1 01 2011

My 2010:

  1. In January, we lost a good friend and a great man when my step-father ( who was like a father to me) passed away.
  2. In February, I lost my job. For the second time in as many years.
  3. We had to trade in our nearly new Honda Civic for a used (but paid for) rattling, scratched, rust-bucket of a Mazda Tribute. ( It could always be worse, though – for now, it’s still running.)
  4. We put our house up for sale again, but there’s little hope we’ll even get an offer.
  5. I suffered from what I realize now was some fairly serious bouts of depression.
  6. I fished only three or four times all year. ( For much of my adult life, I’ve fished every other weekend, and then some…)
  7. I’ve gained nearly 50 pounds. I eat when I’m sad. So, I’ve had alot of excuses to go around for that.
  8. I’m very, very close to my mother….and find that I’m feeling more and more as if I’m just too far away from her, especially now that she’s alone. ( 2.5 hour drive, roughly)
  9. My poor wife is working tons of overtime, which is keeping us afloat, but I miss her being here when she’s working late all week.

I guess to some folks that have it worse, this would seem to be just whining. Maybe most of those points are a little whiny – but I can’t tell you how losing my step-dad devastated our family this year, and still does. And losing a job again because my employer could not afford to keep me on gave me a very helpless feeling. One that I’d felt the year before when the housing market crashed here and it happened to me the first time.  But, although it’s been a tough year for us, it could be worse. It can always be worse.

Today, in the parking lot of Best Buy where we’d been “window shopping” just for kicks, a man stopped beside us as we were cranking up the car to leave. He was wearing a camo coat which was dusty and torn, and had small boxes of very old looking clothes and other “junk” in the back of his car. None of it was in very nice shape. Neither was the man himself – you knew that just to look at him. My wife cracked her window when he spoke to us, saying “excuse me please, excuse me” in the most desperate tone I may have ever heard. His voice shook with fear or embarrassment…I could not tell which. He said that he hated to do it, but he was forced into asking…”Sir” he said, “I’m homeless and I don’t have any money for food or anything.” We said nothing, my wife looked to me. “I‘m sorry to have to ask  you, but do you have just a dollar that you might spare to help me out. I need something to eat…

I’m no sucker. I’ve seen the game that some people play on the street. “Will work for food” often means “Cash Only, Sucker.” This guy, was not one of those people. This guy was embarrased and ashamed. His face looked as if he was probably a proud, independent man at one time, now reduced to begging complete strangers for a dollar. I asked my wife if she had any cash. We frequently rely on debit cards these days and rarely have any cash at all. She flipped through some one’s and found a ten dollar bill. “I have a ten” she said. I took it from her and said, “stay here. ok…” Then I took something else from her.

I wasn’t carrying today because I’ve pulled a muscle in my back on my strong side. The weight of the Glock .40 cal was making my back hurt because of that pull so I left it at home – and I don’t mind my wife being the protector because, quite frankly, she is a much better shot than I am anyway. I slipped her G26 9mm out of her purse and into the 2 o’clock position on the inside of my jeans. It was in a small black neoprene clip holster. I made sure that my shirt did not cover the weapon, which is legal here in Georgia with a Georgia Weapons License.( I often “open carry” in a Serpa) I was walking up to a strange man who may in fact be in a more desperate situation than we knew. Was he lying? Was he going to try something? Was he mentally stable? I had no way to know. I wasn’t taking any chances. I walked around the car, even with my hand resting on the holster – the other hand outstretched with the ten in it. He absolutely almost cried. I’m not sure if it was because we were helping him, or because he was ashamed that I felt the need to make sure he knew we thought he could be a threat. He took the ten, even then after almost begging us for it, almost reluctantly. I believe he said “God bless you” four or five times before I could walk back to my side of the truck. I think by then he was crying. Sobbing with his hands on the wheel of that ratty old car. I would bet my life that those ten dollars did not go to beer or wine or drugs. I have no doubt we helped him get through the night without going to bed hungry.

I wished we could have helped him more. Would those other three dollars have made much of a difference? Now, sitting at home after having time to think about it, I’m sure they would have. At least a little. But, when that sort of thing happens, I’m always weary of being burned as I once was in Charlotte one night, for nearly $50 by, according to the people working in the steak house, people who had been caught “working” the parking lot before.

As you’ve read I’m also weary of bad guys. It’s a sad reality in the world we live in that if you intend to be safe, you can’t trust anyone you don’t know, and at times those you do know. With tough times already here, and more probably on the way – you can’t be too careful. ( If you don’t carry a weapon and are legally able to do so, I cannot stress to you enough the importance of being able to protect yourself or your loved ones when danger strikes – and it can happen anywhere, anytime…and to anyone.)

So, don’t think that the realization that it can always be worse is lost on me. I know it can. I saw it today, and tonight I wish I had done more than I did. But I also had my mind on our safety, and our own provisions. So it may be appropriate that 2010 ended like it did. On a very depressing and sour note. My hope is that we all appreciate what we have in 2011 – family, friends, jobs if you have one, faith, a roof over our heads, and a little time – and a little money to fish or hunt.

So, I do wish all of you a very Happy New Year…..but I’m very glad that 2o1o is finally, finally over.





3 responses

1 01 2011

Just WOW!!!

1 01 2011
Owl Jones

Hey Lisa! Thanks! I guess this is your first look at the new blog format! I appreciate you stopping by! 🙂

2 01 2011

I don’t blame you for wanting to punt 2010 out the back door. Also, good on you for helping out.

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