Dandelion Armies & Folks in Need

Now that nephew Jeff’s wedding is nearly a week in the rear view mirror–and it went very well, indeed–concentration is given over to getting things ready for the move to the cottage on the lake in Michigan in the next few weeks. And to really get us into the “mode of summer,” our weather here in northern Illinois has run true to form once again. One day we’re turning the furnace back on and donning sweatshirts and jackets; the next the temperature is in the high 80s (90 in some places!) and the central air gets its first workout of the year. Ah, spring in northern Illinois! We go from the last vestiges of cold and rain right to the heavy heat and humidity of August. Get me to the cottage ASAP!

Despite the crazy weather, however, I have managed to get the lawn cut and trimmed–even though the yellow army of invading dandelions seems to be closing the gap between the untamed field next door and my neatly coiffed and treated yard moment by moment. I fear I’m going to have to invest in a sprayer and really spray the heavy area out back. On rages the battle!

I had the opportunity yesterday evening to continue a long-standing tradition with a few other friends. Each year at this time, we meet at a church in Naperville, haul out four or five Weber kettles, fill them with charcoal, and cook delicious steaks and chicken breasts for the many homeless people who gather there each Wednesday night for their meal and shelter. Every year the lessons I take away from the experience are many and–mostly–heart breaking. 

Last night’s attendance seemed to be even more full to capacity, and many were families with small children. One lady with three young girls with her appeared to have everything she possessed stuffed inside a black van–their home, no doubt! I often wonder what the situations were in each of these people’s lives that delivered them to this situation in their lives. I silently count my blessings that I’m able to be on the “serving” side of this scene and not on the “receiving” side. And then I wonder just how fragile we all are anymore in this world. In any respect, all went well. 

The steaks and chicken were received with much gratitude. To many, this may have been their only meal of the day. I was glad to share my time and resources for the few hours it took to get things going from start to finish. I hope that each one of those folks are able to make it through today and eat well tonight in wherever their shelter is to be. (My thoughts are with those kids! They deserve more than the lives they have now…)

So as I look ahead to the fun of the summer weeks ahead, I am also sobered by the lives I witnessed last night. It all makes my “battle” with dandelions quite insignificant, I think. On the roads we travel, a helping hand is always welcome…MLA

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