Athens, Ohio 3-2-01
On friday I walked from Albany to Athens, about 15 miles away. Pastor Jim bought me breakfast at the cafe, located on the west end of town. Before I left from there, I used the restroom. Then a few minutes later when I got to the east edge of town, I stopped at a convenient store and went again. Then about a mile or two down the road there was a rest area, so I stopped there, too. One of the very most important things I've learned on this trip is to NEVER pass up a chance to pee.
I'm spending the wkend here in Athens staying at a homeless shelter. When Pastor Jim made arrangements for me to stay here, I was VERY apprehensive of the whole idea. Would it be safe? Would I be infringing on someone elses stuff? Would I be taking someone elses portion? Of course, I was expecting the very worst, and just as Jim had tried to assure me, it was nothing like I had imagined. Good Works, Inc., is a christian, non-profit ministry providing shelter for the rural homeless, transitional housing and community development projects to the homeless and others struggling with poverty in rural southeastern Ohio. Good Works began in 1981 when Keith Wasserman had a vision to reach out to the poor and homeless. During his fifth year at Ohio University, Keith remodeled the basement of his home into a 2 bedroom apartment and invited homeless people to stay there. Three years later, Good Works, Inc. was incorporated into a non-profit organization. In 1984, Good Works purchased a house and made it into a warm, comfortable, shelter for those in need. Nowadays, Good Works Timothy House operates around the clock, staffed by several full-time employees and over 80 scheduled volunteers. In 1989, Good Works began to address the long-term issues related to homelessness, and established a transitional housing program. They purchased the Hannah House, located 3 miles out in the country, where some staff and mentors live, who are committed to helping develope healthy life styles of people in recovery. The Hannah House is where I got to stay at. It's located out in the country in a fairly secluded spot. The building is shaped like a barn, with a stone sidewalk and steps that lead up to a large porch with some comfortable chairs and a swing. When I arrived around 3:00, there was a note on the door saying they had to leave but they'd be back by 4. The note also said the bottle of water sitting there was for me. A little ways from the house was a covered picnic area, wth several picnic tables. And off in the other direction was what looked like a brand new house almost finished. I was glad I had gotten a newspaper before I left town, so I plopped down in one of those comfy, over-stuffed chairs and was quite content with my feet up, a USA Today, and some water. When they all got back, I got to meet the crew and learn more about this place. Every friday night, they put on a community dinner where people can visit and get involved. Each week a different church/group /organization provides the meal, then afterwards anyone contributes to the evening by providing music, playing games, having a "coffee-talk" session, and later providing a short bible-study program. The evening is a fun, social gathering in a comfortable setting around something we all like -- food. They took me to this dinner, and I really enjoyed it. They even gave me a chance to give a small talk about what I was doing. Several people came up to me later and said that they, too, have siezures. It was a great evening.
Back at the Hannah House, they showed me my room upstairs. I have a bedroom and a bathroom to myself, and although the room is small, I have a big bay window that out into the country. On the main floor they have a few small offices, a big kitchen, and a big dining/living room area with a big wood stove -- always stoked up -- in it. I think the temperature in this area usually hovers around 85 or so. There are a few bedrooms on this floor, plus a large, commercial-type bathroom. Upstairs has several bedrooms, plus a general TV room. In the kitchen, you just sortof fend for yourself. There's plenty of food, so if you're hungry, fix it. On saturday I asked who was going to be around at noon, and fixed a big batch of spaghetti & meatballs. They seemed quite willing for that. For more info about Good Works, Inc, check out www.good-works.net. As I was getting stuff from my notebook, an envelope with a letter in it slipped out. It was a certificate good for a complimentary one-night stay at The Ohio University Inn & Conference Center here in Athens, so I'll be staying there this sunday. I'll be there sunday & sunday night, then on monday I'll walk to "Coolville," around 18 or 19 miles away. In Coolville I'll be staying at the Methodist Church. Anyhow, if you'd like to call me up on sunday, here's the phone number: 740-593-6661. Y'all take care and have a great wkend! KB
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