Gentleman Sam Frazier cleared the gear from last night’s gig out of the hatchback and loaded up a stack of hot lunches — some brisket and gravy atop a plop of mashed potatoes, a bit of steamed veggies and a cube of cornbread, all donated by Golden Corral — into a hotbox that fit snugly into the corner.
“There’s a name for that thing,” he said of the hotbox. “I can’t remember what it is, but that’s not it.”
And then Frazier, who a lot of us think is the best guitarist in North Carolina, drove through the Fisher Park and Irving Park neighborhoods of Greensboro early on a Friday morning, delivering these simple little meals to people who really needed them, whether Donald Trump says they do or not.
Some of them waited by the door. Others took a while to answer the knock. A lot of them used walkers or oxygen tubes. All of them were old — old enough that it makes no sense to call them anything but. Claude, for example, has more than 100 years under his belt.
“After he hit 100, I stopped counting,” Frazier said.
Some of them wanted to talk, and Frazier always obliges. In truth, that’s a big part of why he volunteers to do this run for Mobile Meals.
They talked about their children and grandchildren; they talked about their shingles; more than one mentioned they were ready, after long lives, to go.
In Lillian’s’ garden apartment, Frazier listened to an old Don Williams record, noting the wah-wah on the guitar solo and explaining to her what a dobro is. Up in Wade’s condo, Frazier smiled kindly at the old rascal’s continual references to Jesus, even though Frazier is an atheist. At the end of the run, with one extra meal in the hotbox, he wheeled the car back over to Jan’s apartment in Fisher Park. She’s been living there, he said, for decades, adding that she was really something back in her day.
She’s one of the ones who waits by the door.
“I’m headin’ on down the road, Sam,” she said, just a single, pale blue eye and a few wisps of gray hair visible as she peeked past the half-open door.
Before he left her stoop, she stopped him.
“Please know that what you do is important,” she told him. “I could not make it without it.”