I’m taking a break from writing for a couple days, but not from humor!
“Whatcha lookin’ for?” the Post Mistress inquired. This same woman had been in the Post Office just a few minutes earlier.
“I think I dropped something,” was the quick reply. She’s a Southern Lady. Not, mind you, a Southern Belle, but a Southern Lady to be sure. She’s not young — mid 50’s. Dressed in a big ole floppy hat, oversized glasses, and a long dangly necklace. She wore a long flow-y cotton dress — probably the only woman who would enter the Post Office that day even wearing a dress.
She was nearly bent in half bending down examining every corner of the Post Office lobby. And she wasn’t going to miss a corner or a crevice.
“Can I help you? No one has turned anything in. Whatcha lookin’ for?
“But you GOT teeth. I saw ’em.” And indeed the Post Mistress had seen Cindy’s teeth. She smiles a LOT. She’s always smiling. She loves telling stories (It was she who told me this one), and she’s always smiling when she tells ’em.
“I KNOW I’ve got teeth — just not all of ’em.” Cindy responded. Cindy had gone through Thyroid radiation and all of her rear teeth had suffered. They’d been pulled and replaced with a partial plate.
But Cindy didn’t like WEARING that plate. “Everything tastes of plastic” she told me as she shared her little story.
“Where did you drop them?” the Postal Gal asked.
“Well, I’m not sure I DID drop them” Cindy chuckled. “But I wanna make sure.” She’s a shy old gal, she is….
“You see, when I’m not wearin’ ’em, I tuck ’em in my bra, and I wasn’t about to go walking down the street patting myself on the chest, feelin’ around for my partial. It would look really strange.” (as if scouring the Post Office floor, half bent over in a floppy hat and oversized glasses looked to be the most normal thing in the world.
You see, this is the wife of the couple who are leaving because of marijuana. We wanted to have some more time with them before their departure — even though we know they aren’t moving far away. We had lunch with them at The American Diner in Lakeside — a tiny little ma & pa resto that makes a killer clam plate lunch (and a terrific chicken fried steak for that matter). The day of our luncheon they were putting down their deposit on an apartment in Coos Bay where the two of them will be volunteering at the local Hospice.
And I wanted to tell this story because they are such great people. Bob is Southern Georgia born and bred. His beard hangs a good 12″ below his chin, he’s slight and wiry, and has a twinkle in his eye. But he also has a back injury that keeps him in pain. The best way to deal with that pain — without using addictive and way too powerful drugs is a little smoke from time to time. And that was what got him into trouble with the Forest Service. It seems a shame; but sometimes rules are rules and there’s not much you can do about them.
The couple, however, are not to be denied. Within a week of this sudden change they have plotted a new course through life and are thoroughly engaged in it. Peg and I will most likely be there to help them move into the new place; I’m sure we’ll stay in touch after their gone. They’re just too much fun to lose track of!
Laundering the Laundry
I’m hopeful we may finally have found a solution for our volunteers. The F.S. promises the reimburse them for laundry expenses (to keep their uniforms tidy) but for the past 4 months that promise has been hard to fulfill. The largest laundromat in the area (with 4 stores) converted to a plastic credit card sort of system. The result is that they no longer have full time attendants and the attendants they have are not authorized to hand out receipts for money spent — because the money goes straight into an automated teller sort of machine.
Well, let me tell you, when you have volunteers who are living on the edge of society, that laundry money becomes important and the Government dispersal office in Albuquerque has been making our life hell. After trying several different methods of getting those expenses covered without a physical receipt someone a couple steps above my boss finally got through to Albuquerque and they reached a meeting of the minds.
It amazes me how much time has been spent to reimburse hard working volunteers for a measly $40.00 or $10.00 a month. ($40.00 if they have to use the laundromat and $10.00 if they have their own washer/dryer and just need to pay for detergent, electricity and, wear and tear on their machine). Between our paid staff here and the Alubuquerque staff there have been multiple times the reimbursements spend wrangling about how to do what would seem to be a simple thing. And it’s even more frustrating for the staff here because it’s THEIR money, THEIR budget, THEY are glad to pay the volunteers — but someone 1,500 miles away who has nothing to do with operations here can stamp the form ‘rejected’ and that’s all there is to it.
That post I shared on the 25th — about She Wasn’t Being Rude has had me thinking a lot about the people we see here. Oregon has so many marginalized residents; I cannot drive to work in the morning or drive home at night (all of 13 miles) without seeing at least 1 person walking, biking, or hitchhiking with what often appears to be their life’s possessions on their back, on their bike or being trailered Bicycle-bike trailer-and 2 wheel dolly down the road. In Milwaukee I’ve seen people living with their life crammed into a grocery shopping cart — or even less of a life crammed into a personal shopping cart.
It tears my heart out that in a world with so much wealth that we have so many homeless. In January 2014 the U.S. Government did it’s annual late January homeless survey and they concluded from a sampling made on a particularly cold January night that there are more than 150,000 homeless VETS in the U.S.
Now, there are really millions of homeless souls to be sure. But it seems particularly tragic that those men and women who have gone into hell — in the form of the battlefield — and have been fortunate enough to return are left to fend for themselves on the battlefield of their own nation’s soil … It’s just pitiful. It breaks my heart.
I can do something about the volunteers who need their reimbursement — that’s in my power. I’m not sure what to do about the bigger problem. Or even whether anything CAN be done…
Thanks for stopping by today. I’m glad I could share some time with you. Maybe the story about teeth was enough to get you chuckling before you got to the homeless. But isn’t that the way life is? Never altogether funny, never altogether tragic.
I’ll talk with you tomorrow.
I nearly busted a gut when the newest volunteer showed up at the Work Center Friday along with our boss and whispered to Peg and I, “Help! Save me from my boss!”
Montana Ed is a nice guy. A really nice guy. When you look at him he doesn’t look like the sharpest tool in the shed but he’s a hard worker and knows his job. He’s VERY quiet. Very, Very, Very quiet. He barely says a word unless he has to.
So to have him standing on the side was the boss backed the crane truck up to a couple of rebuilt picnic tables, and sidle up alongside and with the straightest face and no inflection of humor simply say those five simple words:
“Help! Save me from my boss.”
Everyone has their own way about them. The Boss is is very much stream of consciousness. Whatever’s on her mind at the moment is what comes out of her mouth. When she’s training its dangerous to ask a question, she may start off on a story and never return to whatever we were learning about. She’s a great person but you have to strap yourself into your seat belt and hang on for the ride cuz it’s gonna be interesting.
I’m not sure if it’s a federal program or not, but today is Veterans Day and the Siuslaw National Forest is making Saturday, Sunday, and Monday free days for all the day use areas in honor of our veterans. That’s nice. The boss called us up on our day off to tell us that. We get to deliver good news today. That’s better than telling people to put their day use fee in the iron ranger!
The day after. Weekends are hectic; but starting early Sunday morning a mass exodus begins that continues all day long until by the end of the day the recently full to the gills campgrounds are nearly empty. That’s when my favorite time starts!
It’s Monday morning and by golly it’s quiet — sort of.
I say sort of because the huge difference between living in a 6500 sq ft school and living in a 230 sq ft RV is that there is no isolation from Momma Nature! This can be a wonderful thing — using wonderful simultaneously in several of it’s meanings — or it could be a fearful thing. Fortunately for us, it’s not about fear.
What I’m getting at is simple. In a big house you don’t hear many of the noises that Momma Nature makes. In Journey you hear pretty much all of them. For example, it’s raining outside right now.
In the school house we could only hear the rain on the roof in two out of 20+ rooms, and then only in a muffled manner. In Journey you not only hear the rain distinctly, you can also trace the breezes as they move droplets of rain from one portion of the roof to another. Kind of like listening to the sound of squirrels claws clicking their way across the roof — which you can also hear in Journey.
Fortunately for us this is not a bad thing. I grew up as a Boy Scout — and my parents did a lot of camping — so the sound of water on a roof is comforting, and a lot more secure than the sound of water on a canvas tent! Then there were my years driving truck — and I had plenty of nights with rain on the roof while I snored soundly in my sleeper. One of these days I’ll have to root around in my archives and find a couple shots of my old truck. But for now I’ll just say that rain drops on roofs are kind of comforting.
I can see, however, that for some people this could be very disconcerting. Now, from my own experience I have to admit that I’ve never lived through a tornado or a hurricane — so had I done so I might have a very different take on “nature.” At this point in life nature is still my friend; I hope she stays such for the rest of my time on this great big ball called Earth, but we’ll see how that plays out.
To live in an RV is to be vulnerable. To know that in advance is important — but merely knowing it doesn’t mean that one is prepared to deal with it’s reality. Knowing that all those drops on the roof are rain, and all the noise outside is wind may just be a mere matter of knowledge — but for fearful people with good imaginations that knowledge can be paralyzing! It all depends on your state of mind.
I know RV’ers who will not stay in campgrounds, or settle down into individual campsites if there are tall trees — they would say there’s too much danger of limbs falling on the roof of their RV. To be honest — when I back into a site I’m worried that I don’t clip a low hanging branch, but most of those trees that a person can worry about have been around a lot longer than I have been alive — sure, there is some chance that something can fall from the sky and smash my roof — but there’s a greater chance that someone in an oncoming lane of traffic will have a heart attack as they approach, that they’ll lose consciousness, cross the median strip and plow into the front of our RV killing us instantly. I’m just not given to worrying about what could happen. I’d rather do my best to drive and park defensively and leave it at that.
So, if you’re one of those who dreams that you’d like to spend your retirement years wandering around the countryside in an RV — take some time to consider your fear factor. If you’re like us and you LIKE being right out there with the elements — then keep thinking about it. But if you’re one of those who goes catatonic over lighting, or ape over wind, if you get the willies when confronted by sheets and buckets of rain, or you get the wobblies over inconveniently placed trees — think maybe about a condo on South Padre Island or a Time Share in Door County. This life isn’t for you.
In the meantime — I’ll be drawing mental pictures of the shapes the raindrops are making on the roof and listening to the birds and bullfrogs. I’ll be out there howling with the coyotes at the Moon El Magnifico — if only there aren’t clouds to hide it from my view.
I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
This post is actually an excuse to publish this image.
A fellow blogger over at Notes to Ponder posted about discovering Black Widow spiders in her laundry room. I attempted to comment back and link this image — but Wordpess’s comment system strips out html I guess. The graphic struck me as poignant because we we formerly lived there were periodic discoveries of wildlife living among humans and a great furor to boot.
Personally, I think it’s the neatest thing in the world to see deer, coyotes, foxes, skunk, and raccoon living among us. Other people don’t like ’em. I’d say, it’s a big world and there’s room for all sorts, but the fact of the matter is that we humans are hogging up all the space and making it hard for the critters to get on. So don’t be surprised when they learn their own adaptive behaviors and appear among us attempting to live a life of co-existence while we humans insist upon exterminating them just like we do other humans. sigh…..