Ned used to stay at Covenant House a lot, coming in and out of our Crisis Program, building relationships, and trying his best to do well. He parted with us eventually to go to Saskatchewan for work, but although he was thousands of kilometers away, he stayed close and connected, relying on his supports here. Ned called and checked in with all of us, telling us how he was doing, and asking how things were on our end.
One evening as I was covering the front desk, the phone rang and Ned’s familiar voice brought a smile to my face. He was kind, as usual, and it was nice hearing from him, but this time his little check-in wasn’t so cheerful – he broke two fingers and was out of work for now. Ned told me he just taped his fingers together, and then laughed when I urged him to go to the hospital. He reminded me he doesn’t “do doctors” but assured me he’s going to be alright and asked me not to worry about him. He said he’s staying with his friends for now, but they’ve left for a few days, and he doesn’t have any money for food. He has this chicken though, he said.
Then he paused. I couldn’t understand why he was telling me about this chicken, until he finally summoned up the courage to continue: “I’m very sorry, but I just don’t have anyone else… Can you please tell me how to cook a chicken?” It’s a feeling like no other when we know that our youth can turn to us with whatever they are facing in their lives – big and small. Sometimes it’s tough, emotional things, and sometimes it’s just… chicken. So, we talked about that. Ned asked about the easiest way to cook it, about how to tell when it’s done, how to make it taste good and what kind of easy sides he can make for it. “Thank you” – he heartily said in the end, and that was one of the sweetest thanks I’ve ever heard.