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Dorothy Day Center


      (August 31, 2009)


Sugar in the Kool-Aid,

which we proudly call “Juice”,

will have to serve as the stimulus

in our recovery package today.


The roster of dinner guests is not only longer,

but broader in representation

of races, family, medical conditions

and general state of well being, or not.


One needy soul asks for bread instead of the whole-wheat bagel.

“Sorry, the bread man couldn’t come today”, I regretfully reply.

I wish he had as I can see

it would not be so hard to chew.


It’s easy to feel intimidated by the strangeness of strangers

and overwhelmed by hungry lines that keep forming,

or feel resentment when shouted at by

someone demanding still more “Juice”.


I try to imagine how I would behave needing to

lift my glass in an Oliver-like plea,

“May I have more sir?”

wondering if I would be able to swallow pride and say “Thank you”.


I think of my own challenges and Dianne’s mother, Irene,

down in Nebraska where Kool-Aid got its start

whose care center is threatening to close until I’m brought back

to these needs with an impatient shout for “Juice!”


Dutifully I march to the farthest corner feeling badly

until I’m serenaded by a chorus of

“Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid, tastes great!

We love Kool-Aid, can’t wait”!


I share a laugh with my battered baritones

while we exchange toothy smiles

until the lights blink ending this gathering,

telling us all we need to move on with our lives.


Steven M. Lukas