Gabe Jordan's story

Dateline: Fri 20 Nov 2009

At Thursday night's Meridian-Kessler Fall All-Neighborhood meeting Thursday at IPS No. 84, one of the highlights for me was re-connecting with David Clingan. We'd met years earlier at his yard sale, and we clicked. He's the kind of guy who remembers what you bought at his sale a decade ago (a VCR for daughter Bessie, then in college at IU). So how impressive is that???

David is smart, funny and sweet, so our chat flowed easily from one topic to another -- Patachou and other hot-button Northside topics, Mayor Ballard and the smoke that's gotten in his eyes, the joys and miseries of country living and finally, Gabe Jordan.

Gabe Jordan is on a lot of our minds lately. For many of us, it's not because he's a close friend or anything quite so personal. But he's an integral part of the Indianapolis local food scene, and there's a connectiveness in that small but big-hearted world that transcends age, gender, income, neighborhood, race. It's about food and hospitality, friendship and authenticity. For those of us who are patrons and not cooks or servers or wine stewards, it's about appreciation and gratitude.

As most of you know from reading John Tuohy's story in the Indianapolis Star, or from TV news, or your own personal history, Gabe was the wine guy at Goose the Market at 2503 N. Delaware. He was also set to be general manager for restaurateur Greg Hardesty's new dining venture at 49th and College, called Recess. Before that, he had connections to a number of top restaurants in the city. And in his yard, he tended a garden where he grew wonderful food.

Then, he was shot. He was walking his dog Sunday Nov. 8 in his Eastside Christian Park neighborhood, where he lives with his wife and baby son. Two thugs approached him and stole $20 -- a pittance, for God's sake -- then plugged him in the back. Now he is paralyzed.

While his story has faded from the day-to-day news cycle (one of the great problems with newspapers is that they only cover "news"), it's very real and vivid on the blog, (see the link at the end of this).

The blog has lots of entries that make you laugh and cry: about the surgeries he's undergoing at Wishard Hospital, and comments that only friends can make -- like Gabe will probably get out sooner because he'll be so pissed off at the hosptial food. There are also some lovely photos of Gabe with his family -- wife Brooke, a surgery tech at the Indiana Heart Hospital, and their sweet round-faced baby boy, Ezra, 7 months.

Obviously, there are going to be huge medical expenses, and one of the truisms for workers in the food industry is that medical benefits are as scarce as Republican backers of national health care.

Back to David Clingan. His church, (St. Luke United Methodist), recently passed out $20 bills to congregants, with the idea that the recipients invest the money in a cause that will challenge others to match funds. David said he asked for suggestions on his Facebook page, and one of the ideas that came back that resonated was contributing to Gabe's fund. "I decided that's what I'm going to do," said Clingan, who also works in the medical industry as a recruiter for heart surgeons and specialists.

That's something the rest of us also may be able to do too, in bigger or smaller ways.

And the reasons we should pitch in have a lot to do with the themes sounded at that Meridian-Kessler meeting: we who live in the city, who choose to live in the city because we love it, have a common ground. That includes restaurants and culture and wonderful old homes and, unfortunately, crime. Gabe Jordan was the unintended victim of a horrible crime; it could have happened to any of us, on the wrong street at the wrong time and meeting up with the wrong people.

By supporting Jordan and his family through this incident, we can stand together. We can show our appreciation for those who provide good food and good service -- the Martha's of the world, and the Gabe's -- and, in this small way, we can say "thank you" for their efforts.

Here's the link, so you too can keep tabs on Gabe and his family:


Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I had no idea Gabe was injured. Godspeed to he and his family.

2009-11-21 08:00:18

ruthholl [Member] said:

That is so interesting -- shows how if you miss one day in the news cycle, you're out of the loop.
Do check out the blog; under very painful circumstances, it is a good and inspiring read.

2009-11-21 10:12:19

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I did check the blog. Last night, when I got home from watching the new movie "Precious." Which is, by the by, a must-see very real look at urban America.

Color me thankful four days early.

2009-11-22 06:09:22

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