Thursday, July 26, 2012

ROW80 DAY17 NOTES FROM NEBRASKA


I'm not very good at coming up with titles, catchphrases or any of that kind of thing. I tend to label something according to its contents and leave it at that. I hope that the things that are memorable are the contents themselves, not the label. If I had to depend on labels I would have disappeared into a fog of forgetfulness ages ago; I don't have a spectacularly memorable name. The one saving grace is that my name is the same as the one who bore Jesus. That's good enough for me.

Anyway, notes from Nebraska can kind of be a semi-recurring thing. Stuff happens here, has happened, or is about to happen. Imagine that. Nowhere else in the world does any of that go on. Well, I was thinking about this and I'll get to that in a moment, but first I ran across something that just amused me mightily:


I made this all by myself, from memory. My father had this "business card" that he lugged around in his wallet for as far back as I remember, up until he passed on; it was in his effects when he died. He would pull his business card out with glee and cackle over it every so often and then squirrel it away again. He was one of those people that you laughed along with. He told awful jokes, stunningly bad stories, but had one of those laughs. My mother used to holler along with him and then just stop and say, "but, that's not funny," and start laughing again. Actually, it was. They were both hysterical. I was the straight man in the outfit.

So, I thought of this because of some bonehead on Facebook who got caught doing some pinheaded thing, AGAIN, and I thought, "well, ya dumshit!" hmm. I learned that from my daddy. Understand something. Being very good Scots, my parents had me swearing at a very early age. Not just the h-e-double-hockey-sticks swears, oh no, we went whole hog. The first time I said "shit" I was probably seven. No one ran around saying "um, Mary's not supposed to say shit is she? Shit's a bad word isn't it? I'm good, because I don't say shit," and so on. Besides, who were my parents going to tell? Each other? No, it was a day of pride. Little Mary said her first dirty word.

Well, it wasn't quite a day for celebration, but I didn't go to the wood shed either; they pretty much just ignored it. I was warned not to unleash my newfound vocabulary in the school yard or the classroom. Didn't want to get notes and calls from those assholes now, did we? Just kidding. Nevertheless, it is true, that there is a European's tolerance of profanity that is not generally shared by Americans, but when in Rome, do, blah blah. I appreciate that and try to not inflict vulgarity on tender ears. I can be a salty bitch.

Time to jump the tracks and I'll try to behave. It has been brought to my attention that there is going to be a new homeless center built about 2 blocks from where I am living. There are 2 churches close by here who feed the homeless, one of them feeds once a week and the other feeds 3 times a day, but people who eat at that church are required to go to one of their services. At 45 minutes a service, that's not too painless. Those 2 churches are north of me. The new center which will have no church affiliation is 2 blocks south. Ground has not yet been broken, so it will be some time before there are any people helped there.

Several people around here have told me that "there will be homeless people all over the place! It will be terrible!" The implication being that the homeless will be sleeping under the trees, in doorways, in the trees, under cars, peeing behind buildings, in short, pretty much what they are doing now. I looked at the people who were saying this. I get it. I'm kind of afraid and I see fear in their eyes. Should we draw ourselves in? Pull up the drawbridge? Man the ramparts?

Instead, I said, "hey guys. We've been there. They have to be somewhere; some of them are here. It'll be okay; we'll make 'em feel wanted. It won't be terrible. It's not now, is it?" The problem is? We've all been through so goddamned much. We all thought none of any of this could ever happen to any of us. And it did. And when we thought it would stop, it didn't. For some of us, it just keeps on coming. We're afraid this might be more of it. But it really isn't. It's an opportunity; for us and for those homeless out there that think nobody wants them and nobody cares.


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