Autumn

Autumn

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Urban Camper's Survival Kit

It was a simple request, still it made her cry.

A few days ago I'd watched an older lady leave the park, which is located across the street from my business, stroll down the street with plastic shopping bags tied around her feet. My first thought was, how sad.

With this Florida heat our streets and sidewalks are hot enough to fry eggs, at least sunny-side up.

There are many urban campers, homeless, that use the restroom facilities, such as they are, and sleep in the park. I notice dozens weekly. They make it a habit of knocking on my door to ask for handouts or request the use of my restroom or telephone and always, cash. I seldom give cash. Still, I feel for them - regardless of the poor life decisions that slapped the poor souls into their condition.

The evening of the old lady's walk I came home and in the quiet of our routine made mention of what I'd seen. I should have known better. Her first words were, "Oh, my Lord, that poor poor woman."

Then, her eyes grew moist and she cried silent tears. I felt like punching myself. Anyway, I then asked if she had a pair of old flip-flops. That perhaps I'd see the woman the next day and hand over the standard footwear of heat prone Florida.

Sweet Wife, "I'll do better than that. They need a care package. I'll drive over to Wal-Mart tomorrow."

"Sweetheart, please don't get carried away with this. All I want is an old pair of flip-flops."

Her, "Don't worry about it. Those poor people."

I came home the next afternoon to find this:


Sweet Wife explained how she decided to put together care packages, survival kits, for the homeless. Each one gallon bag contains; a new toothbrush with cap, wet wipes, five medicated band-aides, a new bar of soap and soap container, a tube of toothpaste, razor, combs, and two small travel bottles of baby shampoo, a small bottle of body lotion, and deodorant. She also purchased a set of three washcloths and a small towel which she laundered and placed in separate bags.

She built two sets, two for men and the rest for women...oh, and she included feminine hygiene articles for the ladies.






She didn't forget my request for those flip-flops. She purchased a set for each bag.


My lovely dear wife is a very compassionate person. She feels your pain. She lives a Christian life and I should have known better than to open my mouth, but you know what...I can live with it. The cost wasn't much at all when I think about the money I spend on books and firearms related items.

Sweet Wife's instructions to me are simple. Keep the baggies in my shop and when my doorbell rings and I find someone in need, help them. Who knows, perhaps this simple gesture of kindness, from my wife, will help someone fight their way back from the pits of hell. These people live a hard life. That small bar of soap and a new pair of flip-flops just might shove them towards hope.

She also said she'd better not see the old lady with bags wrapped around her feet or my life won't be worth a plugged nickle.

I'll search the park tomorrow.

Stephen



   

49 comments:

  1. You sir, have a gem of a wife.

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    1. I am reminded of that fact everyday of my life. I thank God he pushed us together. She has certainly changed me for the better. Thanks, my friend.

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  2. Dude....that brought tears to my eyes....My best to you and your Missus....

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    1. Thank you, my friend. And best you and yours.

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  3. Wonderful lady!

    And you are wise to not give out cash. Or your phone number, or your address. Etc. The homeless are often so because of mental quirks, large or small, that prevent them from functioning normally. Sometimes you don't realize it until you talk to them for a bit.

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    1. Many do indeed have mental health issues. They're pretty easy to spot. Most nose dive into the bottle, some, especially the younger women have drug problems. All, are children of God. I feel for 'em. Thanks, my friend, not only for your kindness but the sound advice.

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  4. Replies
    1. A good shower and shave makes us all feel good. Thanks, my friend.

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  5. Obviously married a fine woman Stephen . . .!

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  6. Kind heartedness speaks volumes about your wife and you.

    I am also interested in if it marks you for further panhandling as well though. Keep us advised if you would.

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  7. True Christian charity at work!

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  8. OMG! I did nearly the same thing! But instead of wet wipes (which I stupidly never thought of til I read your list) I put a wet washcloth into a smaller ziplock bag, and added a small towel! *now I feel like such an idiot!*

    (I also have dry dog food handy for the ones with a loyal animal following them.)

    I keep all of it in the back seat of my car.

    Your wife deserves a husband like you, because I know you're a pushover if you see a need, and you were truly blessed with her.

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    1. She's an angel for sure, and yes, I am blessed to have her as my best friend and wife. Thank you very much, my sweet friend.

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  9. Your wife has a great soul. That is a gift that is pretty rare.

    Of course, you knew this. ;-)

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    1. I do indeed know she has a gentle soul. Thanks, my friend. And, hey, be safe out there on your new bike.

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  10. When in Kissimmee we had the regular homeless. You can only do so much. A group of about 6 took over a lynx bus stop, the buses wouldn't even stop. The Sheriff came out and told them to move along. Few weeks later they trashed the same bus stop, garbage everywhere. Beer cans, empty cases of beer, booze bottles in the bushes, take out food bags, etc. It took over a hour for 2 employees of a contractor to clean the whole thing down even power washing. After awhile they would start talking to be like they knew me because we walked a lot. I called them the "Homeless Elite"

    I'm glad some can get some kind of help.

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    1. Thanks, Rob. There are the good, and the bad. We'll let God sort 'em out.

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  11. You really do have a sweet wife.

    Behind your gruff exterior, you ain't so bad either.

    Most people won't admit to themselves how easy it is to end up on the street. A bad decision, some unlucky breaks, and there you are.

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    1. Indeed, in the blink of an eye there for God's grace go I. Take care and thanks, my friend.

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  12. Man, I hope the world doesn't beat a path to your doorstep. Homeless folks have a good underground network, like hobo's did in the twenties and thirties. The word spreads fast. I can see the headlines:

    Local Man trampled to death by homeless mob when supplies run out.

    I stopped and got a turtle out of the road today before somebody came along and ran over it for the hell of it. That's about the limit on my good deeds, I guess.

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    1. Trust me, Harry, I will not post signs and hand these sacks out willy-nilly. I'll pick and choose. Maybe I'll hold a swap your gun for a bath day.

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  13. Helluva idea, and kudos to BOTH of you for helping out. Thank you!

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    1. I'm just the delivery boy. She's the brains in the outfit. Thanks, my friend.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thanks, Dragon, and welcome. The coffee is always fresh and hot.

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  15. Sometimes it is good to remember the saying " there but for the Grace of God go I ". You might have to help 50 of those people before you finally find one who truly, deeply appreciates it. The other 49 will just want more, then more. I don't have the patience, or the good heart. Bless your Sweet Wife.

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    1. Very true. I'm sure you've more patience than you let on, and I know you've a good heart. Thanks, my friend.

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  16. There really are angels on earth, and you my friend are married to one. Bless you both.

    Steve

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    1. Thank you, Steve. Sadly my halo is a bit tarnished.

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    2. Nothin a little steel wool and elbow grease can't fix.

      Steve

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  17. About 8 years ago I was homeless.
    I lived in a little tent behind a K-Mart in Asheville, NC.
    I did not drink, I did not have a drug or other substance abuse problem.I am not (and was not) mentally ill.
    I lived there for around 5 months until I worked my way out of it.
    Shit happens people, sometimes when you least expect it.
    While homeless, instead of whining about my situation, I started a non-profit for the homeless in Asheville.
    www.ashevillehomeless.org

    We raised money not just for *care packages* like your sweet wife put together, but we also handed out bus passes, refurbished bicycles, bought cheap cell phones (and minutes), etc.
    What most people don't realize is that many of the people you see working minimum wage jobs are homeless. Working homeless.
    I knew people that worked at fast food places, Wal-Mart, etc that after work, instead of going home to a nice warm house/apt, they went *home* to a tent, abandoned building or maybe a car. Sometimes a shelter, but shelters can be dangerous...and expensive. The Salvation Army shelter in Asheville charged 30 bucks a week per person. Doesn't sound like a lot...does it? But then again...if it is a husband and wife with a kid or two...it adds up. Plus, they don't have the facilities for families to stay together and children cannot stay in the mens section.
    AND...you could only stay for 30 days.
    Being homeless sucks.
    What your wife did will make it suck less for quite a few people.

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    1. Sweet Lamb, I'm so sorry you had to deal with a tough stretch of life. You've changed my view of the homeless forever. Thank you, and God bless.

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  18. Stephen,
    Please convey to SW she did a beautiful thing by putting together these blessing bags for the homeless. Each bag will be deeply appreciated by those in need.
    God Bless SW!!!!!

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    1. I will....thank you, my lovely friend.

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  19. You both are amazing people! Thanks for sharing the story, and for walking the walk!

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    1. Izzy, she's the amazing one....I'm just an standard model guy lucky enough to have her as a companion in life. Thanks, my sweet friend.

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  20. Hopefully the recipients will be able to 'pay it forward' someday.I believe a kindness, no matter how small, never goes unnoticed. Sweet Wife and you are very special people.

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    1. I agree on the pay if forward...but, I'll not hold my breath. Sweet Wife is special...I'm just along for the ride. Thanks, my lovely friend.

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  21. What a amazing wife you have Stephen :)

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    1. She is indeed. Thanks, my sweet friend.

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  22. dear sweet one...you know how i feel about you and your sweet wife. this just confirms it. thank you both so much. i can only imagine that one of those unfortunate people could be my child...thank you for helping them.

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. You're more than welcome, my sweet kymber.

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  23. I would imagine that you will get many more who will try to get more from you. However, if you hold fast and don't open your wallet, they will get tired of asking.

    I read a blog where a woman was putting together packages of food as homemade MREs for her family when they had to bug out to the road or the woods. She said she was making a few more in case they met "some good Christian people" on the road. I was horrified to think she would question and judge whether people could have food or not according to their status as Christians or unbelievers. You and your wife are doing it right--giving to those who need with no questions.

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