Monday, June 20, 2011

Brand New Day..

The lawyer who has so kindly taken on my immigration case thought he had pretty much seen everything. That is until he met me yesterday in his local office. The office is is a town not too far from me and in large Hispanic area. I found myself opening the door to a scene kind of like something you might see in a movie. It was such a wonderful experience. A very small waiting area filled with people speaking one of the most beautiful languages in the world, Spanish.I have had a number of years of Spanish and many of the people who come to the Pantry are Hispanic so I'm used to helping people with their English. This place was such an experience. The many dialects and the lilting sounds of women as opposed to the more defined and sharper sounds of the men. I could have sat there all day just to hear more. When I opened the door 2 of the women who were waiting stopped talking and actually welcomed me to sit next to them by moving their papers and handbags. I seriously think they wanted to get a closer look at the gringa grandma with blond hair, blue eyes and find out what on earth I was doing there. One of the secretaries came to take my info and kept saying my name and asking me if I was there regarding immigration??? Are you sure??? Who recommended you to this office. I asked her to speak in private for a moment because there is nothing further from my personality than to expect to be treated like someone special because my friend is a major political guy in the area. All I asked him to do was to recommend someone who would know what they were doing with immigration law. My friend had made a personal call to the lawyer and called in a favor. That was not known to me until the end of our meeting.

At any rate, I handed him all the paperwork pertaining to my birth and history which included very fragile papers from 1948 and he became very excited by the fact that I had an antique green card. Apparently, such things have not been in use since the dark ages. He called all the lawyers in to his office to show them what one looked like. To boil it all down to less than a novella, my father was an American soldier during the war so it automatically makes me a citizen. I have the records of that birth and several other papers from Germany that make clear those facts. There is a notarized letter from my mother giving the details of my life from the beginning. Anyway, after much discussion it was decided that the best way to proceed would be to apply for a passport. While the passport people are throwing up their hands and screaming. the lawyer will have the German documents translated so that when the passport office send them back to the lawyer we can proceed from there. There is no point sending them the German papers now since they will just be annoyed and not know how to read them. So I'm looking at about 8 weeks till they start asking for additional info.

The best and most amazing part of the day came when I was waiting for something to finish printing and he asked me what I do. I explained that for the past 13 years I have partnered with my friends to run the Food Pantry through the auspices of the Ecumenical Council of Churches. He was quiet for a moment and said, "I have decided to take your case pro bono." He went on to tell me that many of his clients had commented in the past how much they had been helped by the Food Pantry and he believed that we were doing the work of the Lord there. He said he had spoken to a number of clients who told stories of how one or the other of us had given them enough money to get gas for their cars to get to them to work. I had tears in my eyes by the time we were done. No one has ever told me anything so lovely in all the time I have worked at the Pantry. It's not the kind of thing you do for thanks. It was a moment I will never forget and when I think back to all the times I handed over $10 or $20, I had a renewal of faith in that office. Since I am not a wealthy woman but I am comfortable enough, I have written a check to the lawyer to help with the legal costs to someone who cannot afford his services. It was the least I could offer and I will do it again.

On the way to his office I kept thinking and praying that Roger would be looking over my shoulder and help me not to screw anything up. I felt his presence more yesterday than I have since the trip to Maine. It was a truly lovely feeling.

I hope I'm quoting it correctly,

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches on your soul and sings the song that never stops at all" Emily Dickenson

The small quilt above is the one I made for Roger many years ago. It hung in his office since the early 90s and I made it as a joke since his pet peeve was having to wear ties. It came back home a last month when his office was packed up and the personal contents were given to me. It made me laugh to see it. Wearing ties made him bananas.