neopagan religion and a form of modern witchcraft, not uncommon in the southern reaches of the bayou), but it was Christmas Day no matter how you looked at it and political correctness has never been my strong suit, so I said it to all.

And the strangest thing happened.  The overwhelming majority said the same thing back! Even some who on any other day would probably be upset that I was even talking to them.  Many seemed surprised. Many seemed – I don’t know – kind of thankful. It was strange, but it was nice.  I enjoyed it and felt good that I had done it.

I know this may seem like a big deal to most of you.  But you have to live here to get it, maybe.  If that’s the case, I hope no who’s reading this ever gets it.

But I suspect someone will understand.

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I have a more opportunities to volunteer to pass out spoons before I am able to be with my family during this most wonderful time of the year.  I’ll do my best to make the most of a bad situation in the meantime.

Until next time. . .

One thought on “An Incarcerated Christmas, Pt III

  1. Diane

    Very inspiring Tony. It’s good to be reminded that it truly is the “little” things in life that matter so much. As always thanks for sharing.

    Like

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