I am back at a hotel.
Technically homeless again.
But other than the aching knees and back, the $500 moving bill, and the general inconvenience, it's not so bad.
You see, the Steakhouse Lodge is family for me. I stayed there for a month while finding a place to live and then stayed there for a week while my furnace was being fixed. I go there every Friday night for fish fry -- the equivalent of church to children of the Northwoods.
I've been invited to the houses of friends who work there. I get to attend staff parties. We're so friendly that when I arrived tonight to pick up my room key, I received nothing but insults. You know that's love in the Nort'woods.
Staff had just finished a late lunch serving volunteers from the American Birkebeiner, so my friends -- no, my family -- plated me leftovers and bought me a drink as they knew the transition I am making once again.
The two young men who moved me today worked their butts off, nearly running between boxes and the useless items I've accrued in my 56 years. The younger of the two, Tyson, picked up a box and said, "Oh, this one is books." I knew immediately it was the Catholic Encyclopedia that is a family heirloom. Every time I move, those two or three boxes bring moans. The set was a gift from the parish to my great uncle Father Robert Agnew, the first priest at St. Olaf in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. My dad had them in his law office when he died and no one wanted them. I did and still use them when they're not in a box in storage.
I promised the other young man, Dan, when I found some of writing books I'd call him as he's an aspiring writer. The moving business slows in the winters here -- it was a balmy 20 degrees for the move from my house into a friend's garage -- and he thought he could use the time writing. Of course, I encouraged him as I think everyone should write.
Right now my knees ache and so hot I'm pretty sure I could poach an egg an each. But I'm also sitting at The Ranch, a classic Wisconsin supper club that will serve me a relish tray. What's that? Some munchies that will feed me and potentially encourage a couple drinks before dinner.
Somehow this weekend, the stress, pressure and unpleasantness of being uprooted once again melded into a sense of belonging.
Being homeless -- for two or three weeks -- doesn't mean I'm not home.
Peace and home unto all of you my brothers and sisters.