Monday, June 27, 2011

She Was Someone's Mom"

I had a couple of ideas what I was going to write about next, but something happened to me this morning and I cannot get it out of my mind.

As I mentioned before, I go to my usual quiet place for every morning. I was the only one sitting at the tables in direct view of the flat screen T.V. on the wall always set to news. What I like about that set up is it is turned on "mute" so I have to read the subtitles if I am interested. Most of the times I am not.

As I am sipping the coffee I heard the door directly behind me open from the kitchen. I recognized the manager's voice "You can stay for 30 minutes then you will have to go." I glanced over my shoulder, and just a quick second glimpse I saw all I needed to: A hopeless person with several plastic bags full of no telling what was standing there.

I continued sipping my coffee aware the person was behind me on the other side of the partition. I heard a little shuffling of the bags, but not much else. The workers behind the counter were discussing this person as if she had already left.

"Did you catch her?"

"How did she get in?"

"I don't know, but she was eating stale breakfast rolls strait from the trash.”

On and on…

A little more shuffling of the bags. I could not understand why she was just standing there, behind me. She was really in the hallway near the door. Was she ashamed to come all the way in? I did not look long enough to see what type of person she was. I thought about it, could I give her money? I did not have anything in my wallet. “Oh” I thought, “If I had a lot of money I would buy her food, take her somewhere safe where she could eat, bath, and someone could take care of her. I would ask her what drove her to that? What was her story? No doubt she would not want to talk about it.

I could not stand sitting there with her behind me. I looked at my watch. She had about 15 minutes left. I got up and went to the counter for my usual refill to go. It is so hot, I always stop by the fountain machine and cool it down with water. Then I almost bumped into her. I glanced at her hands and he had a dirty medium size soda cup with the lid and straw off. She had gotten it out of the trash behind me! That was noise I was hearing.

“I’m sorry, go ahead.” I said stepping back. My eyes were on the cup.

“No Sir, please go in front of me.” It was a quiet, very polite voice.

I topped my cup with water, put the lid on it, turned and looked into her eyes. She had warm, soft eyes. Her face was clean. A few wrinkles were around her eyes but that was just about all I noticed. Her smile was kindness but half ashamed. I backed up slightly and turning to leave I replied “Thank you, now help yourself!” knowing she was invisible to the counter employees.

I walked out to the car, hurting inside. She was about my Mom’s age! She really reminded me of an aunt I have. She did not smell. Just the glimpse I saw without staring, she looked rather clean. What happened to her? What was her story? I thought of mom who was walking down the street on the sidewalk with her suitcases in the middle of night. What if we had not saw her.? Could this be what happened to this lady? She is “Someone’s” Mom!

Then as I drive somewhere to park and finish my coffee where I can think, I thought about all the homeless people in this country. Just the other day I heard this figure and it made me sick: On a given night, an estimated 672,000 people experience homelessness. This means 22 out of every 10,000 people are homeless in America.

Now, we are fighting battles in every country BUT our own all across the globe. According to the National Defense, it is estimated in just one campaign alone, it costs us Americans $1 Billion PER DAY! How many mouths will that feed???

Ok, This page is not to be political. So I’ll get off the wagon…for now…trust me, I’ll be back.

Here’s my point. I know the restaurants can not afford to feed all the homeless, and once they start, it would never end. But couldn’t they just give her a few, before running her off? She is someone’s relative. Do they miss her? Are they looking for her? Do they care?

As I drove off, it started to rain. In just about 10 minutes, this kind looking old woman will be walking down the street soaked, no way to get out of the rain. That hurts. It will no doubt be going over and over in my mind all day.

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