This is why …by Peter Norback on Jul. 22, 2013, under Life
237th Week Update – Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project
John Unger and his friend Schoep
No one likes to be told he or she is unusual. Talented, creative, shy maybe, but not unusual. At the tail end of the Sam Hughes Neighbor Association meeting in late May, John O’Dowd said to me that “No one would do what you do and go around every Sunday to pick up cans to help feed the hungry. You are very unusual.”
Davis, my friend at the U of A attended the meeting with me and as we walked out the door he tried to console me a bit. “You were talking to the wrong people, they just don’t understand.”
Then who are the right kind of people? I thought. I couldn’t answer myself.
In August, 2012 I saw the above photo in a HuffingtonPost news story about an arthritic German shepherd mix named Schoep and his owner John Unger. John would take his pup to Lake Superior in Wisconsin and let the waters soothe his aching bones. In the process, Schoep often fell asleep in John’s arms.
A few weeks after Schoep celebrated his 20th birthday on June 15th—an amazing feat for any large dog—he passed away and The HuffingtonPost published that powerful Hannah Stonehouse photo of Schoep and John again.
As I just sat there and gazed at and then slowly studied the photo on my computer screen I realized why I do what I do to help feed folks. I care. For me, the photo captures the essence of that behavior and I guess is the reason I am so drawn to the image. Two creatures on this planet just trusting and giving a damn for each other.
When Robin, my little 10-year-old Westie, became sick with brain cancer, she could not stop roaming aimlessly. One day near the end I sat cross legged in the doorway of the back closet, her favorite den, and watched her pace. Eventually, she crawled up on my lap, collapsed and fell fast asleep.
It was physically awkward sitting there holding her but I dared not move for fear of waking her. This was the first restful sleep she had had in days. That was my Schoep and John moment. The discomfort was overwhelmed by the joy I felt soothing my little Robin. That’s the same peaceful joy I see in Schoep’s photograph.
This enlightening saga has taken more than a year to play out but I now know the “right kind of people” I should be talking to about One Can A Week. They will understand that when another creature’s needs become more important than their own needs, life will let them experience and feel the true joy of living on this planet.
Bananas and Other Good Things are Back
The world keeps shifting on Barbara Farragut, our 12th Street volunteer. A month ago the manager at her banana and fruit store changed. No matter, she simply waited for the right moment and asked the new person in charge to help.
Since January Barbara collected over 700 lbs. of produce. Of course, our canned and packaged goods are wonderful. However, add to that fresh fruit every week and our neighborhood donations become golden.
We collected a total of 183 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $34.00, a $25.00 check and $9.00 in cash.
See you Sunday,