Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner at Jake’s in Portland (2016) / the good and the bad / The ‘Homeless’

I know Christmas is less than three weeks away; but I’ve still been thinking about Thanksgiving – the good and the bad - mostly the bad.

This year the family went to Jake’s on 10th Street in downtown Portland for Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s a nice restaurant.  Eating out on Thanksgiving might not be everyone’s cup of tea; but it certainly saves a lot of wear and tear on those who customarily would be required to prepare Thanksgiving dinner at home.

Well, what was it like having dinner at Jake’s?  The answer:  good and bad.
The meal and service were very good.  The meals started at about $40, but I guess that’s to be expected considering the holiday aspect and the venue.

However… right outside the large window where we were seated was a ‘homeless’ woman, huddled under a quilt, trying to stay warm on a cold, rainy night.  She was, or at least looked, middle-aged.  I couldn’t get her out of my mind.  Except for the window, she was not more than four or five feet away.

We were in the restaurant about two hours.  When we exited the restaurant onto the street, the woman was mostly covered and facing the wall.  I lightly touched her shoulder and said something like, “Ma’am, excuse me.”  The quilt was wet to the touch.  She glanced at me and if looks could kill I would have breathed my last at that very instant.  I put a twenty down near her face.  She grabbed the money and pulled the quilt over her head.  I walked on with my family.

This ‘homeless’ woman is not unique.  In Portland, ‘homeless’ people are everywhere.  It is a public disgrace.  The City of Portland has been struggling with the problem for many years, but it only seems to get progressively worse.

The Oregonian newspaper (photo above from the same) did an article awhile back on the subject.  At the time, their research found that 20% of the ‘homeless’ are Mentally Ill, 20% are Chronic Substance Abusers, 10% are Victims of Domestic Violence and 10% are veterans.  I suppose some, maybe many, are on the streets because this is their choice.  I don’t know.  But, there are thousands of the ‘homeless’ populating Portland streets.  Why can’t we do something?  Why can’t we at the very least care for the Mentally Ill?  Wouldn’t that constitute some progress?

Next Thanksgiving, I will not be eating at Jake’s.

True Nelson
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