My State of the Union Address

If America has soup kitchens anywhere, the state of this Union is crappy.

(I have basic parameters, at least initially.)

Who eats at soup kitchens? From what I’d seen, street/bridge/train trestle/parking garage people (on or off meds — hence, there was only decaf coffee and tea); mostly single guys; societal outcasts or freshly sprung; some, no doubt, simply lonely people.

Mother Teresa said people’s hearts are even hungrier than their stomachs. Yes.

I served there every few weeks, and I noticed quite an alarming trend in a relatively short amount of time.

Younger single women came now, either trying to remain alone (buried in books), or trying not to irritate/attract a table-full of guys, after having arrived after the tables were full. I can’t get a sweet baby blue parka out of my mind; it was filthy, but she herself was clean, but I wouldn’t have cared if she wasn’t. At any rate, It is why many people donate/bring in coats and jackets and hoodies as well as cakes and cupcakes and brownies each week for dessert. (There are perhaps a lot of overdrinkers, there; the sugar helps, I’m told. Also, many of the guests have nowhere to keep ice cream, which is almost always served.)

Then, an elderly couple was there, front and center to view all the kitchen doings while stretching a meager retirement budget. I’d hardly call us entertaining, but without pricey antenna-less digital hookup for viewing television anymore, perhaps I underestimated our appeal.

The first time I’d seen the highchair, I’d thought, “Well, maybe it’s just in case someone shows up with a toddler.”

I was wrong. There was a young mom, now, with some youngsters who could sit at the table and one who needed a high chair.

This was years ago; what’s it like now?  I can only guess: More elderly, more single women, more families, more babies.

It’s not right. It’s not right anywhere in the world, but seems even more wrong here.