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It’s Friday night, 2:30 a.m. and I’m awake with leg cramps.  Walking around to work the cramps out, getting ibuprofen and an ice pack. I’m a bit frustrated with myself. I know better. I work a desk job and do not stand or walk hours at a time like I did tonight. I know drinking Gatorade and increasing potassium (preferably in the form of Jays or Lays) before volunteering at the barn prevents my cramps but I forgot or rather made other things priority. But ya know what…volunteering at Open Barn tonight was:

Endearing. The amount of people that turned out in the cold, many first timers. 

Rewarding. A couple people came because they spoke with someone at Walmart Tag days last weekend. One came with cat food, paper towels and toiled tissue in hand! I wanted to hug a stranger. I saw the results of how one volunteer spent two hours at Walmart and fulfilled our mission to educate and inspire. 

Restoring. Our guests were curious and happy. Watching the kids, gloves off, cold fingers concentrating and coloring brought back memories. Parents allowing children to experience absorb the atmosphere. Charlie and Zig were quite social tonight and received many Valentines. Young girls happy in spite of cold toes and red noses, questioning if chickens fly. Lots of men tonight - dads, husbands quiet, watching, smiling, you can see the wheels turning in their heads. Learn what pigs eat and then deciding to save the uneaten remains of the box of cereal, those last chips and crackers no one will eat, the bread that has gone stale when saved and donated is thrifty. 

Love in action. We trained a new volunteer Friday night - - Thank you Miss unnamed! Your commitment to a few hours on Friday nights is more appreciated than you will ever know.  

Contentment. Ending the night with volunteers raking the aisle, laughing, encouraging each other, dust filling the air. 

Cramps I scoff at you. Will I come back, volunteer at Open Barn, stand in front of Walmart, man the registration table, decorate a stall – you bet I will. I’ll just remember to eat bananas and potato chips the day before!

(From Friday, February 15)