Friday, October 12, 2007

Car Ride to Oppression

Stopped at Merl's Diner for breakfast this morning. It is getting to be a habit that I can't really afford. Was eating my breakfast and sipping my orange juice as I read this month's Model Railroader. Clara came walking in and took a seat at my booth. It was good to see her.

"That sleeping bag keeping you warm?" I asked.

"Almost too warm," she replied. "I started sweating last night."

It got down to 42 degrees last night -- the coldest night of this new fall. Perfect football weather for tonight I noted. I carefully looked over Clara and noticed the blue bags of skin under her eyes. She looked so tired and seemed threadbare.

"I emailed that women's shelter in Columbus and they said they have a bed available," I told her.

"I know," Clara said. "But I will give up my freedom to live there. Everyone I know lives here in the Valley and all my family is here."

"It is going to get really cold next month."

"I'll survive," she said unenthusiastically as if she wasn't sure of herself.

I ordered Clara some breakfast and we sat and talked for awhile longer. She told me tales of her childhood growing up in Birmingham, Alabama.

"I was so strange as a child," she told me with a weak smile.

"Me and you are a lot a like except for our gender differences."

Me saying that really perked Clara up and she felt she had finally found someone who understood her.

We finally finished our meals and I paid. As I was walking out the door, Clara turned to me to ask if I would give her a ride to Columbus and the Rescue Mission. And I said I would.

"Only as a last resort," Clara said with a fierce determination as she left me to walk back to the shopping center to drink beer and smoke cigarettes.

I can't say I don't blame her. Those missions are dire places to be -- full of desperate people at the end of their ropes. I wish I had a magic wand I could wave to change Clara's life, but I don't. All I can offer is a car ride to an even more oppressed life than she lives.


Beautifully Profound said...

You're a good friend to her Andrew.

Stacy said...

You are such a kind friend.
Did you get your camera?

Lori said...

Wouldn't that be great if we could just fix people's lives? I do think that being a good friend to her can make all the difference, though, as corny as it sounds.

C. R. Morris said...

I can offer prayer. I too wish I could just fix the lives of those around me that I see suffering. We are living with my inlaws right now and though I appreciate all that they have given up for us, I still would feel better in a tent somewhere "on my own." I have children, however, and that wouldn't be right for them. But I do understand not wanting to give up freedom. :-(

Anonymous Boxer said...

I wish I had a magic wand too.

CJM-R said...

Love your new profile. So true. People are so much more than a labels.

jane said...

your kindness and empathy to clara is beautiful - we all ought to be less judgmental and more caring.

Broken-Heart said...

nice one mate

do visit my blog too


If only all of us had a could be so pleasant then, wouldn't it?
How about that camera? Are you chewing at the bit anxiously waiting for it? I know I'd be...waiting and I have a hard time cohabitating. :)

justLacey said...

I suppose we all are living somewhat oppressed lives.

Lynx217 said...

hey btw nice blog set up.

opression comes with life :(

Cheryl said...

Do you still have a tab at Rodger's Barbecue? I remember many a wonderful meal eaten there and the pictures that went along with them.

I know you wish you could make Clara's life better. You already do.

Pen and the Sword said...

Yes, but your friendship, buying her a decent meal, checking on a warm place to stay if the going should get any tougher... those actions speak louder than words.

You are a wonderful friend, Andrew. I hope Clara realizes how lucky she is that you are so kind to her.

Happy weekend to you. Hope you get your camera soon. I liked that one video you posted with the train ;o)

Leann said...

My question is the same, what happened to the open tab at the diner so you could eat?

You are a good listener and friend to those society has pushed to the edges Andrew.

Mr. Antagonist said...

I am very impressed with your writing and your blog. Sorry to gush, but I really enjoyed reading this post.

::::wifemothermaniac:::: said...

I end up on your blog periodically using the blogspot next button, and I'm touched by your stories each time. Thank you for sharing :)

Tee said...

I too would like to have a magic wand! You have already helped Clara, you are a friend to her.

Jbeeky said...

I love the title and the tie in at the end of the story. Wel lwritten, Andrew!

A said...

Must be heavy can't help someone you care.

Hey, check HP. There is a great desktop you can get for $1,000 with tax and 19" widescreen monitor (The m9000t series)


Portia said...

i would think that sleeping bag changed her life. and so could a ride to the shelter, if she takes it. it's very kind.
mades a very nice post, too. the dialogue is so natural.
i hope the weekend's going well:)


How's your weekend now? Is all well?

Summer said...

Good Morning Andrew. I hope you're cooking one of your yummy Sunday breakfasts!

Lolly said...

Great writing! I see you've been blogging for almost 4 years. I'll be back.

PipeTobacco said...


I hope that things are ok as it is atypical for you to not write on the weekends. I am presuming you may be:

1. Putting together a new computer that you may have purchased.

2. Working with your camera that may be involving a new photography blog of some sort.


3. Just having fun doing something else.


simonsays said...

Just stopping by to say "hey" and hoping that all is well this morning in your world. :)

Barb said...

Dear Andrew,

Thinking of you, hope you are well enjoying this day. Let us know you are well.