“Put Up Your Umbrella” Kentucky Fried Friendship

Kevin Hoffman is a dear friend that came forward and surprised us with his thoughtfulness during Megan’s journey through adrenal cancer.  As a construction manager he fits the stereotype of a cigar smoking, joke-cracking, burly kind of guy.  The room comes alive when he walks in, and sick or not, my girl and I always wanted to be close to the laughter that Kevin faithfully generates.

My background check on his previous care giving skills revealed that Kevin’s thoughtfulness was hardly exemplary during his wife’s own health crisis.  As Doretta groaned at death’s door, Kevin laid a granola bar on the nightstand to nourish her throughout the day.  By lunch time, while eating a Subway sandwich on the job, he picked up an extra sandwich and threw it into the back of a hot truck until he got home for dinner, hours later.  The soggy mess was delivered to Doretta’s bedside early in the evening – getting Doretta a glass of water was out of the question, as he had already exhausted his thoughtfulness for the day.

Months after the often repeated (and exaggerated) Subway saga, he rose to the occasion to care for my girl.  His soggy Subway care giving skills were replaced by countless situations where he clearly came through for us.  Megan was just home from having her adrenal gland removed and we were exhausted and still reeling from the cancer diagnosis.  On a hot August day Kevin called to say he was delivering dinner – and ‘is it o.k. to drop by at 5:00?’  At 5:00 on the dot Kevin dropped by the bucket of KFC chicken.  He said hello, teased us both, and quickly road off on his new Harley Davidson.

But this story now has a life of its own.  That day was one of his first rides on his new motorcycle.  Not just any old Harley – it was a Harley Davidson 2005 Heritage Classic.  It’s $19,000 of hard metal.  Kevin mounted his collector’s edition Harley and roared up to the drive-up window and ordered up our bucket of chicken.  This power moment of manhood was quickly confronted with the question of ‘how am I going to carry this to their home?’ Our realization that it could have arrived after being straddled between his legs left us with months of speculation about crotch chicken (Eww!) – Truthfully the bucket was crammed down into the side of a new saddlebag (not such a tasty idea, either), but imagining our friend transporting the nine piece dinner gave us a bucket of laughter.

As the months moved forward and countless meals came to the house, I realized Kevin Hoffman had it all figured out.  First of all, he decided what we were having for dinner.  Making life and death decisions left us little energy to decide ‘What’s for dinner?’  Kevin remembered KFC was Megan’s favorite.  He arrived at the house punctually on time, dropped the food, and left.  Our sometimes less than sensitive friend displayed enormous intuition to know we didn’t have the energy that day for company, even his.

Key Notes:

  • If you have volunteered to take food to a friend in chemo, find out if they have any food restriction.
  • Remember their favorite foods, and think for them.
  • Be on time!
  • Megan adored Kevin Hoffman, but socially talking at the door was exhausting, especially after a full day at the hospital.  Be ready to drop the food and leave.
  • Be yourself!  Sometimes Megan and I needed to talk about cancer and treatment, but often it became all-consuming.  Kevin treated Megan like normal.

On a Lighter Note:

  • An extra crispy chicken thigh from KFC has 370 calories.  Nutritional information is available at www.yum.com. (Their chicken is YUMMY…I don’t care that it’s fried)

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3 comments

  1. Hi Valerie! Thanks for your most gracious comments on my blog! I’m enjoying reading your posts, and I’m going to come back more often. By the way, Aidan saw the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader pictures, and I think he’s added it to my favorites. 🙂

  2. This photo was take in 2007 while Megan was in chemo and radiation. The bucket of chicken was once again delivered by Kevin Hoffman. Since it was in the winter, he drove up in his heated Cadillac. No matter what the delivery mode, you can see in her face that Kevin made her come alive with joy!

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Article by: Valerie Bourdain