Through a round-about route, I was asked to call a person who I had worked with for 15 years. As my finger was about to dial the number given, I was blissfully unaware of what I would find at the other end of this call. My memory of this person were fond ones, but as often happens in career changes, you lose contact over the years.
I don’t know if this happens to you, but when made aware of who I was calling, my mind pictured this vibrant middle aged woman who made my job all the better through her encouraging words and actions. Of course, in my mind she was no older than when we parted ways about 25 years ago, so imagine my turmoil after the first confusing phone call.
Now I had to acknowledge that all those years may have made a change in her as well as in me. But I had promised to visit her, so this week, I did.
The physical change in her appearance was not a lot more than is normal for her 70-plus years, but that is all as I had come to expect. What I did not envision was her emotional and mental well-being. I’m struggling with words here, because I don’t want to offend someone I have a lot of respect for, but I feel that in order to make sense of it all, I can’t beat around the bush.
The assembly of a community that is commonly called ‘The Street’ quite seriously is very similar to making a cake, or any other recipe for that matter.
I’ll try to lay it out so that on examination, you can see just how it might possibly be.
To start with, we have to recognize that our children for a variety of reasons have very little or nothing to do. Couple that with parents who do not use imaginative ways to keep them occupied — or just don’t care, or who abuse them.
You end up with kids who use their own imagination, then aided by TV do things that put them in conflict with their parents and eventually society. These kids then will automatically turn to a group that will take them in without question.
A good friend posted the following on a social site and it brought to mind something I had thought about many times before.
One couple sleeps in my laundry room or the lobby. She is in a wheelchair and needs dialysis 3 times a week. He is addicted to morphine and will shoot up whatever he can get his hands on. He is getting frightfully more yellow everytime I talk to him. Regardless their love for each other is pure.
Another guy is physically handicapped from many adventures on the street. He is also mentally handicapped due to a brain injury that happened when his cousins beat him up and put him in a coma for a month. He has no sense of smell or taste and often times is unaware that he smells like urine and listerine. His family uses him for his money and then disapears unitl the next payday.
Another woman is addicted to meth and works for an escort agency to fund her addiction. Her actions have caused her family to get mulitple eviction notices and her moms boyfriend has a hard time saying no to her. She does not want to change or even acknowledge the damage that her actions have had on the people who love her.
He walks down the sidewalk with a gait suggesting a goodly age. As he draws closer, his heavily lined face breaks into a smile as he waves a greeting at me with his cane, and he carries on.
Nothing about this man suggests anything but age that has been achieved with hard work.
This middle-aged woman comes into the kitchen with an expression somewhere between joy and great expectation as she searches me out.
When queried about her well-being, I get just a shake of her head along with pursed lips.
Last night when I got home after a long day at the kitchen, my potbellied body was crying out desperately for reprieve.
My Lazyboy was beckoning in the most prodigious manner, but my wife had a video to show me of our granddaughter before any ‘vegging’ could take place.
In this video, our daughter was playing a musical card that we had sent to our son-in-law for his birthday. Our granddaughter, so enthralled by this song The Hamster Dance, was dancing up a storm.
Seriously though, I don’t know who was more enthralled, our granddaughter or my wife, who kept playing this clip over and over until she finally broke Sky Drives’ rules of engagement.