The air was clean and clear and the sun shining ever so happily. We arrived at the parking lot with our caravan. Just past the chain link fence there was a scene unfolding that reminded me of the movie the Lost Boys. There were boys everywhere! There were nine year olds and young men obviously skating off some college study stress. We had arrived at a world created and protected by these boys. We had come to Ridge. We were a bit trepidatious. Would they allow us on their turf? In their world? We began to unload our trucks.
Our kids carried the sodas and food while the dads unloaded the grill and coolers. The menu? Bacon cheeseburgers, potato salad, macaroni salad, chips, homemade brownies and chocolate cookies…oh, and lots and lots of Mountain Dew! Once our portable kitchen was set up, we unloaded the tables. Would the boys like the tables? Would it be an infringement of their world? We hoped and prayed they would see we were appreciating who they were…what they did and how they expressed themselves. We had constructed shadow box tables. Our children had painted them. Then they built collages made out of broken skateboard decks we had collected from Ridge. We topped the tables with plexi and supported them with short legs. The idea…that they were low enough to the ground, the skaters could sit on their boards and eat their meal.
It didn’t take long for the boys to begin wandering up and asking questions. “What are you doing here? What are you promoting?” Our answer…”We came to feed you. We thought you’d be hungry.” “We’re not promoting anything…we like to call this a love feast.”
The grill heated up and the smell of char grilled burgers filled the air. Food is magnetic! Did you know that?! It drew them in. They loaded up their plates and ate their fill. They still weren’t too sure what we were all about. That’s okay, we figured the next time they’d begin to get the picture…it’s about loving some lost boys with food.
That was a month ago. I’m writing this after having gotten back from our second Love Feast at Ridge. Tonight was a bit different. The kids greeted us and waited patiently for the food to be finished. While it was cooking, about 20 of us headed out with shovels, rakes, brooms and trash bags. We quietly hit the perimeter of the lot, cleaning up the heaps of cups, broken decks, empty spray paint cans and plastic bottles.
Looking at it, I thought we’d never make a dent. But, within minutes a number of the lost boys asked if they could help. We filled 14 contractor bags.
Some of the kids lingered this time. Shared their stories and told us about their art. At one point tonight I thought…have you ever had a moment, the moment, when you know you are exactly where you are meant to be? Tonight was one of those moments for me. It was a love feast. We met these guys at their table…in their world. We served and ate with them. We listened and we shared. We left knowing, this is just the beginning.