Last night we spent an evening at the Catholic Worker’s drop in center, providing an evening meal and more importantly a “living room” type of place for the poor of the area to come and play cards and socialize. It was loud, raucous and a fine time. Britney, a John Carroll student, Val, one of my UB students and CJ, the son of one of the residents spent the evening spooning out meat loaf and soup to the residents. CJ was a cute, rambunctious wise ass of a kid. He was criticized a lot throughout the evening by the adults around him and I’m not sure why. His mouth probably gets him in the most trouble, but he doesn’t seem to have a positive role model. It was nice to spend time with him but also disconcerting.

After everyone headed home for the night, we needed to spend the night in the drop in center as St Patrick’s was preparing for their big St Patrick’s Day celebration. It’s only one night, but let me tell you this was no fun. Even though we cleaned the center all day the place is over run by mice. They’re tiny but at one point, I counted 8 of them on the two rugs nearest me. I slept on two chairs, too timid to try the couches, or to put my feet on the floor or to even use a sleeping bag (I feared a mouse find its way inside my bag). I imagine this is what those who sleep in shelters every night face regularly and probably get over quickly, fearing things much more dangerous than a bunch of field mice. Looks like I’d have a bad time of it on the streets. My fears were realized when my colleague, Ed, had a mouse run over his arm in the night. I think his heart might still be pounding.

I may gave gotten 90 minutes of sleep and today we’ll be going all day, some of us staying here and others, including me, heading to a home for the dying and then all of us heading to the Cleveland food bank for the afternoon.

Tonight I have a free night and so I’m going to meet up with my friend Paula Kampf for a meal and bring some students along for the ride.