The Long Peek Before the Boo

It was 6 o'clock in the morning, and already Dan Goering was not having a nice day. It was the kind of Friday when it's hard just to roll out of bed. A brief and mildly desperate search of the kitchen found no caffeine on hand, so Dan decided that a walk to the neighborhood Seven-11 for a cup of coffee was called for.

A member of Sojourners Community for 15 years, Dan had been director of the food distribution program at Sojourners Neighborhood Center for a few of the most recent. But he had just made a change. For a time, he was putting in time at a job in order to finance his dream of getting a master's degree in social work.

As he walked toward the Seven-11, Dan thought of all the people he missed from the Saturday morning food line. He considered staying home that day from his new job; the work seemed so far removed from his passions and commitments. On the other hand, it had become difficult to see the food line grow over the years, to hear the stories every week of jobs taken away and families evicted, to feel the growing desperation.

As Dan got close to the Seven-11, he saw a familiar face coming toward him. It belonged to Jerry Jones, one of the regulars from the food line. They had a standing joke between them--Dan always kidded Jerry about being the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, since the football team's owner shared his name.

Jerry was pushing his trademark shopping cart full of aluminum cans and sipping an early-morning beer. He did not look like the owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

"Hey, Jerry, how're you doin'?" Dan asked when they came face to face.

"I'm all right. How're you doin'?"

"Man, I am not doing well at all," began Dan. "I didn't even want to get out of bed this morning--"

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Sojourners Magazine January 1992
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