Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Grocery deliveries spark a friendship between volunteer and senior

Nick Dyer and Barbara Matthews have found a way to form a friendship amid the pandemic, from opposite sides of a window.

Dyer and Matthews live in St. Paul, Minnesota, and first met about four months ago. Dyer is the founder of Rosewater Service Corps, a volunteer group that helps elderly members of the community with everything from shopping to shoveling snow to raking leaves. Due to the pandemic, Matthews, 90, does not want to leave her home and risk bringing an illness back to her 91-year-old husband, Charles, who has Alzheimer's disease. Dyer has stepped in to bring the family groceries every few weeks.

The first couple of times he dropped her groceries off, Dyer noticed Matthews watched from her window and waved the entire time. "I kind of just drove away and I thought, I need to spend more time visiting with her because ... I'm delivering more than groceries," Dyer told the Star Tribune. "It's companionship and conversation and being social with her community."

Once they started talking, Dyer noticed Matthews' British accent, and since then they have had conversations through the closed window about what it was like for Matthews to live in London during World War II. She has told Dyer about running into bomb shelters and having to carry around a gas mask, stories he finds fascinating.

When his future grandchildren ask him what it was like to live during the pandemic, Dyer told the Star Tribune, he is going to tell them about his friendship with Matthews, and that "everyone stepped up and helped each other out. That I lived up to that responsibility of community during a time that was hard for a lot of people."