On Tuesdays, we sort at the thrift shop. Though it is a lot of work, it is tremendously rewarding to leave two hours after we arrived as we stand back to observe neatly organized toys and racks full of clothes. It seems to be my job, besides to oversee the children's section, to encourage. I cheer on, and always applaud at the end of our time - Look how much we accomplished! - because otherwise, it's work never done.
Juliana also volunteers at the thrift shop. I don't know how old she is. My guess is probably in her 70s. Her job, besides to stock the women's racks, is to keep things light. She often will put a crazy outfit over her clothes and model it on her petite frame. "What do you think, girls?" she'll say, tossing a scarf over her shoulder with a flourish. "Is it me?"
"I'm so glad. And now, it is time for my cigarette break..."
At church, she always comes over to my family during the passing of the peace, she squeezes my hand in her cool palm. "Are you coming on Tuesday?"
"I hope so," I always reply.
There is something about Juliana: her slight frame, her coiffed hair, or her girlish silliness that reminds me of another, much younger Juliana. Who it warms my heart to think of as an old woman still making people laugh with her spontaneous sense of humor.