Happy Memorial Day!
During our “Pack Away Hunger” initiative yesterday, I met a man named Frank. Frank was in the middle of crossing the barrier to reach the river below the bridge when my friend and I offered him a lunch pack and cold water. He had no teeth, just gums he revealed as he smiled and thanked us. Fishing line in one hand, wiping his brow with the other, he confessed that he had been very hungry and was just about to fish for dinner and seemed grateful to have someone to share his knowledge with on the difference fresh, running water makes and the taste of its fish. We had the AC running the entire time and still, the heat would suck the cool air out immediately every time we opened the windows. It was one of those beautifully scenic Sundays, drenched with sunshine but best observed behind air conditioned windows, it most definitely was not a day to trek all across the city, lugging buggies filled to the brim with dented tin cans in a one man marathon. I wish I had the courage to ask these men (I only met one woman), what happened. It can’t possibly all be part of a Dave Chapelle skit. It’s not comedy, it’s reality. We grew up pretty poor and the neighborhoods I spent my childhood riding bikes through only seemed different to me when one day, I came out and discovered that my red bike was no longer there. Do you steal because you have/want to, someone tells you to, it’s a common practice, or all of the above?
As today is Memorial Day, it serves as a neon-highlighted reminder that an estimated 144,842 Veterans spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program in a recent year. Perhaps some of the Men I met yesterday are disabled Veterans. I can’t even begin to imagine the hell on earth that these brave Men and Women must be thrust into each day. The people I met yesterday + Kids I saw late night, prove just how easy it is for them to be forgotten about. It all comes down to how we, as Humans react and respond.
I pray that Frank caught that big fish and that he is OK. Maybe I’ll see him again next Sunday.
‘Til tomorrow, I bid y’all a short goodbye and a Happy Memorial Day.
Your Squishy Monster