two weeks ago, i came to the kankakee-bourbonnaise-bradley area to visit with eric and heather who are facebook friends of mine. eric is friends with some of the people i went to college with (although he never went to north central with me) and he has played online scrabble with me a lot. i won’t do mafia wars, sorority sisters, or farmville with him–he’s way too good. heather is his wife. she and i had lunch at the target two weeks ago and for some reason eric and i couldn’t get our schedules coordinated.
yesterday, i came back to kankakee to see eric (f2fb #27) but in the intervening two weeks, tragedy had struck the couple once again–heather had been fired from target. being fired is no fun because you feel like a failure. but it’s also no fun because there’s a lot of work to be done to guarantee food on the table and your health insurance covered. their car had been repo-ed so me coming down was actually an unintentional blessing.
the first place the three of us visited was the food pantry. people who needed food congregated in the lobby of the church of the nazarene. eric got a slip of paper with the number 65 on it. the food, mostly canned goods and dried pasta, was laid out on conference tables. a woman started calling out the numbers, beginning with the number one. we looked at the food available, at the people surrounding us. eric suggested that i take heather to the grocery store to get the fresh food that they’d need for the week and i was really happy to do that. when heather and i returned, the pantry was helping the fifty fifth person. eric said he was going to turn in his number. i was puzzled, but he explained that since you can’t use this particular food pantry more than once every two months, the paltry selection wasn’t worth it. he’d rather reserve his option to come to the pantry next month. as we left, an older gentleman was loading up his car with items he had gotten from the nazarene food pantry. eric helped him by sharing information about other food pantries in the area and their schedules.
i have had rough times in my life, but nothing such as this since i left college. i will be checking in with eric and heather a lot this year, and not just in a facebook way. although, of course, facebook has helped make it possible for me and the couple to contact each other.
in other news, be careful driving in the kankakee-bourbonnaise-bradley area. the residents seem to take it as a point of pride to never look in the direction they are driving. i believe they think to do so would suggest weakness. they all own pick up trucks and are truly astonished when other vehicles present themselves in their path. i am a wary driver.