BUG SPRAY AND WATER
UF entymologists are predicting an unusually bad mosquito season this year, due to rainfall patterns. These bringers of cheer also say that we are going to be invaded by a sort of mega-mosquito, 20 times the size of an ordinary mosquito, that bites through clothing. That sounds more like a toy helicopter than a bug, but I did read this in the Gainesville Sun. The woods have already been invaded by mosquitos – but not the helisquitoes yet. So, we are going to need bug spray donations more than ever. It is pure torture being out in the woods with no way to keep mosquitoes off. I advise people to spray their clothing rather than themselves, especially around cuffs and collars. That way they are not saturating their bodies with Deet, and the effect lasts longer. Still, it is going to take a lot of bug spray to get through the next few months. I also need to start stockpiling water, so those donations are important also.
Every once in awhile we get a chance to actually pull someone out of the fire, as we did recently with “K”, a young man who aged out of foster care in Gainesville a year or two ago. (In order to protect K’s identity, this account is fictionalized, while being essentially true.) K spent some time with his parents over the years, but mainly lived in foster homes, some good and some abusive. He aged out of foster care successfully, and got himself a job and a place to live. He even saved up a few hundred dollars. About this time his parents came to town with big news. They told K they had an apartment and good jobs waiting for them in a faraway place. They asked K to quit his job and go with them so they could all be a real family. First they needed a hotel room for a few days, to rest, and then two more Grayhound tickets. They convinced K to quit his job and give them the money in his savings account, to help them put this grand plan into action. A week or so later K called me from a motel out by the interstate. He and his parents were about to be evicted from the motel and none of them had eaten in four days. He told me, with his voice trembling, that his mother was so sick he feared for her.
We went out to the motel with food. His mother, who seemed to have recovered, was all sweetness and smiles. She told me about the apartment and jobs in ‘Timbuktu’ and asked if we could help them get there. The rest of the story, the unedited version, emerged over the next two days. In short, once K turned over his money and the family got a motel room, his parents invited friends over and went on three-day binge. All of K’s money was gone.
The price of two Grayhound tickets was way more than we could afford, but the Home Van angel, the one who whispers in my ear, told me to get one ticket, which was still more than we could afford, but I’ve learned over the years to obey this little voice when it talks to me. K’s mother eagerly volunteered K to stay behind while she and her husband took the bus. “He’s young, he’ll make it, and we’ll send for him when we get paid.” K agreed. In reality, K, as he told me later, was terrified at the notion of living on the streets. Although his life had been hard, he’d always had a roof over his head.
When I heard the whole story I realized that we really needed to get these so-called parents out of town, way out of town. Like Charlie Brown with the football, an abandoned child is vulnerable past all the reason to the idea that his parents have changed, now they love him, now he’s going to have a real family.
K did have friends in a small religious commune in Gainesville. After we put his parents on the Grayhound, we took him there. He was greeted with hugs and immediately given a bed. A week later K had found another job. K feels that the severity of this experience has finally inoculated him from the siren call of his parents, particularly his mother. He understands now that the people who love him are his real family. He is doing well.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOME VAN PET CARE!
Home Van Pet Care is turning 6 years old this month! I can’t say enough to thank Elizabeth Howard and her volunteers for all they have done for the animals these past years – all the hours of bagging food and bringing it to the woods and capturing cats and dogs and taking them in for spaying and neutering and health care. Elizabeth also reached out to other people and groups concerned with animal welfare and lit a lot of fires. Happy, Happy Birthday to Home Van Pet Care and all their furry friends.
love and peace to everyone,
The Home Van needs tents, tarps, bottled water, bug spray,Vienna sausages, creamy peanut butter, jelly, candles, white tube socks, batteries, and games. Call 352-372-4825 to arrange for drop off. Financial donations to the Home Van should be in the form of checks made out to Citizens for Social Justice, Inc., earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601, or can be made online at http://homevan.blogspot.com/
THE HOMEVAN IS A PROJECT OF CITIZENS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, INC. (FDACSREGISTRATION #CH35643). A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE.REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.