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.



Two Steps Forward - Six Steps Back

It never fails...just as life seems to correct itself and your smile returns, boom.

Awoke this morning and settled to read the morning paper. After a few minutes, with the silence of our house, I heard this insistent whine. I explored.

A burst water line. The main from the street where it enters our home, slightly underground, like this:

Sigh....called the plumbers. I made sure to find the most expensive company in our area. (it's a joke, laugh.) They said they'd arrive in their own good time.

Welcome to my day.