Days Ago - N- Now
The following touches on past experiences. As a hitchhiker, traveler, even carny, whatever; does not include the title of being homeless. This is American soil which is freely enjoyed as a right. Being a “street person” is the limit of derogatory titles regarding being an American. This is a voluntary choice, being a part of the group of street people. Being classified as homeless implies a privilege at best, this is conditional.
This past statement “street person” took a long time to become comfortable with, 30 odd years anyway. Looking back; at first the times were good, like a merry-go-round, smooth-n-nice. For example, you did not go on the lot for a day’s work unless the pint or six pack was brought along; if you couldn’t handle it, well go get another job. The jobs were mostly trench work, literally. As a laborer the best part was being paid at the end of the day. Polishing truck tire rims was even better. Under the table pay, able to drink, pitch a tent nearby. Usually, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are the best because truckers are laid down a lot while waiting for Monday to load or unload. Carnival life was party hearty for real. The unwritten rule was no drinking on the job. Dealing with the public, children as well, is serious. Just as blackouts are serious.
Damn, stranded out in the middle of nowhere, along a major freeway. One small tree, 20 odd feet away. Had the blanket put on the ground by the tree next to a 3 foot barbwire fence. Well, at least the ½ a G is here with smokes! Next morning opened the eyes. About 2 feet away was a wooden roof. There was wood underneath as well. Looking around, the thought; (said out loud in fact) a chicken coop?! An abandoned chicken coop. Things that make ya go “hmmmm”. Just how did this happen, getting to the 3rd tier of this chicken coop? Once outside, knee high grass. The bottle is right there and so is my backpack. There’s the freeway ½ mile away. Over two 3 foot fences to get a beautiful day out. A couple of belts taken and back at the road. The look at the sky is sincere. The whisper out loud is real; thank you.
Ugly blackouts. Come to in a jail looking at the bars, wondering with dread what, just what was done this time? Personally coming to in a hospital looking at the bronze color of the feet and ankles is way worse. 4 years ago that was, now a double amputee for life. What a drag, will I ever learn? No and nay, this was the second time of being passed out in the cold. First time the cost was all the toes, winter of 1-10. Just no excuse to live here. Finally somehow with inner strength the thought catches hold. Onward ever onward and try going along with a genuine smile was the goal.
See, this is how it is – channeling thoughts of negativity to that of being positive. The longer the sobriety lasts, the less fog there is. One of the rewards about hitchhiking is the motorist will feely unload, expecting good feedback. Knowing our paths probably won’t be crossing again. Example, a Lincoln continental pulls over. The driver 60 or so, obviously a suit-n-tie has a 9 year old or so little girl, blonde hair, blue eyes, sitting in the back seat. A sad look from her, going down the road the story unfolds. This man is a 40 year old doctor, frustrated, the hands clenched to the wheel. He says; “there’s noting I can do to save my granddaughter. So I go to see this specialist doctor on a long shot.” A glace to the back seat shows that darling with big silent tear drops traveling down her face. Just before leaving, while looking in his eyes, the thought comes; “if God needs that angle of yours, then it may be time soon. Meanwhile, the hope and prayer here is to enjoy what time is left for the both of you, good luck.” Walking away, the look back, showed that girl was in the front seat next to grandpa. His arm was around her shoulder. I went off on a good drunk that night.
Another part of inner growth while traveling around is being taken home for the night. Get fed, spruced up, nights sleep, and ride back to the freeway the next morning. The point here is about feeling good. The excess drinking got out of hand at times and eventually went sour. These sour toned thoughts when seen as positive ones give strong reason for going on….
The picture so far has mainly focused on alcohol. There was a decade or so while doing stimulants, chemicals where alcohol took a back seat. Just don’t care to drink while getting high (mostly). Nowadays, don’t get high, just drink. And today there is no drinking about it. With hope for the rest of this life. Right now this is a joy just to know that I am called upon. As such the desire is strong about wanting to talk with others, not at all having to.
There is no way a type of personal recognition is the aim here at all.
The fact is, throughout this life there have been many times when the question was asked; what branch did you choose an dhow long did you serve in the Armed Forces?
Well there are a number of reasons why this one did not enlist. The draft has ended by the time age 18 was reached. Of the 3 of us, 4 went in. Was born and raised in the Air Force branch. This list goes on. However, the one reason above all else has been somewhat private. You see people as a mothers son, I stayed home with mom. It’s like all heartthrob thing here. It’s not pride stuff even, it’s just a thing.
Many promotional ads, commercials, word of mouth, etc., continue daily with many reasons for the joining of the Armed Forces personal. And rightly so, of course. Really veterans are treated with a sound degree or respect (after the fact) in the form of one or more benefits. Personally, the only benefit that was desired was for I or more of the 4 that served to say; Good job Brother, for holding down the fort. And it did help during the time spent away from home. And they all (in their own way) said; Thank you. No need of money, or honey, or pat on the back. Just that one thing, thanks for staying home.
Well fell better now, with the off the chest. Don’t care a lot about those looks from the other home stayers for this, only needed to be said once.
Hello, Ladies and Gentlemen
My name is Daniel, I generally go by Dan.
Gratitude is the word here, which has not failed over the years to maintain in front of myself as well as others.
Even with the face in the bottle or the long wait of hitchhiking or many other types of living. Being grateful for something has always been there. For me it’s self worth that’s the corner stone.
Just before arriving at COMEA, self worth was low at best. I was at the point of needing to say; Thank you God for another day. Since being at COMEA, this foundation of self worth has strengthened to such a degree as to no longer need to say the morning prayer out loud.
From having privacy to speaking publicly with others gratitude continues to grow. Today in front of the mirror, seldom is seen a smile and yet seldom is seen a frown.
At one point, the road of being miserable had to be addressed for looking at someone with a smile had me almost ready to say; what right does that person have to be happy?! Well, I’ll just fix that picture, quick. Common sense kicked in and that road of misery although always there, this will not again have such a strength like that.
In many ways, today being grateful has become more like a normal thing. And it’s also becoming easier to present this frame of mind to others. Without being a sissy about it, of course. At this point with my life there are 3 groups I am grateful for; Robin and company which includes truly those who donate in any way to make The COMEA House continue to happen, the community of this city, Cheyenne for not standing against those in need, be it a traveling stranger or a nearby neighbor or anyone in between, in particular the many people that I live with. Who for one reason or another or for one day or more have a need. This is the pause point here, with myself as well as others.
So I say; thank you all, for giving me the benefit of doubt. Sure does make a difference with this thing called gratitude. See, this way there is always hope. No matter what. Dan
Not long ago I was asked to say a few words about the Resource Center of the capital city here in Wyoming. This was in the form of a speech, during a benefit hosted by the COMEA House, wia Robin and comapny.
The setting was to that of the 70;s, at the Raddison (Old Holiday Inn place). This event enjoyed a nice supper for starters and closed down with the band known as “Boogie Machine”. A good turn out. A relaxed atmosphere for sure.
Talk about costumes. What a delightful array of colors. In particular the band portraying Afros; pink, orange, green, and maybe yellow. Yet the Governor and our First Lady decked out, had this ole boy blinking. Truly would have took the prize here (were there to be one given) with their elected outfits, honoring the 70’s. Although Miss Robin would have a close second with her Cher get up.
The word is being self conscious while sitting at the Governors table, attempting not to fidget, prior to talking in front of a crowd of people. Which was a first here.
At one point I almost said to Mr. Meade; You know, were you to consider Congress seriously there would be no problem getting bills passed if your kaleidoscope of colors armor type of shirt was worn. Really sir those folks at Congress would be busy blinking. (Stunned speaking) They would perhaps pass a bill for you, just to reclaim their wits. Well, I didn’t say that. But just thinking of such a thought, shows a lot about how comfortable the atmosphere was.
So, for them that had not the opportunity to be a part of this lil’ shindig the following is the previous blog is the speech I gave. And honored to do it, really. Dan
From Dan's Corner
Of late, a whisper is heard about honoring a woman upon a bill of this country. Were this true, a money bill would need to be profound, for women deserve the respect of originality, rather than a (drats! must be said) copy or replacement type of bill.
So first, what currency is the question. There is Mr. George, the one and the five and the dime spot and yes the big twenty and so forth. However, as yet there is no fifteen dollar bill. Well, what is the name then? There’s the one and the fire or half and the ten and the fifteen or other half and the twenty and onward.
Now if this is good so far, there is only 1 woman to honor (which comes to mind) regarding America’s short history, and that is the Queen herself. Awhile ago, there was a territory that had a queen which today is called a state. The name is Hawaii. Has a nice pacific harbor out there called Pearly. A real popular place to visit; this young state.
To honor the lady of Hawaii, would also be to honor; not only those who fell during that long Sunday morning (tuff day to say the least) but the many Hawaiian people as well who died. Can then a vote be taken by the American people to make the fifteen dollar bill (a.k.a the other half) legal tender? And the real question here; would this be okay for you, American woman?
Citizen of the State of Equality
Dedicted to that of a cowgirls way