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The Soup Kitchen (standard:other, 1573 words)
Author: timsterAdded: Dec 04 2002Views/Reads: 2780/1696Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Is this what Society has created?

The Soup Kitchen 

Marie was busy performing her daily task.  She would do this everyday,
making sure the plates and silverware were out.  The food had to be 
done by noon and there was so much to prepare. The lines would be long 
on this day.  There would be plenty of food though.  This time of year, 
gathering donations was pretty simple.  Most times of the year she had 
to go beg for food from people and business's.  The turkeys were put in 
at five in the morning.  The potatoes were just about done boiling.  
Marie had been running this soup kitchen for seven years now.  Her 
kitchen was in a small basement below the Baptist Church on the corner. 
 She was not a member of this church and her patrons were never 
preached to.  So many people had eaten here throughout the years, 
looking for a meal, some company and still searching for some dignity.  
Marie had always thought the latter was the most important. As a 
younger woman, she had to rely on these places from time to time, more 
for the sake of her two children after her husband had left her.  The 
memory of living under that bridge was still ingrained in her mind.  
Today she would have many people helping her, not like most days. 

The door opened promptly at noon.  There was already a line around the
building.  Many people had been lined up there before the sun had a 
chance to come up.  As usual, Stan was first in line.  She thought that 
he must have gotten there last night, sometime.  Marie had come to know 
Stan over the past few years. He was an infantryman in the Vietnam War. 
 His unshaved face, scraggly hair and tattered clothes were a reminder 
to her, that there were too many like him out there.  He confided in 
her that part of him had died in that war.  Stan had seen many of his 
close friends die before his eyes.  The smell of burning flesh would 
never leave him.  He explained though, that is wasn't the worst part of 
being in that war.  He felt that he came through it, as best as anyone 
could.  It was the part of coming home that was hard.  He remembered 
being spat on by some college students.  They were angry at him because 
he went where the government had told him too.  The alienation of the 
American People, is what seemed to destroy him.  Stan couldn't find a 
job that suited him after he got back.  The government that sent him 
off to war seemed to abandon him.  Marie knew that he was destroyed 
more by his own people and they are the ones that killed his spirit in 
the end.  Today, Stan was just a shell of a man and lived in a cloud 
that would never leave him. 

Jennifer and her three children entered soon after.  She was a regular
there, feeding her children most days.  Marie felt close to her because 
she had been through the same type of thing. The children in their 
tattered clothes just broke Marie's heart.  She had tried many times to 
convince Jennifer to put her oldest in school.  Jennifer would have no 
part of that though.  They rarely were able to get a shower and the old 
torn clothes would be too embarrassing for him.  Marie had offered to 
help in the past, but Jennifer would have no part of it.  She felt that 
Marie had done enough for them.  Marie just felt it was Jennifer's 
Irish pride getting in the way.  None the less, Marie had bought the 
children a Christmas toy.  The children each received a little nicely 
wrapped box.  The older boy found a small truck through the wrapping 
and the two little girls each got a little doll.  Jennifer's eyes had 
swollen up, as she gave Marie a hug.  She told Marie that she was the 
best friend she had.  Marie only wished she could do more. 

Margaret and Gilbert slowly walked in.  The two have been coming in for
years now.  Marie thought that they must be about eighty now.  It 
wasn't that they were homeless, it was more this is the only way they 
could eat.  They both relied on Social Security for their living.  As 
they had aged, the cost of doctors and medicine kept growing.  They 
could afford food, now due to the rising costs of becoming old.  Once a 
day they would come to the soup kitchen and try to get enough 
nourishment for another day.  Marie remembered that they had talked 
about their children once and she wondered why they weren't around to 
help.  She knew it wouldn't take to much money to keep them fed.  Maybe 
they didn't tell their children of their situation.  Maybe the kids 
didn't care or lived too far away.  Marie didn't know the answer.  She 
wondered how society could do this to the elderly.  They worked hard 
all their lives and then their pride is taken away.  Was the same fate 
awaiting her as she aged? 

Two teenagers entered the dining area and proceeded to get into the
line.  The two boys could not have been more than sixteen.  Marie had 

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