#19 A person of Interest

Matthew 11:28-30  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Quote from my dear friend Brandee,  who I call my blanket friend, she is always a comfort to me and I am not sure why......... the scripture above is her facebook status at the moment and for some reason ........it just "fit" 

We were traveling along 95N coming home from a nice Easter weekend with my daughter, grandchildren and her extended military family & friends.  We had been beach combing, visited a favorite restaurant, had an egg hunt, a great Easter dinner, family time, video games and an overall fun visit.  I had a new book to read, (The Glass Castle) and we were headed to our favorite outlet stores on N95.

We had had a near miss with a "wide load" that was traveling south on the road not too far before this. We even dialed 911 to alert police as an accident was sure to happen if this "wide load" did not do something differently. It was 1/2 way in our lane and we literally had to run off the side of the road to avoid a head on collision. After saying a quiet prayer and thanking God for our safety I kept my eyes peeled on the road instead of the book I had been trying to read previously.

We had been to the outlet and stocked up on some goodies from the dollar bins for Faith and a few things for the Grandkids and then traveled over to JR's and got some Jeans, Shorts, shirt and more for the hubby.  They racked up this trip.  I didn't find anything I needed this trip except a metal grater due to the fact that my daughter had given me a few things that i would have otherwise bought at JRS for my kitchen. 

There he was. He was standing on the side of the road with his wooden walking stick. He was an older man, in his 60's at least with a duffel bag standing at the exit or entrance of 95 north. His face was red, it was hot outside, maybe in the high eighties? He had his "thumb out."

I hollered......"stop" lets pick him up. My husband looked at me with quizzical eyes, "you want to pick him up?" "Yes, he is old, it is hot, pick him up." We stopped the car and he came over, hobbling and got in the car.

He started speaking immediately......... quickly.......... and said he knew there was a truck stop just up the road at exit 264, the person that let him off told him about. If we could take him there he would ask a truck driver to get him to West Va. He had a 'story' he had been to Georgia to see his daughter and his daughter went to West VA to see him. He didn't have a cell phone and his truck broke down. The towing company was going to charge him $150 and he only had $148 and couldn't get it fixed.........his daughters husband was killed in Iraq and his wife of 40 years died last year.............and there was more...........lots more.........
he had diabetes and we immediately confirmed that by seeing his mottled purple legs......... we knew exactly what that looked like from our family members that have the same condition.

We offered a bus ticket and some water and some food. For each item we offered he had a reason we could not or should not give it to him. We went to the truck stop and I went in and bought him some water and some peanuts (the big bag) and brought them out to him on the bench he had parked himself on. He said he could have gotten water in the bathroom for free (he had been doing this since wednesday, it was now sunday) and could not eat the peanuts (his teeth were broken and brittle). There was not a bus station in our path that you could actually buy a ticket, we would have to back track 3 stops and he didn't want us to do that.

We all wanted to help him, we had no cash (my husband is NEVER separated from his cash and I NEVER have any) this was odd in itself that he left his "cash" behind in his pocket in the dirty clothes. In the 8 years that I have been with him this has NEVER happened before. My husband wanted to buy him these things , but we would have to charge them. The man, whose name we never caught, said no but if we had spare change he could use some for his pocket. We told him we didn't have any cash, so he would not let us help him.

My husband found this strange.......the man would take some "spare change" but not the items we offered. My husband was suspicious of this and asked me if I was as well,  I was not. The blue eyes I saw were clear, bright and sincere. He did not smell of alcohol, "skunk" or of anything else for that matter.......

I think he may have been an angel, maybe he was some kind of test......... I don't know? We have given people things, money, rides, helping hand in the past but never had someone in so much need DENY our help........... ALL OF IT except the ride.

We drove away and down the road I told my husband my thoughts. He looked at me, cocked his head and said "thats funny, that is exactly what I told the cashier inside the store, cuz ya never know."   I am not sure the lesson I was supposed to learn from this adventure , if any......... but I am sure there are angels among us.

(Please ignore the "angles" spelling..........the song and lyrics are perfect even if the spelling isn't)


#17 Sidewalk Sister

Today I met this little chipmunk.......  the other day  I met this duck above....... on the sidewalk  coming and going from class. I also met a baby bird and its mother.  I saw this a few feet in front of me today.   I witnessed the most amazing event along with another student.  A girl much younger than myself.  She was coming I was going and we both tried to rescue the same baby bird that was separated from its family and on the sidewalk.  It was in the line of fire of the footsteps in the transition time.  We connected and were both making sure that we cornered the baby so it would go in the grass to its mom, dad and 3 little siblings.  The Mom? was on "alert" and was calling out to its baby and was pacing around trying to get "him" back frantically.  The Dad? was calm and keeping the other 3 together several yards away.  

The baby was hidden in the grass and we ventured further into the grass .......leading the baby to safety and back to his family.   Then something very special event happened........the mom positioned herself in our line of sight and pretended to be injured flailing herself around to get our attention as to protect her baby from us, she wasn't sure what we were doing.  It was the most amazing thing to see. 

I met this girl, the student at JTCC today and don't know her name , but we both shared this amazing thing.............and then she said "look at that chipmunk, he is looking right at you." I got into the chipmunk and my camera phone and she went to class.  

Thanks for the unforgettable experience today,  my friend.  Next time I need to take YOUR picture :)


#16 Amanda

 "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understandings with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints in our heart, and we are never ever the same" Flavia Weedn

I walked into the room with you and we were peering into the steel bars that was my son's crib in the hospital.  He had pneumonia and was in Chippenham Hospital under an oxygen tent most of the time.  I met your Mom in the lounge. There was actually a room at the end of the hall that I could go sit in and smoke or read or what ever it was that I wanted to do in there. Sit.Stare.Share.Glare.  She said she had a daughter here that was sick, had Anorexia.  It was 1985 or 1986 at the time.

My son was a baby and you were 19.  You didn't weigh too much more than him.  You were shockingly skinny and didn't look a thing like the picture your mom showed me that was only 2 years ago when you graduated from High School.  I didn't know what Anorexia even was when I met you.

I was skinny then.......very skinny.  A size 1 at the most.  People asked me if I was "anorexic" I didn't know if they were kidding or serious half of the time.   Weight dropped off of me even though I had not long ago given birth to my son.  I dabbled in things that gave me energy then.........I had 3 children and my husband worked "B" shift. 3-11.  I raised those kids by myself, had pets and babysat, not to mention "rebated" many hours a day. (couponing by snail mail, no electronics) and sent real letters and coupons and mail in rebates daily.  I was busy, sugar, caffeine and ephredra along with nicotine and any other no-doze type thing that I could find to do was what I did.   BUT I ATE MEALS TOO.........I lost weight and never starved myself of nutrients nor chemical.

There you were.  You wouldn't swallow vitamins "because they had hidden calories." and "Lettuce" was your drug of choice.  You cried for them to take out the IV's as they had to restrain you to keep you from ripping them out.   Days past and you were allowed to walk down the hall with your pole.  You wanted to, you wanted to exercise those calories off.  They wanted you to build some muscle back.  You had atrophied.

You were 19,  I was 23 or 24.........I was skinny but .......you were about 77 lbs and dying.   I asked you if you wanted to hold him and you smiled and nodded, "yes."  I handed him to you and you held him close to your heart and he smiled.  It was beautiful yet very very sad.  I smiled from within............until your Mom appeared at the door........horrified.........."NOOOOOOOOOO" she said.  then quietly sad, "she will drop him her muscles can't take the weight.  He is a baby, he trusts that no one will drop him."  She began to cry and took my son from her arms.

I couldn't help but be sad that this girl , this young girl, would never have children.  Her muscles and female organs had shut down along with her kidneys.  This had been going on for too long.

The next day the waiting room was empty.  I didn't see her mom, I thought she must be feeling bad about what happened. I didn't bother them until the next day ,  I went down the hall to find you ......the room was empty..........you went home.



#15 Timmy Norwood : I wanted to say Hello before I said Good-Bye.

Timmy Norwood :  RIP 4/3/11  Photo Credit:  Deb McCormick
I didn't mean to write about people as they leave this earth, but I want to write "the memories before I forget" as my Aunt Joan would say.  It is a stark reminder, a jolt, a shock when someone you "used to know" leaves the earth before you have a chance to say goodbye to them.

Yesterday, my phone was on the charger, my cell phone, so I don't answer it while it is charging because the last phone I had cost me $75 to replace under warrenty for doing that , so I let it ring last night.......... I noted that it was Debbie and I would call her back when the phone charged.   Then I got a text from her right after that and I could press a button and read it............ OMG.............. tears from Debbie............Timmy Norwood passed away.........details later............. son not taking it well..........and frankly .......... no one is taking it well.   He was the class of 78, so I am assuming he was 51 now or round about 2 years older than me.

It is not appropriate for me to remember Timmy..........without remembering the Cassette Tape Player / Stereo in his car and the music we shared everyday.  Most of my memories of Timmy are not complete without a song ........ so ........ you have to listen as you read this post to "get it." 

What a great friend he was to me in school.  He drove to school everyday and many days I rode with him in that green car he had.  We became close that way....... on the drive from Courthouse Rd. to Clover Hill High School for 2 years ......listening to music and sometimes catching a buzz. I make no excuses we were dysfunctional, rural, tight knit group of timeless friends.  It was the70's after all

We listened to music and deadened our senses and made special bonds that would last a lifetime, all while just trying to endure what hands we had been dealt, each different digits of the same hand.  Some of those tunes come to mind today,  "Lynard Skynard"  *Freebird and "Led Zepplin's *Stairway to Heaven ........ both are the first that come to mind......... As I heard the news today..........  We lived in a special time, I know that when I look back on it nostalgically.  We lived in a small town where just about everyone was your friend, or at least a friend of a friend.  We lived in a time when certain bonds tied us that are not duplicated in the culture of our children , unfortunately.  It is and was "Timeless"...... as I told that to my friend Debbie, who has certainly now added a new dimension to that word through her photographs.  They are "our" photographs....... and our music and our love that helped us make it through the day......     I am reminded of that when I look thru my memories that I have of spending time with you Timmy Norwood.

Its funny.........the last time I actually saw you I was working in Kmart, doing a reset for a merchandising company......... in the paint aisle.  I heard the voices of two of my favorite people ,  Ricky B.   & Timmy Norwood over the paint cans.  They were goofing off, laughing and talking and I recognized my friends.  I said hello and got some nice warm smiles and hugs and we all said we would get "together soon." Timmy told me I needed to come over and we could all cook on the grill or something and I agreed, said it sounded like fun , exchanged numbers and never did.

A while back I watched you and your family from "afar" stalking you through cyberspace? I guess that is what its called?  I made friends with your wife, Holly who you had introduced to me in a bowling alley many years ago  and your beautiful  step-daughter Erika and asked about you.  They said you were "fine" and I became fast friends with them both, having alot in common with them both and fell in love with Holly and have a working relationship with Erika.  While I stayed in touch with them through facebook.......  I lost touch with you.  I did see some pictures of you once at a Fourth of July Cookout with your family and friends.

You looked good, but I heard you were not doing that well, and you had to go to the hospital, I sent prayers and positive thoughts your way and asked Rusty to let you know we were thinking about you.  I hoped you would join us all on Facebook or that I would hear that you were doing much better after that but I never did........... :(

I wish that we had made the time to have that cookout and all get together way back when.  I wish that I had reconnected with Holly sooner and we had gotten together to cook up a meal together and maybe play cards or something.  They say that they "didn't see it coming" and  your son in law found you there in your room ......... that you had already been gone a day at least........I mourn for your family, I mourn for your friends that knew you now. They say you are now "at peace" and that's a good thing.   

I just wish that I had gotten the chance to say Hello again to you before you said "Goodbye"