Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cold Morning Dawns

The mornings have grown so cool. This morning's walk was downright cold. Lonely, I passed by the convenience store and walked in. My favorite clerk was just preparing to get off his shift. "Crazy night," he told me. "The drunks were out in force." I chuckled as I listened to him tell the story of one drunk man who brought a case of beer to the counter, but didn't have any money. "The guy thought I would give it to him," the clerk said. "I shooed him off and put the beer back up."

I left the convenience store and walked through downtown. To my right was Tawanna's Art and Frame Shop. The very same shop I would have taken art lessons if my father would have helped me with them. I stood and looked in the window and saw a painting by Tawanna of a Chattahoochee Valley locomotive. I set a goal to be able to buy that painting after starting work.

To my left was that beautiful fountain gurgling relentlessly this cold morning. It almost seemed as if the water would freeze it being so cold. I walked over, took a seat, and smoked a cigarette. The morning's first cars and trucks busily moved around the square. I wondered if they were headed to early Sunday school. The water serenaded me as I sat there.

As I walked home, I thought about life and it's meaning. One callous commenter wrote on my blog that life's a bitch and then you die. I want to think life is far kinder than that. Such quotes are for the defeated and misled. If life truly is a bitch then I don't want to live it. My life has already been hard enough. Homelessness. Drunken debauchery. Schizophrenia. I've had my fair share of troubles. I'm ready to take a ride down easy street.

I have also been thinking earnestly about starting work. It is such a scary proposition. I tackle most things with aplomb the first few weeks, but will soon grow tired of going. I pray I won't do that if I get a job. It almost makes me afraid to even try. I also worry about having another anxiety attack at work. That would be terribly terrifying. I have had far less attacks when not drinking, though.

Mom and me had a wonderful night out to eat. We both agreed it went by too fast. We wanted to savor the moment. Mom got the baked catfish fillets and I got the baby ribeye steak cooked medium. It was truly delicious. This restaurant is in the middle of nowhere, but didn't lack in patrons. The restaurant soon filled up after mom and me arrived.

Well, let me get ready for a 10 AM A.A. meeting. I need a meeting badly having some money in my pocket. I had drinking dreams last night and woke up craving alcohol. This alcoholism is truly relentless and will probably be the death of me yet. I don't know if I can struggle and resist the urge to drink much longer.



Saluti dall'Italia!

Anonymous said...

In 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from 3 months to 7 years; their sister was 2. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.

Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.

Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beat-ings, but no food either.

If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old '51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck.

The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job.

Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until 7 in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good
arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money -- fully half of what I averaged every night. As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage.

The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana, I wondered?

I made a deal with the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids.

I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry, too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe.

A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at 7 on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's
side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat.

Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries.

There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.

And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop ..

THE POWER OF PRAYER. I believe that God only gives three answers to prayer:

1. "Yes!"
2. "Not yet."
3. "I have something better in mind."

God still sits on the throne; the devil is a liar. You may be going through a tough time right now, but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that you cannot imagine.

Anonymous said...

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton's Prayer

PipeTobacco said...


Moderation is the key to success.

Please recall those words in whatever path your life takes this day. You seem to be approaching life with a bit more of the "moderation" theme... just do not let any instances of the all-or-nothing thinking hamper your success. If you live with the expectation of doing all things moderately, you chances of success are far, far greater than any variant that is filled with extremes.


Anonymous said...

If there's a will, there's a way. U have been doing well so far, continue to press on :)

mapiprincesa! said...

Anonymous 1960, you made me cry.

PipeTobacco, again you are correct in your diagnosis of moderation.

Andrew, I believe that, through the choices we make, we create our own heavens and/or our own hells here on Earth. We all must take each moment of each day as a step. God knows that some of these steps go backwards, but it is our decision to continue to face forward and our responsibility to try again. Positive energies, be them through prayer, attention, comments left on a blog or merely a smile and a nod in acknowledgement of another's existence can do wonders to push each of us along when we don't feel capable of continuing forward. You are not alone. Continue to write. Continue to share. Embrace each step forward you can take, but don't be afraid to look back--you may indeed surprise yourself at how far you have come, how much you have learned about yourself and your world. As always, I wish you peace.

Summer said...

Pipe is full of wisdom for all of us.

Andrew... Did your father change his mind about paying for your art lessons?

Josie Two Shoes said...

I am so glad that you had a nice dinner with your mother, such times are to be savored and remembered in years to come. If that money is burning a hole in your pocket (and your head), I hope you dumped it into the basket at the meeting. No need to spend your energy playing with temptation. You are strong enough to resist if you want to!

I don't buy that "life's a bitch and then you die" philosophy at all, though I've heard it often. Yup, life sure isn't easy for most of us, but there are the good times, the really wonderful times, no matter how brief, and the friendships - that make it all worthwhile. Count your blessings every day, make a list of them - it helps me to stay focused on the good! Wishing you a mellow Sunday, and a good week coming up!

Anonymous said...

"Mom and me had a wonderful night out to eat. We both agreed it went by too fast. We wanted to savor the moment. Mom got the baked catfish fillets and I got the baby ribeye steak cooked medium. It was truly delicious. This restaurant is in the middle of nowhere, but didn't lack in patrons. The restaurant soon filled up after mom and me arrived."

Shouldn't it be Mom and I?

CJM-R said...

Just checking in...glad to see you still on the road to recovery. No matter what, please don't let the absence of a dollar in your pocket keep you from those meetings. It is not about the money. Your presence is a far greater gift to all.

Love to see how much you are thinking about your future.

Take care,

Barb said...

Interesting responses, from heart felt, to prayerful, to affirming, but always are there comments of criticism~ Why do people always feel the need to criticize something about you? Remember you are a friend to many of us, you are free to sift through the comments, take from them what you want and blow the rest away.

Kelly Jene said...

I think the more determined you are to do well at a prospective job, the more you will succeed. You are doing so good and getting yourself prepared, I have no doubt you will find success. You will also find that painting in your home before you know it!