So how is it that Jack Kaiser of Eau Claire, Wis., found himself slip-sliding through the snowy streets and sidewalks of Davenport on Christmas Day to deliver bags of ham dinners to 15 of the city's elderly residents?

Well, Kaiser is Bill Brownson's brother-in-law, and Brownson, of Davenport, was among the several dozen people who volunteered to ferry 330 meals from the Generations Area Agency on Aging to senior citizens who are homebound or do not have family in the area with whom to share the holiday.

While Brownson drove, finding streets without a map - thanks to having delivered dry cleaning years ago - Kaiser, who was visiting for the holiday, hopped out and knocked on doors.

The meals themselves were prepared and packaged at the St. Ambrose University cafeteria, and by 9 a.m., two Sodexo Campus Services employees - working as volunteers - were filling foam containers with ham, scalloped potatoes and green beans almondine. Already stacked on carts outside were bags filled with pecan pie, milk, pineapple and dinner rolls.

Brownson and Kaiser arrived in Brownson's good-in-the-snow Ford Explorer about 10 a.m., picking up a list of 11 names - more than usual because another volunteer canceled at the last minute - and 15 meals.

The deliveries were grouped in west Davenport; the first stop was Edgewater, an elderly high-rise on 3rd Street.

Next was a single-family home where the first wood step was - beware - unattached and then a mobile home park off Telegraph Road. Brushing snow off the mailbox number to verify that he was at the right place, Kaiser greeted a woman in a colorful housedress and bare feet, wishing all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and God's blessings.

Fourth stop: the senior living complex at the former Marycrest University, with the opportunity to make several deliveries in one spot, but a challenge to find the right buildings and the correct apartments.

Kaiser momentarily left two bags at the door of a residence with a copy of Saturday's Quad-City Times outside and a yappy dog inside, but no one at home. He then thought better of it, rechecked the address and, after two more false stops, found the correct person - Shirley - in a wholly different building.

The fifth and sixth stops were two single-family homes in the area of Locust and Marquette streets, and then it was off to an apartment complex north and west of Division Street and Kimberly Road for the final address.

Tattered carpet on the steps, small holes in the wall and - as the door opened - two bright-eyed little boys, one in a diaper, smiling and reaching for the plastic bags. Behind them, the smiling gray-haired senior recipient.

Meanwhile, several other routes were being covered by family/friends Brownson got involved in the project, including Sue O'Malley of Bettendorf and Mary Brownson of Davenport, Sue's daughter, Katie, and Brownson's friend, Gary Moeller of Davenport.

Driving back to St. Ambrose, Brownson and Kaiser recalled Christmases past and all of the ways and places they have celebrated.

Someday they might reminisce about the snowy day they brought meals to 15 strangers.

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