The Last Resort, 201206241356

Two O’clock Saturday the ragged folk gathered at The Last Resort for barbeque and some original and traditional acoustic music from the band known as IROB, Iron Range Outlaw Brigade. By three O’clock there were thirty people here, and through the afternoon many more came and went. At one point the number of people present was over forty.
At about four O’clock food hit the table. There was shish-ka-bob with pork, turkey, fruit and vegetables, and a big bowl of potato salad. People brought bags of chips and there were dipping sauces to share. People mostly brought their own choice of beverage, but there were some soda drinks, a few liberated beers, and water Most of the people present were young, many were homeless, and some had small children with them. There may not have been enough food to satisfy everyone, but everyone who wanted got something. People shared what they had, bread, fruit, beverages, and cigarettes. Stories. Advice. Counseling. Even the comfort of their arms, and laughter.
You might wonder what these ragged folk have to laugh over. It is mostly ironic laughter, aimed at their own condition and lack of possibilities. They laugh at the shelters that have not sheltered them. They laugh at the empty houses, empty apartments and hotels, at roofs under which no one sleeps, at safe places which lock them out. They laugh at the medics who dump them on the street, they laugh at their own helpless outrage. They shouldn’t. No one has more right to be outraged than these dispossessed.
These are some tough people, used to lacking food and shelter. Each night they need to find a place to hide themselves and get some rest. Can you imagine, as the evening does its gathering, the doubt they feel as they consider their scant alternatives? Some of them are obviously shell-shocked from the implosion of the lives they once maintained, and these sit quietly and stare at nothing. Others are ill or wounded or cannot get medications to help them. Some are mentally diminished as well.
Some learn they can get the respect they need by blustering and threatening each other, but despite tension between races, cultures, and personalities, there was no fighting here. When violent madness roars to the skin and prickles back hairs, volunteer helpers appear among them to calm and separate the adversaries. People have plenty to be angry about, but they have no clear oppressor, no path or channel to the real enemy.
As darkness slapped the ground many of the ragged folk wandered off to search out shelter. Someone knew an abandoned house, not far. Some knew of places in the bushes where the police couldn’t see. One had a good place to hide, and he told them that, but he wouldn’t tell them where. After dark, one man came back to the Las Resort. He said he had been kicked out of a local church shelter because he had gone outside to have a cigarette, and he didn’t know there was a rule against that. The staff wouldn’t let him back in the door. Later, rain began again. What kind of world is this?
One where people who have nothing else left to share still care for each other.