Robarts Depot in early 2001, I was new to Meals on Wheels and wanting to introduce myself to the volunteers at each of our depot sites. At that time, there were six. Robarts was off Highbury Avenue. This is where I met Jim. I was all set up outside with drinks and Tim Bits. Jim pulled into the parking lot and out came several grand children together with their “Papa”.
After he introduced everyone, Jim and I chatted away. He was quite a charmer and a gifted speaker. Finally, one of the kids, pulled on his shirt sleeve, “Papa those people are hungry”. This prompted Jim to get on with his deliveries.
In the twenty years that Jim volunteered, he was always smiling, and his eyes would be twinkling. He was good with a joke and you had to be careful if you had a microphone, because he loved to sing.
Shirt, sweater and tie made Jim a spiffy dresser. He looked the gentleman and had the kindest heart under all that finery. Clients on his route enjoyed his “gift of the gab”. When the grandkids were with him, they saved one special client to the end, as she invited them in to catch the end of “The Price Is Right”. After the route was completed he took them to McDonalds for lunch.
I have wonderful memories of Jim and will be forever amused by his worry that, “These routes I do for Meals on Wheels are making me shrink. Haven’t you noticed that I’m getting shorter all the time?” I heard from Jim’s daughter-in-law Linda, that Jim passed away on the weekend. He was eighty-eight.
Yesterday, at his visitation, Linda and I sat together and watched a great pictorial of Jim’s life. What I saw was love, joy and a close-knit family. There were lots of photos of grandkids taken with a proud Papa. Jim had many traits that I admired, most of all was his keen sense of loyalty to those he loved.
Several years ago, Jim encouraged Linda to become a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, which she did. She became a transportation volunteer. In 2016, I called to ask how her first drive went and Linda responded, “It went very well, she was the cutest, dearest lady, and so grateful for the ride. I’m so glad I signed up to help with this service”.
An extra big thank went to Jim for sending Linda our way. Oh, the people you meet along your own life-journey can certainly fill your heart with gladness. Laura