by Bobbi Smisko
I walked down the ramp as I left the prison last evening, my walker rumbling before me on the uneven cement.. My fellow volunteer walked down the steps. As we met at the bottom and walked into the parking lot, a warm rain sprinkled a blessing on us and the heat from the asphalt gave the moisture a pungent fragrance of summer. We chatted a bit about my first experience volunteering there among fourteen men who were now locked in their cells, some of whom would be there forever. As he and I split to go to our respective cars, I turned to wave goodbye and suddenly noticed a spectacular array of color peeking between the clouds that dotted the early evening sky. I felt a punch of joy strike my heart as I moved towards my vehicle. To smell the rain, to see the sunset, to walk to my car - simple everyday acts - but not so simple, nor so small, to those who are incarcerated.
--Bobbi is married with four grown children and six grandsons. She earned her BA from Eastern University at age 58 and completed a two-year course of study in 2016 to become a spiritual director at age 73 and shortly thereafter began volunteering at Graterford Prison (now Phoenix) in the Restorative Justice Program. Her hobbies are volunteering, hosting family and friends, reading and writing, and currently meeting with mixed race folks to better understand racial issues.