Snow-nami- when to be even more thankful
January 10, 2009
Oh my god…it is so incredibly cold outside tonight. I just got in from being out for I don’t know 2.5 hours and I think today and yesterday have made me even more thankful for everything I have.
The first man I met this night was George he was hustling a corner for money. I asked if he was hungry he said he was not I asked if he wanted some food for later when he might be, he said he would. I loaded up his bag with some canned food, apple sauce and water. He thanked me and I wished him a good night.
Next I went to see Victor as I had a really good bag for him. I tried to pull into the area but there was another SUV in the area and I didn’t exactly want to get busted for going were I didn’t belong so I called Gregg and ran to his place to give him some stuff I had in the jeep for him and Ang.
Now on the way over there I had a weird feeling and a song was on the radio about disappointment which I tried to listen to but had to turn off. After I saw Gregg I turned the radio back on and a song by David Grey came on ..and his music is always very soothing to me, so that helped.
When I returned the suv was still there but parked where I get past so I took the chance and did, someone was in the suv but I just ignored them and I hoped they would do the same to me.
I pulled in and saw a few guys hanging out. I saw Stefan and Albert and the gentleman who sleeping the last time I was there but I could not tell if anyone was asleep behind them. I got out of the jeep and said hi to everyone and headed over but could not see victor. I chatted for a bit before I asked where he was, trying not to sound like that was the only reason I stopped by as it was not but it was part of goal I cant lie.
Albert told me that he was gone and I asked for how long? He told me he was gone a few days after my last visit. He went on to tell me about how bad his health was and with the two strokes this was the last place he needed to be but didn’t offer where he went. I didn’t pry.
the rest of us started to talk about stuff and even the gentleman who was sleeping before was engaged a bit! After awhile I asked them if they were hungry but Alex said no, I was not sure if he spoke for all of them so I asked if they wanted food for later
(david grey just came on the radio!!...sail away!) they all said they did so I went to the jeep and got two armfuls of food and water and took it back to them and handed it all out. Alex and Stefan just set it aside the third gentleman started to eat and thanked me profusely for the water, I gave him extra.
Alex Stefan and I talked about life and family and how there was absolutely no reason to leave where they were as it was bad outside. They asked why I was. I told them I wanted cuz I was either brave or stupid Albert told me most likely a little bit of both. I had to agree as we all laughed. When the third gentleman was done eating he engaged on and off in the conversation as he was cleaning up the area and picking up trash and putting somewhere behind me..i thought that was odd considering how I had the interaction the other day about how its really doesn’t matter if homeless men litter to me anymore and then I watched this man tidy there living quarters. It was interesting.
I finally said hello to him and reminded of who I was and he remembered and I apologized for not introducing myself the last I was there but he looked like he wanted to sleep. I told him my name and he told me his. His name is Nate.
Stefan told me Albert and Nate had been teasing him. I looked at Albert with a sly smile. He told me that Stefan needs to go to the hospital due to the fact that he is deep pain and his toes are in bad shape. And Nate agreed that they were just trying to tell him how serious it was that he got help and go to the hospital. It was like a nagging family member watched them all. Stefan admitted that some of the toes on each of his feet were black. I asked him if he thought it was serious, he did and Albert who you can tell cares about him told him he needs to go.
Stefan started to tear up and said he was scared and did want to lose his feet. Nate said it may only be his toes. Stefan was upset and said he did not want to spend the rest of his life in a wheel chair Albert said he may not have to and explained stories of other guys he knew who had lost toes and were not in chairs. Stefan looked at me with is big sad eyes almost expecting me to scold him. I offered him a ride if he wanted one to the hospital.
Albert said he needed to think about it over night and deal with what could happen. And he told Stefan that he can not leave in the middle of the night and go walking or it would get worse. I told him it was so bad out there that none of the roads were plowed and the sidewalks were covered too. Stefan said he never thought it would come to this.
I could hear a car behind me at this time and the guys looked up but said to ignore it but I could tell it was not going away and it was weird to have my back to it for sure. I evidently looked back and it drove away after awhile. How odd it must be to be so completely ignored as a homeless man but then stared at ever so often as well.
About this time I had been squatting for about a half hour to 45 minutes and Albert invited me to sit down and that it was ok. I took his invitation.
We talked about how Albert does not have to live on the streets but can only take some much of his family. That he spent Christmas with his brother and New Years. And that his daughter will come there to get him some times but she always nags too much and he wonders why she didn’t leave him. I told him she cares about him but it comes across wrong and he said he knew and he loves her too but can only take so much. I told him I knew exactly what he meant. He told me was an adult and she had to understand that. Oh yea!
He told stories about taking Stefan home a few years ago for Christmas and how they ate like kings. Stefan said it was wonderful. He spoke of his mother too in a few stories as he remembered how it was growing up.
Soon Albert Stefan and i started to talk about services that these men use, Nate had settled down under some covers. They told me about St Margarets in St Clair Shores where if you get yourself out there they will feed, cloth and let you shower but offer no shelter but they will give you a bus ticket back to where ever! They were telling me about shelters out that way which were really nice and usually run by churches as people out that was seem to be very involved in church even if they don’t have much to give. Right! Some shelters will even give you two bus tickets once you get there..one to go wherever and one to get back.!! Wow! They each shared stories about
We talked about the book that was next Albert. He told me it was good and so did Nate he was still awake! He told me it was called Trail of Temptation. Albert told me all about it. It was a cowboy love story! The picture on the front of the book was just like a Harliquen, which made me think of my Auntie Mary Ann! He told me skipped a lot of the book as it was good he wanted to get the end and then planned to get the filler! He said he was about two people, the woman who had to be escorted by the man to her father. And they hated each other which Albert said is exactly why you know they will end up together in the end. We laughed at how the story line was so obvious at least in the book world.
Stefan told me about a book by Goethe he had read and I had a feeling he was educated as he had spoke about some stories of being on the road and situations he had been in and they were not situations most homeless or shit even myself would be in. and he knew about wines, why that made me feel that way is just a hunch but not like it matters either way I try to treat them all the same, with dignity and respect. (not always good at this in my life I know this but I am trying)
I heard someone behind and asked who it was. Then some very tall man showed up on my right and he was very cold you could tell. He moved some stuff around to sit next to Albert and did so as he tried to warm up. We were introduced to each other his name is Lump. I said Lump? And he explained his last name is Lumpkin! Made perfect since.
I asked if he was hungry after he seemed to un-thaw he told me no I asked he if wanted stuff for the next time he was he said he would. I got him a bunch of stuff and we loaded his bag.
Albert then brought up to remind me and Stefan about going to the hospital and Lump told him it could just be bad frost bite and that he needed to take his shoes off every night to dry out his feet. And I remembering having seen Nate just do that before he got under his blankets. Lump then told them about his scare a few years and that he did not lose his fingers but they were compromised for a while but doing better. Now they just real cold real fast and at like 40 degrees. And he told Stefan it was important to go and not go into the snow during the night.
I told Stefan I would be back the next day with No pressure but just to offer a ride if he needed it. That I would not try to force him to do anything he did not want to but that I would take him somewhere where they could help him if he wanted.
Albert told me he really liked my coat and told me story about a coat he bought his wife once kind of like it with his gambling money. Stefan liked it too. They liked how it feels too, as they touched just the very edges of the sleeve. Albert told me he thinks I am a ray of sunshine every time I come visit. I thanked him. he went to say that when they all sit around and talk all they do is smoke, talk about what they scored in the way of pints and cuss. But when I visit we talk about family and books and life and he really liked that. I told him I did too. He told me he loved me, I told I loved him too!
We started to say our goodbyes and I said I would be back the next day to see if they needed anything and I shot Stefan a little look of support, he shyly smiled back. Albert said he wouldn’t let him go. And told me how much these two guys meant to him as he sat there flanked by Stefan and Lump. He said they argue a lot but they always get over it. That no matter what none of the arguments mattered. Lump said most the time he would wake up and just forget it all. They know that they are family and have to support each other even if they do fight cuz no matter what there are always disputes you just have to get over it.
Sound advice, now I just need to really listen to it and incorporate it into my own life and a deep and real level. Thank you gentlemen!