Autumn Cruz /

Mark Bell sees Friendship Park as “the old and weary, the young and proud, the lost and forgotten” – all grateful for their new coffee maker.

A wondrous gift -- simple coffee -- inspires ode of gratitude

Published: Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 10A
Last Modified: Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011 - 12:10 am

Kindness, as simple as a cup of coffee, means the world to those who live out in the cold.

The new coffee maker purchased with the donations of Book of Dreams readers received a hero's welcome earlier this month at Loaves & Fishes Friendship Park.

"They're victims of abuse or neglect or deprivation of some sort," said Jim Peth, co-director of Friendship Park, about the homeless guests they serve. "That someone cares about them and shows an interest in their well-being is huge."

"I think it's the best thing that ever happened," said Mark Bell, a man who quietly observed the commotion, then went home to his tent along the river and wrote a poem about his gratitude:

Our Dream

The teeth of an early December Frost

Sink quickly into marrow.

Tattered gloves, hats, scarves and jackets

Donned against an ill wind.

Dreams formed and lost, hope melting into

A deep despair.

Each day a monochromatic blur of the last

And the next.

As God majestically paints a new dawn on

The eastern horizon.

The word, like notification of a camp raid, spreads

Quickly among the denizens.

The old and weary, the young and proud, the

Lost and forgotten.

The metallic tick of canes, the shuffle

Of battered shoes.

The soft crunch of gravel beneath a


The mood is solemn, cautious, though slightly


The murmured whispers of a few, but

Trepidation remained.

A white delivery truck pulls to a

Gentle halt.

A large brown box cautiously lowers

Before all.

A reverent hush envelops and quiets

All in attendance.

The box is removed and a Hallelujah

Chorus erupts.

Arthritic hands clap and chapped lips cheer

In jubilant exaltation.

Tired and hooded eyes open wider, a lost

Twinkle returns.

On the cold red cheeks of many, a joyous

Trail of tears.

For the Sacramento Bee readers and "Book

Of Dreams" prevailed.

As the forlorn masses gaze in wonder at

Their new coffee maker.

So to all who made this possible, we, the


Open our hearts in thanks and wish you all

A happy holiday season.

– Autumn Cruz

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