Saturday January 2nd, 2016
Its a wonderful start to a new year. Holidays in prison can be hard physically and mentally. But that is not just for inmates. This is for our families and friends who now have to go through these times alone and without us. Whether we like it or not we mean something to someone. Those someone’s miss us very much. Times can be challenging for those who have nothing to do with prisons as well. Its not unique to here.
Holidays can stand to represent depression and hardship. Like Valentine’s Day can represent lonlieness and heartbreak for one and another represent an exciting new relationship. So I know you understand what we go through in here.
I have to say though that this particular holiday season has been absolutely amazing for me. My life, for some strange reason, has just completely turned around and I have never felt more loved than I have this year. It just seems to be all around me this year. My friends and family have all drawn closer and closer it seems. It’s like those around me have taken the time to say “we care”.
Amid all that I am a cook in the institutions kitchen and get to cook for 1900 inmates daily. We usually get to prepare something special for the holiday meals. Like New Years was burgers and french fries, something we only get twice a year. There is this overwhelming sense of comeraderie (am I spelling that right, easy to say, hard to spell I guess, LOL….no spell check in prison people!) that comes with preparing food with other people.
I have felt that all this winter so far. As we shuffle our feet into the kitchen each tired and worn from the previous days meal, we brighten each other’s day with a friendly jeer or two and then get to work. We only get paid .42 cents an hour and can only make up to 55.00 a month no matter how many hours we work. But that doesn’t matter once were munching and tasting and opening bags and stirring pots and rushing around gather tools…it just kind of fades into the distance.
We get the chance to take pride in knowing that when we go home for the night we prepared something that people need. We do our best and we did it for the peace of mind of knowing that we did something for someone somewhere. We do it because it makes us feel human to bring a smile to someone else’s face. I can’t speak for everyone, just those I know and work with. But we have joy in simply cooking.
That is what holiday’s are for, is it not? To remind us that the glue that holds society together isn’t money or religion or some greedy need for gain, it’s us. It’s people giving a rip. I will take this opportunity to remind all of those who read this that the above statements is exactly the kind of thing that God wants us to enjoy and practice.
Love and Peace