Friday, November 30, 2007

Pie in the Sky for Two

"I've been cooking all morning," Joyce told me excitedly as she stood at my front door holding a pecan pie.

"Joyce," I replied with a air of scolding. "The doctors told you to take it easy."

"I couldn't help myself," she said. "I can't stand not doing anything."

"Come on inside and lets have a slice," I replied, opening my door wide as Maggie jumped up and down excitedly at having company.

The door shut with a clunk as Joyce followed me into my kitchen. I got some plates, a knife, and two forks out of my cabinets. Joyce is a wonderful cook and I couldn't wait to dig in. Pecan pie is one of my favorites. Especially when it is still warm just from the oven. This pie was made with the pecans from my backyard.

"This is delicious!" I exclaimed after the first bite.

"Brag on it for me," Joyce said with a smile as she leaned forward watching me eat the piece of pie.

"This is just as good as Dad's," I replied. "Vanilla ice cream would go great with this."

"Do you want me to go get some?"

I laughed and leaned over to give her a hug. "You just enjoy your pie," I said. "You have done enough."

It is so good to have my neighbor home. I have missed her dearly. Her house has been dark and cold looking for weeks. Now, at night, her lights are on and that porch light that brings me so much comfort shone brilliantly last night. Let's hope she will be home for Christmas. We discussed having a Christmas meal together on Christmas eve. I am making the spiced tea. Happy Holidays and things are looking up in J-ville these days. It is always great when a wayward neighbor and friend arrives home. Home Sweet Home.

A Hike and a Home

I am trying to get back into my daily habit of hiking several miles. This afternoon found me out Spring Road. The scenery out there is beautiful and these photos don't do it justice. It is hard to believe this land is only a mile from my home. I did manage to walk two miles. Not bad for a first day.




My parents just had their house repainted and spent a fortune getting it done. I hate this color and I think it is hideous. It looks like some great big pumpkin! My father loves the color though and when I get asked about it, I just say, "It certainly looks interesting."




Latent Memories

I stopped off at the convenience store this morning. My favorite clerk fronted me a cup of coffee as I am penniless.

"I'll pay you back as soon as I get some money," I told him.

"Don't worry about it," he replied with a smile. "I pour out as much as I make these days."

The coffee was wonderful on this cold morning. The temperature was right at freezing and that hot coffee warmed my numb hands.

I then sat out on the wall beside the convenience store watching people coming and going. Most were headed for work -- something so foreign to me. I thought about my life these past few years -- the life of the gilded one. Not a day goes by that I don't wake up thinking about homelessness and my own bout with it. Life seems too easy these days. I wonder when the ball is about to drop.

This morning in the predawn dark before leaving the house, I turned my heat up from 65 degrees to 78. I popped an apple Danish into the microwave for ten seconds to warm it. I wasn't taking all this for granted this morning. I thought of all the people sleeping out-of-doors on this cold morning. The huddled masses packed into Rescue Missions and shelters to sleep in warmth. People standing in line to get a meager breakfast of handouts from more affluent society. Here I was, sitting in my very warm home, eating my very easy and delicious breakfast, not deserving any of this. If it wasn't for my father, I would still be sleeping in the woods, drinking beer, and living the life of a lost one.

My neighbor, Joyce, is home.  She has been in the mental hospital for over two weeks.  I can't even imagine being gone that long.  She called me last night just to talk and we talked for over an hour. 

"I thought I would never get home," she told me.

"You sound well," I replied.

"They finally got my medications straightened out." 

"Try to take it easy these next few days," I told her.

She agreed.  She was going to watch lots of her favorite soap operas, cook good meals, and get plenty of rest. 

"I'm just glad I am no longer psychotic and paranoid."

"I can understand all too well," I replied.

There is nothing scarier that losing your mind.  Everything in life is dependant upon that big organ in your cranium. 

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Let's Sing Carols!

My neighbor's house down the street.  I love how understated this is.  It's not gaudy.  I want to decorate my house exactly like this.  I am so in the Christmas spirit.


"I couldn't find you a suitable tree," my father told me on the phone tonight.

"It's okay," I replied, disheartened.  I was hoping all day he would pull up in his pickup truck to unload a Christmas tree.

"We'll get you one, though.  I am going to check Ponder's nursery for some that are not too big. The ones in Columbus were huge!"

I hung up the phone and began to hum Jingle Bells.  I haven't been this excited about Christmas in years.  I am really channeling my youth these days and it feels good. 

 

Some Views Around Town

The view up my street looking past Joyce's home.

The view down my street.  This street is often used as a thoroughfare to the local housing projects.  The foot traffic drives Maggie crazy.

The Christmas tree on the town square.  I love the star on top and need to get a night shot. 


Our small and humble downtown that is about dead.  Many of the store fronts are empty. People prefer to drive down to another town and frequent the dreaded Wal-Mart.





Insects on Flowers



Wayward Souls

"How can you sit out all day in this cold?" I asked Slop this morning.

"You get used to it," he said. "It is better than sitting home all day and listening to my sister's kids aggravate the shit out of me."

I chuckled as I took another drag off my cigarillo.

"Seen George yet?" Slop asked.

"No," I replied. "I don't have enough gas to get to Opelika and back."

Slop is on disability like me. He says his sister is his representative payee and uses that money to take care of her five kids leaving him with nothing. He always seems to have money though and certainly isn't missing any meals. Slop must weigh 300 pounds.

"What's happening with that homeless guy you were always reading about on the web?"

"You mean Kevin?" I asked.

"Yeah, that crazy homeless guy in Nashville."

"Oh, he is still milking his readership for money and chess sets," I replied. "He just got to see his kids for the first time in seven years."

"Chess sets?" Slop asked, ignoring the rest of my reply.

"Yeah, he is playing chess now as a hobby," I replied. "Once it was poker, then knitting, then origami. He always has some hair-brained scheme to make money."

Slop burst out laughing.

"He sounds like a real character."

"I find him fascinating," I replied as I put out what was left of my cigarillo on the pavement.

I told Slop goodbye and ambled on down to the train tracks. I thought of Kevin, The Homeless Guy, and his life. He has no responsibility. No real worries other than getting his Starbucks card refilled so he can drink coffee and browse the Internet all day via wifi. He loves to portray the homeless life as hard, but those of us who have lived it know otherwise. It can be a very pleasant way of life if you just have a modicum of common sense and use your brain. I am of the firm opinion that if homelessness was so hard, then he would have never voluntarily returned to it when he left his apartment.

I finally watched a few trains and then headed home. Many times I missed my camera and had left it at home. I am so afraid it will get damaged being jostled around in my backpack. That little $400 dollar camera is the most expensive thing I own other than my car. I promise to get up some pictures of around town today when I am able.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Aggitation

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Keeping my Fingers Crossed


Having Computer problems today. They seem to be getting worse and worse. I think my processor is overheating. I finally got the bright idea to take the side off the case and put a box fan to blow in. So far, so good. It has been running for hours without an abrupt restart. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I need a new computer and will see if I can get one for Christmas this year if I build it from scratch. Building one will save about a thousand dollars.

Spent most of the afternoon down at the shopping center. The gang that used to hang out down there no longer does. The only regular was Slop (Big S). He no longer panhandles, but wastes his time sitting on the bench in front of the Piggly Wiggly people watching. Slop and I were having a discussion about George.

"He loved you," Slop said with a smile.

"Don't talk about him like he is gone," I replied. "He isn't dead yet."

"It doesn't look good from what I've heard."

"I will wait until all the tests come back," was my reply.

Slop seemed to take some sick satisfaction out of George's demise and predicament. Slop always was the worst gossip of the gang. You couldn't tell him anything without it being spread far and wide.

I finally bid Slop goodbye and walked down to the rail yard. An old seventies vintage GP38-2 was switching lumber cars in the wood yard. I pulled my pen and pad out of my backpack and noted the numbers of the locomotive for model railroading use. The GP38-2 was always one of my favorite locomotives. Loud clashes of metal coupler upon metal coupler could be heard as the cars were coupled together. I wanted so much to hop on and take a ride when the train was ready to leave for Atlanta.

Yesterday's Sunset from Spring Road

An Empty Heart, Devoid of Love...

I feel mixed up and out-of-sorts this morning. I spent a long time sitting down at the shopping center at daybreak, drinking cup after cup of coffee from my thermos. I had a lot on my mind as I thought of Rosa and the whole general issue of us.

We had planned to move in together, and then Rosa got Allyssa. I didn't feel comfortable with kids in the house and being a shack up dad. Those plans were postponed indefinitely. Last night, Rosa brought the subject back up now that Allyssa is back with her mother.

"Do you think us living together would work?"

"No," I replied. "I think things are fine the way they are."

A pout of a look overcame Rosa's face when I said that.

"So you don't want me to move in?"

"Not unless we are married," I replied. "The whole subject just makes me uncomfortable so let's drop it."

I have no intentions of getting married again either so it was a moot point. I am pretty comfortable in my new bachelor lifestyle and want it to stay that way. Rosa can just pout with me. It's not like we are even back together again anyway. Once bitten, twice shy as they say. My heart has been broken enough for one year. I just have no desire to date, or get into another committed relationship. Friendship will do just fine for the time being, and that is what I want to keep Rosa: a friend.

I have recently discovered online AA meetings. There was a midnight meeting last night and I sleepily sat at this computer and read as the meeting progressed. The ability to type needs to be a prerequisite for people sharing in those meetings, though. Nothing is more laborious than watching someone painfully peck out a reply or moment to share. I found myself blowing and rolling my eyes all throughout the meeting. I felt more aggravated after the meeting than before, so I think online AA meetings are on hiatus for the time being. There is just no substitute for taking your warm body to a meeting hall and seeing people face to face.

Sure Shot

I'm not a big fan of rap music, but, and I said but, the Beastie Boys make me want to hang out in the 'hood, drinking my gin and juice, and striking hip hop poses.

Snowbells...


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moping About...

Fixed my signature cheesy mushroom chicken and rice dish for Rosa tonight. It is a simple recipe of boneless chicken breasts cooked in butter, cream of mushroom soup, and milk. I cooked a big pot of southern style sticky rice and mixed it in. It was the perfect cold weather meal and treat. I love how creamy and buttery it is -- packed with calories to burn on a cold night. My waist line doesn't like it though.

"I am going to start going to AA with you," Rosa told me after our meal.

We were sitting in my den watching the nightly news which I detest. It was Rosa's idea. She watches a lot of television.

"Thank you. And I will got to NA (Narcotics Anonymous) with you," I replied.

Rosa was moping about this evening, though. She still has a broken heart about Allyssa being taken back to Atlanta.

"I miss her so much," Rosa said at one point.

"I know you do, sweetheart," I replied.

"You never know what life will throw at you, do you?"

"No, you never do," I replied. "That's why I take it one day at a time."

And taking it one day at a time has been key to me staying sober. I only have to worry about the four or five hours ahead of me before going to bed tonight. I can stay sober for that long. Come what may, tomorrow.

Been reading up on photography basics all afternoon.  I am getting enough confidence to start shooting photos with the manual setting on my camera.  F-stop, ISO speed, shutter speed.  It can all be so confusing, but I think the best pictures are taken on manual.  I am so glad I've had photography to exercise my mind these days.  I am getting to be a regular shutter-bug. 

Through the Din of Cigar Smoke

I was just sitting here writing as I noticed the sunlight pouring into my computer room through this window.  The smoke from my cigar made the sunlight look like shafts of light cutting through the dingy darkness of this room.  


Brilliant Blue Skies...

Stepped outside a moment ago to this scene of an afternoon sun hanging low amid crisp and brilliantly blue autumn skies. Yesterday's stormy weather is now a distant memory.


More Beauty...


Through Yonder Fence I Lie...


Take it Like a Man...

"Okay, bend over," the nurse told me as she approached me with that big needle in hand this morning. "This is going to sting."

I pulled my sweat pants down to the side and there was a painful prick.  I could feel those many milliliters of cold saline solution enter my gluteus maximus. 

"All done," the nurse said as she put a band-aid on the spot of entry and I pulled my pants back up.  "You are free to go."

I had hoped to do a photo essay of my every two week injection ritual.  I forgot my camera at home.  As I sat in my car eating a sausage and egg biscuit in the parking lot, I saw the most beautiful collection of leaves.  I almost drove the long drive back to my doctor's office to take a photo. 

Rosa called me this morning.  Much has been happening with her.  Her daughter came and took Allyssa back to Atlanta.  I think it was for the best.  We talked for hours about it last night.  My tendency is to go rescue Rosa and to bring her home and take care of her. She wanted to come over and stay with me, but I was tired and told her to wait. 

I never got around to seeing George at the hospital last night.  I was just too busy with various things to get down there.  I have since heard through the grapevine that he is in stable condition, but they are running a myriad of tests. I am completely ignorant of what cirrhosis entails so I don't know if it is recoverable or not.  I will continue to keep George in my prayers, and Rosa, too.    

Luna Moth


Monday, November 26, 2007

I consider myself a good listener...

...when I am not terribly phobic about the phone.  I've given out my phone number to several of my blog readers to talk on the phone.  Warning...  I have phone phobias and sometimes will just let the answering machine pick up.  It is not that I don't want to talk.  It is just that I have a lot of anxiety about talking on the phone akin to stage fright anxiety.  My heart will race.  My palms will get sweaty.  Some of you are getting miffed that I never answer.  I'm sorry.  I should have never given out my number if it means burned bridges with some of you that I have grown to care so much about.  Bear with me and I promise tomorrow to make a concerted effort to answer the phone and give you my undivided attention. 

Clover...


Is this gonna get blogged?

That is what my father asked me as I took this photo today as we were in his car. He had just gotten finished berating me for not shaving this morning. Doesn't he look stern? I am afraid of the man.

Textures...







Double Down

Sometimes in life, you happen upon a character that is so full of life that they seem to splash over, brimful. Bursting at the seams, their personality just oozes out of their pores. That's what I always thought of George. I got a call today from Rosa that George is in the hospital for cirrhosis of the liver. Rosa had been over to the shopping center to hang out and overheard this bit of gossip.

"Are you going to see him?" Rosa asked me on the second time we had talked today.

"I am going this afternoon," I replied, worried about my old friend.

I hung up the phone and thought about all the moments I had spent down at the shopping center with George. He would be drinking his ice beer, cigar in hand, as a great big toothy grin would form on his face. "What up, my brotha," he would jubilantly say.

The sad thing was that I had to choose between sobriety and my friend, George. He was an irascible alcoholic whose lifestyle I always envied and wanted to emulate. He got to spend carefree days driving around as he drank his beer, smoked his cigars, and delivered the patrons of his fly-by-night taxi service. It was just too tempting for this then newly sober drunk. I got to where I spent less and less time down at the shopping center, and soon George no longer called. His harsh opinion was that I was mixed up in the religious cult that was Alcoholics Anonymous.

I don't know how much time my friend has left, but I plan on spending some of it with him. Bygones be bygones. It is just a shame I didn't get to know my friend sober. Imagine the possibilities. George's spirit is unquenchable though. I wouldn't doubt he somehow beats this next obstacle confronting him. I'd even double down on the bet. George always was a gamblin' man.

Six Days Sober

ODAT Online Sobriety Counter
One Day at a Time

Hard to believe it's only been six days since I had a drink. It seems like a lifetime ago. I only had a few beers, but decided to start my counter over in good faith. It was embarrassing to do, but it felt like the right thing. I knew I would get a lot of questions on this blog and I did. The last time I got nineteen consecutive days. Let's hope practice makes perfect.

I have no desire what-so-ever to drink these days. I could easily go back to the pawnshop to pawn something for money and get rip roaring drunk. Drinking is just no longer fun. It is no longer the escape for me it used to be. The last time I got drunk I remember it feeling so blah and so less comforting than it ever had. I just felt sick and depressed as the room spinned around me after a six pack of beer. I felt out of control as if the beer were making decisions for me and not my own conscious will. That was scary. I wonder if I am becoming burned out as an alcoholic -- reaching the last stages of my disease.

I need to go to AA, but I am having a rash of phobias surrounding it. I just don't feel like getting out of the house. It has been a struggle to wake up, or just get dressed. I want to sit all day in my pajamas and waste time reading and listening to the radio. If I were to tell my psychiatrist about this, then they would no doubt put me on yet another pill to take. I don't want to be drugged though, and want to soldier on through this spell with a clear mind. All things must pass as they say.

Delicate Petals and Burly Bark...

A delicate camellia after a heavy rain.



A squirrels view of a pine tree.




Cold, Wet, and Rainy

A panoramic shot looking out the front door of my home. It is gently raining and the temperature is hovering around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Lavish Side of Life

I got up this morning and prepared a lavish breakfast.  Eggs, bacon, buttery toast, cheddar cheese grits, apple Danish, and a glass of milk.  Maggie sat earnestly at my feet looking for handouts.  I scrambled her two eggs and fried two additional pieces of bacon.  I feel so much better eating a big, wholesome breakfast. I also love to share in the joy of such an occasion with my faithful friend.  We don't do this often these days.  When Rosa left, I lost almost all desire to fix such elaborate meals.  Cooking for one sucks.     

After breakfast, I curled up on my couch and jotted down ideas for the blog today.  I couldn't come up with much.  It is pouring down rain, so no good photos, or much to write about either.   I thought about writing about consumerism and Christmas, but my ideas sounded too preachy. I have noticed that certain groups of people like me who are low income seem to get infatuated with the idea that Christmas has become corrupted by capitalism.  I see it often on certain thrifty nickel blogs I frequent.  I could also write about my encounter with my father last night during our daily medication ritual, but decided that was just too milquetoast.   Dad and I have been getting along well lately, and my life has been kind of quiet.  As long as I dutifully swallow that handful of pills every night, he is happy and leaves me alone.  Who gives a shit about how well I am actually doing as long as I take those pills.    

What does the day bring?  Mostly browsing the Internet and blogs.  My favorite pastimes.  I am also going to enjoy this rainy weather to the fullest.   It seems years have passed since we got a good rain. Mother Earth's thirst is being quenched as I write this.  The bad thing?  This house is so well insulated that I cannot hear it rain outside unless it is absolutely pouring.  This rainy weather reminds me of the time my girlfriend Denise and I stood out in a summer's rain, getting soaking wet, and embracing each other.  Ah, such pleasant memories.   It is funny how something as mundane as rain can evoke such passionate memories from the past.    

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Our Prayers Have Been Answered...

This is pure Manna from heaven. We are two and a half feet behind on rain for the year. All that green on the radar couldn't come at a more welcome time.

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After the Rain...


TV on your PC...

Before I reluctantly gave up my credit cards to my father, I purchased a TV tuner for my computer. A friend emailed me wanted to know more about it. Here is a video of what it looks like and it in action. The bad thing is that I never want to leave my computer. Blogging. Browsing Blogs. Commenting on Blogs. Watching The Weather Channel. It can be so addicting.

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Sunday's Boring Video

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14 Degrees from Heaven...

The temperature is 46 degrees and it is raining... just 14 degrees away from snow I keep telling myself.  Oh, how I wish it would snow and snow.  I would curl up on the couch with my laptop, take photos, and blog all day about it.  We are cursed with mundane weather in the South this year.  We haven't even had our usual round of severe weather on the heels of the many encroaching cold fronts. 

My father called me a moment ago and asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  They are going shopping today.

"I would love to have a real evergreen Christmas tree, and pretty ornaments and lights," I told him.

"Now, that is something I can surely do," he replied.  "I will look for a tree down in Columbus, today."

Christmas was always a very special time during my youth.  Christmases are my only fond memory of being a child.  I would be out of that dreaded school.  I could sleep late every morning.  Hours were spent perusing the Sears and Roebuck annual Christmas catalog at the countless toys on its pages.  My mother would be busy cooking wonderful holiday foods such as spiced tea, fruit cake, and gingerbread men.  I wish I could have captured those moments in a bottle, only to be let out during hard times when I needed a respite.  

Well, my kitchen timer just dinged notifying me that my Kroger pizza is ready.  I am going to go eat a few slices and curl up on the couch and watch The Weather Channel

Rainy and Overcast




Meet Me Halfway...

I met Clara halfway to Columbus, Georgia late last night. It was a spur of the moment encounter I so enjoy.  I was pulling up into a convenience store's parking lot as she got out of a friend's truck and ran over to greet me. She looked so well, and had gained about twenty pounds. Her cheeks were rosy, and the color had returned to her skin. That old alcoholic pall had been cast away.

"Tell me about your living arrangements," I asked her as we sat in my car, smoking our cigarillos.

"I only have to pay 1/4th of my monthly income for rent," she said. "I got totally lucky in finding that apartment. The waiting list is usually two years for section 8 housing."

"Are you happy?"

"I have good days and bad days," she told me. "I still struggle with the drinking. I had a slip up a few weeks ago."

"I struggle, too," I replied. "So you are not alone. I hate to say it, but we will probably deal with these urges for the rest of our lives."

"It gets easier, though," Clara said with a smile. "My successes build upon themselves."

"Have you met anyone?" I then asked.

"Just friends," Clara replied. "You know what they say about relationships and being new to sobriety."

"They (AA) tell you to wait about a year."

We talked for a long time about AA. Clara got on to me for not going regularly and she is right. I need to get back to going, but my social phobias have been acting up lately. She seemed so well though -- so full of life and vigor. I was so excited for her. It is going to be a good Christmas, and I promised her I would take her out on a Christmas date in celebration of our sobriety during a time that would usually find us hopelessly drunk. She has come a long way since this summer.

With sadness, I watched as Clara left me to reunite with her friend who had grown impatient.  It was a long drive home near midnight as I thought of my once homeless friend.  We've both seen and gone through so much in our short lives.  I wondered if it was our cross to bear to struggle so.  Seeing her gave me hope in that old scourge alcoholism had relented some.  That's all we can do is keep hope dear and continue to abstain.  One day at a time is all it takes and meeting makers make it.  Remind me to get to an AA meeting today. Seeing a sober and happy Clara makes me yearn for the magic you can only find in those meeting halls.    

Saturday, November 24, 2007

'Tis the Season...

My fair city lit its Christmas decorations tonight.  Every lamp post and utility pole in this small southern town has a new ornament lit in beautiful greens, reds, and whites.  I am getting so excited about Christmas -- my favorite time of the year. 



Perfect Football Weather...

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An Old Friend Returns Home...

Well, my camera is back. I got up the courage to drive over and get it out of pawn. Just as I was arriving home, my friend, Charlie, stopped by to bring me this weird antique mirror. I was overjoyed to get it and hung it over my piano. The mirror has a fish-eye effect on the room. It has been a good day. I was so glad to get my camera back that I kissed the box! LOL


Maggie in my backyard overjoyed that I am out of the house.

Largesse!

Determined to scrounge up some money, I placed a large computer desk, unassembled and still in the box, on my front lawn by the road. I hung a sign on it saying, "Fifty dollars and it is yours. Originally $129." Within moments, a man in a truck stopped to look. I walked out to talk to him in the cold morning air.

"I'll give you two twenties for it," he told me.

"Sold!" I said, and I helped him load the heavy desk into the back of his pickup truck.

Excited and with money in my pocket, I walked down to the diner for a feast. Merl's diner was hopping with patrons. The clink of dishes being washed could be heard in the background as the low mumble of many conversations played out around me. A perky young waitress walked out to greet me and take my order -- her eyes a deep blue with blonde hair pulled into a bun on the back of her head.

"What 'cha havin' honey?" she asked with a heavy southern drawl and a pad and pencil in hand.

"The breakfast special. Scrambled," I replied.

Soon, a plate piled high with breakfast foods sat in front of me and I dug in. I especially enjoyed the buttery grits and crumbled my crisp bacon into it for extra texture and flavor.

I paid for my meal and then walked across the highway to sit on the bench by the railyard. I pulled a Model Railroader magazine out of my backpack and read for the longest time as I smoked cigarillos and drank my to-go cup of coffee. I turned to look at one point as a big CSX freight went roaring by on the tracks. "I want to model that someday," I thought to myself, engrossed in all things trains. It was such a fine morning filled with things I so enjoy.

I then left the tracks and walked up to the shopping center. Big S was already sitting out front with his hands folded over his protruding belly, looking like some African American Buddha. We talked for a moment about George and Clara.

"He finally quit drinking," Big S told me. "He's in the early stages of cirrhosis."

I was sad to hear that about my old friend. George's doctor had warned him countless times though.

"Where's Clara been?" Big S then asked me.

"She is living in section 8 housing down in Columbus," I replied. "She called me the other night. She is going through an outpatient program for alcoholics. She's got a job at a thrift store."

"I never thought she would get her act straightened out," Big S said with a chuckle.

"Me neither," I replied. "I am proud of her. She sounded so well the other night."

I then left Big S to walk on home. I had grown cold and the temperature was still hovering around freezing. Maggie greeted me as if I had been gone for years as I opened my front door and peeled off several layers of clothes. Home Sweet Home. It is going to be a grand day!