Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jackie and Murphy

Anyone who dedicates their life to service knows about the miraculous stories and hearts one can find hidden in the shadows. The first time I saw Jackie I was shocked, as most people are. I am not exactly sure what happened to her or what her story is, but physically she is bent at a 90 degree angle from her waist. Not many people see her at that angle, most people see her on her bike, which she has set up so her crooked frame rests precariously, but upright enough for her to be mobile and in control.

The first time I saw her my whole world stopped and my eyes and energy focused 100% on her. She looked like an illustration from a twisted book I know and she became imprinted in my mind. Over time I started to see her more regularly, which led me to believe it was only a matter of time before she would be at my table for dinner. She eventually began to covet us and would stay across the street and look at us, but never come to our table. I started to ask around and I found out her name was Jackie.

One night, it was a Tuesday night, I was driving up US1 on my way to Lovebags in Ft. Lauderdale in a borrowed Wrangler and I passed Jackie on her bike. I pulled into a parking lot and waited for her. When she passed I said "Jackie? Are you hungry?", which she stopped and stared at me with complete confusion. Jackie: "How did you know my name?" Me: "I see you on Friday nights, I am the Soup Lady, do you want some soup?" She was very frightened and about to take off when my dog Murphy popped her head out of the Jeep. Jackie dropped her bike leaning over and squealed to grab Murphy. She was so excited and intrigued by my dogs that she forgot to be afraid of me and turned into a small child accepting my food... which she in turn fed to Murphy by the bowl full.

After that chance meeting Jackie started coming around to our Friday night dinners. At first it was for Murphy and she did not want our food until everyone else ate, then she started coming prepared with bowl ready to have her special bowl of soup. She would eat three to five plates of pasta... which actually was being fed to an over zealous Murphy who for the first time in her blind/deaf elderly life found a true friend. Murphy loved everyone all the time. But one thing Murphy was not accustomed to, one thing she did not have the patience for from anyone, was squeezing and cuddling. She just wasn't that dog. That dog was Rufus. Murphy was an girl of action and constant movement without constraint unless she was sleeping. For some reason, Jackie and Murphy switched a switch in each other. Jackie could squeeze Murphy to her content and Murphy just went limp without ever a fight. Jackie would turn into a joyful childlike being that we all grew to love and look forward to.

When Jackie would come to our table it was like a magic bubble would protect us all. She would come with hesitation and then be confident. She became a good friend and always remembered little things about our lives. She would ask how things were going and you knew we were on her mind... as she always was on ours. If she did not come to dinner, we asked about her. If one of us were not there, she asked about them. Over the years I knew where she stayed and I would often drop things off if she needed them. We knew the circles of friends and would ask for her as she would relay messages through them.

Jackie and Murphy, how they found each other and how they helped each other through transitions of life... this is a true testimony of what Earth Angel Outreach is all about.

Murphy passed in July of 2010 at the old age of 16.

Jackie was last seen on her bike riding through Hollywood Young Circle April 30, 2012

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