I Don’t Drive. I admit it. I don’t drive, don’t judge me. I am born, bred and raised in Newark NJ. I am a city girl. I take the 25 and 70 busses. I ride the city subway (okay that makes it sound bigger than it is. It’s really The Lite Rail.) I enjoy it. I like to people watch. I like talking to folks. It’s my thing and I love it. But this day a stranger just wouldn’t do. I didn’t realize that what I needed was a friendly face and as God would have it, He provided just the right one for me. Let me explain.
I was called to duty. Jury duty that is. YaY! Don’t get me wrong I’m one of those people who really doesn’t mind serving Jury Duty…. if I have to. Just not right now. I thought I could do it. I had all intentions of doing it, but once I got into the courtroom I found I just couldn’t handle it.
My first cousin was in a domestic violent relationship and two years ago around Valentine’s Day, she was murdered. I’m not at liberty to share details nor am I ready to do so right now. I along with her brother am representing the family. We are at the very beginning of court proceedings, and lately I’ve been to that court house more than I care to say. After being excused from jury duty, I headed home. I decided to go to Newark Penn Station to grab a slice of pizza (I know, I know. Don’t tell me how fattening it is. If you felt the way I did you’d have had pizza and a whole lot more.) So here I am in Penn and who do I run into but the effervescent Ms. Rosie. It was 2:30 pm….
I met Ms. Rosie some 14 years ago through a mutual friend. We aren’t real close but I consider her very, very special. She’s one of those people who knows everybody. She is extremely knowledgeable but not a know it all. Ever willing to lend a helping hand, if she can’t assist you she certainly knows someone who can. As always she was a wealth of information about the good things happening in the community. We talked about health and hot flashes. (By the time we finished that part I felt real guilty about my pizza- jones.) After connecting me with a sister who teaches health and wellness, she offered to take me home. I accepted and that’s where our adventure began.
We picked up her vehicle from the parking lot and headed up Market Street. “I’ve got to drop off some mail.” She said. Parking at the Springfield Avenue Post Office she said “I’ll be right back” I waited in the car wondering what was taking her so long. I had seen the envelope and it was ready to mail. My thought was broken when I saw her walk out the door. Although she went in the post office alone she returned with another passenger. Ms. Rosie ran into another weary traveler and decided to give him a ride home. It just so happens he lives in a senior building where her mom used to live on Irving Turner Boulevard. “Come on” she said, waiving me toward the building entrance. She took me on a tour of the beautiful lobby and the deck where the seniors like to barbecue during the summer months. The building was clean and very welcoming.
Back in the car, we continued our drive and wound up on West Kenny and Howard Streets. I hadn’t been in that area of the city in some time and it had improved greatly. Once laden with projects, pimps and prostitutes, this part of the city has experienced some true revitalization. We stopped at Vonda’s Kitchen located at 183 West Kenny Street on the first floor of a building complex. Vonda’s Kitchen is a delight in the city. It is a Soul Food lover’s dream with traditional dishes such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and greens. She serves up delicious seafood dishes, baked and barbecued chicken, fresh vegetables, salads, traditional burgers as well as a selection of vegetarian burgers. But Vonda’ s Kitchen is not a neighborhood greasy spoon. The pristine brightly colored decor is only out shined by her friendly staff. Vonda has nothing to hide either. I just love the window where the customer can look directly into the kitchen to watch the chef and staff at work. I’ll have more to say about Vonda’s kitchen in the near future.
Back in the car again: Ms. Rosie chatted on about how blessed she and her husband were by ministering at a local nursing home. She bubbled with delight as shared stories of her weekly visits; how she truly enjoys sharing the word of God with them. We talked about vision, goals and her desire to open up a business that would really serve the needs of Senior Citizens and their families. She shared her newest passion, coin collecting and selling them on Ebay. All I can say to you is this, by the time we arrived at my house, my whole mood had changed. Earlier In the day I was on the brink of tears now I was filed with laughter and joy. I realized I had been coddled and comforted by a very special angel. By the way it was close to 5:30 when I got home. So a 15 minute ride turned into two hours. Thanks for the ride Ms. Rosie. It was a trip well spent.
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