A Handful Of Hospitality

Once upon a time, Anthony, with bulging grocery bag full of clothes under one brown arm and faded pink, one-eyed "teddy dog" under the other, came to live with eight Sojourners grownups. Ant was used to living with a lot of people; after all, he did have 10 brothers and sisters, not to mention his Mama. But because their house had recently burned down, his family had no place where they could all stay together. The eight Sojourners said, with some reluctance, "Come live with us."

Ant came. He moved into Mernie's bedroom and had a bed all to himself. Well, not all to himself. One could always find the one-eyed dog amid his three blankets; a dilapidated football at his side; and a deck of blue, green, and pink "Go Fish" cards strewn under his pillow.

Even with familiar objects around him, the darkness of night still held a mysterious terror. Sometimes Anthony would wake up with an anguished yell. What sorts of dreams haunt little boys separated from their families?

Ant sometimes found listening to eight grownups talk at the dinner table about Reaganomics, the M-X, and El Salvador a bit difficult. He'd be so quiet that everyone would forget his presence--unless to remind him to eat his crusty soybean bake or lentil loaf. What strange foods for a young one used to Mama's fried chicken and mashed potatoes. When encouraged (or did we nag?) to eat, Anthony would look at us askance, fork up a minuscule bite, and when no one was looking carefully scoot what he could under the rim of his plate. When alternative food was placed before him, alternative ways of disposal had to be found. All in all, though, he did seem to put a few pounds on his less than slender frame.

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