A CONVERSATION WITH 'MOM'
She got her street name because she takes care of people. I met her in the winter of 1994/1995. An overly zealous night manager at one of the local shelters evicted an old man with Alzheimers because he smoked in his room. It was a January night with temperatures in the thirties. After a few choice words about "Why the **** didn't he just confiscate his cigarettes?" Mom took this old guy to her tent and kept him warm through the night. A few months ago she actually managed to get me to do snuff outreach (with my own money, not Van money). She found an old, old man named Earle living in a shack near Tent City. Earle, who was well into his eighties, showed signs of senile dementia. He had a pack of half-starved cats and he himself was not doing so well. Mom got some groceries and cat food from me and then said, "I need five dollars toward a tin of snuff."
Arupa: "You've got to be kidding. We don't do snuff outreach."
Mom (tears running down her face): "He's 86 and he's been dipping snuff since he was 12 and he's just sitting out there jonesing and jonesing..."
Arupa: "Okay. Snuff outreach it is, coming right up."
Mom and I were discussing the economy yesterday. She said that Day Labor had dried up so bad people aren't doing drugs out in Tent City because they don't have the money. I asked if she knew how business was for the ladies who work on SW 13th Street and she told me that it's really down. Now, this is a side of the economic downturn you aren't going to here about on MSNBC - It's BREAKING NEWS in the Home Van Newsletter.
It got me to thinking about the Web of Life with the endless interconnecting tapestry of cause and effect. There is much suffering connected to this Great Recession, and will be for a long time to come. Can it be that there are also little miracles - lotuses growing from the mud - silently sprouting and putting forth roots? People planting vegetable gardens, people playing board games with their children because they can't afford to go out - people in Tent City getting a "time out" from the nightmare labyrinth of doing drugs and turning tricks - a silent place where something new might grow. I believe in this.
BOOKS! GAMES! SOAP!
That's what we need. Hallelujah for Spring and long evenings when people can read and play cards. This summer I am going to emphasize recreation in the Socks 4th Avenue section of the Van, with your help. Art supplies are good also, and anything else you can think of that is fun We are also low on personal hygiene products.
ENJOY THE WEATHER!!!!
Love and blessings,