“What exactly should I be doing?”
“Start loosening up the soil.”
Seeing as there were already five people standing in the dirt, flicking it around with hoes, I just didn’t feel like I had anything to add. So I walked around the corner, where I spotted a big bald man working all alone on a large patch of dirt.
I bet he needs some help loosening up the soil! I thought. So I jumped in there with my little hoe and started moving the dirt all around like Larry had been.
“Hey, uh … watch out for my rows,” the man said.
“I just made all those rows. They’re where the onions will go.”
“Oh gosh! And I was just loosening them. I’m so sorry.”
Damn you, Larry!
I hate gardening.
I walked back around the corner to where Larry was finishing up.
“Is the soil all loosened up?” I asked.
“I think so.”
“So now what? We get frisky with it?”
“Now we dig the holes for the tomato plants.”
Finally. A clear directive. I can totally dig a hole.
”Allow me,” I said, grabbing Larry’s shovel.
He must not have done a good enough job loosening up the soil, because it seemed to be resisting my advances. I couldn’t get the shovel to go down more than two or three inches. I tried bouncing up and down like it was a pogo stick for a minute or two, until I felt the bald onion man’s eyes boring into the back of my skull.
“Want me to get the hole started for you?” he asked, and then in one scoop, he both started the hole and finished it.
“Wow. Looks like you worked up an appetite on that one,” I said. “Why don’t I get you a donut?”
That’s when I realized that community service is all about recognizing and playing to your strengths. Larry was digging holes. Gus was doing the watering. Patrick was eating another donut (to keep his strength up! Otherwise, how can he continue to serve?) Perhaps my place is not in the garden.
I scurried off to the coffee and donut station, and sure enough, my services were desperately needed. Who knew a herd of single-size creamers could get so disorganized! One was lying on its side, another was completely upside down … so I just took care of it. Then I removed the trash (a crumpled napkin AND a stirrer) from the table and made sure the donut boxes were flush with one another. Glazed on one side of the table. Assorted on the other. As people approached my station, I encouraged them to partake of the donuts. “We deserve it!” I said. “We’re working hard today!”
All in the name of charity.