"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Nov 30, 2014

Sure Miss the Tropics at Times




It’s often hard to write tongue-in-cheek, especially when it comes too close to my truth.  Since people seem to prefer humor over social commentaries, I’m tweaking my humantaries.

We’ve heard Christmas Carols since Halloween, and candy aisles just change colors.  Some of us are already getting bored and the rest expect to see hearts and kisses before Father Time.  And way too many pretend they don’t hear the ring of the Salvation Army bell.   

That’s something I should consider:  can’t you just picture me standing in front of a cauldron, violently a-clanging, haranguing those same people with,
“So what am I…chopped liver?”

It's unfortunate that numbness for commercialism affects pleas for help…for the homeless, the elderly, the children.  Yeah, yeah, I’m starting to lose you now, but wait!  I've got a story…with photos…

Last week, my main space heater conked out in the midst of a cold spell.  Motor homes aren't exactly well insulated.  I didn’t have the cash for a new heater, so I draped Tino’s quilt over a couple of 1”x2”s, grabbed my gun and every scrap of fabric I could find and stapled BC and me inside.  The experience was not just chilly; it was terrifying, and depressing.  I wailed like a baby and try as I might to remind myself that 

“Things always work out better than I expect,” all I could think was,

“I’ll just be another statistic…some elderly person who froze to death inside their home.  Better put on clean undies and unlock the door so BC can be saved.”

The next morning I awoke close to a Popsicle, and putting aside my pride, called a friend.

“Rrrrremember you said if I ever needed anything, to ask?”

I had an order for $100 worth of Santa ornaments which I couldn’t finish ‘cause my fingers were blue, and while I was grateful I could ask for an advance rather than an outright loan, I was bummed my hard-earned cash would primarily be going towards an unplanned appliance rather than stocking up on paper towels and maybe new brushes.  Jeez, I could use a break.

My friend gladly offered help and more, but while speaking I wondered if Uncle Sam might try to help someone on his public assistance payroll from freezing, or whether my death would simply equate to more money in the coffers?  Once I decided to ask for help, I thought to call a local agency which provides food and other assistance to the economically challenged.  Did they have or know of somewhere I could get a space heater cheap?  She put me on hold; said she found one which I was welcome to; so I threw on appropriate (used) clothing and risked a speeding ticket the entire way, heater full blast. 

“Isn’t this what you had in mind?” as she incorrectly read my face.

“This is nicer than the one I had, and quite honestly I was expecting the kind you use in a garage.”

Ho, ho, ho she chuckled and I handed her a finished Santa in thanks.  The heater has a small ding so I suspect it was donated, but who cares?  I just covered it with a magnet.  The child gate’s for BC’s protection, since this thing is literally like an elephant in the middle of the room.

But it keeps us warm and toasty like never before.  If you know of Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs you’ll understand that in an instant I dropped down to the most basic level of human requirements:  food and shelter.  Nothing else mattered.

So when you hear your Congressmen gripe about public assistance programs and ‘takers’ like me, try to remember what that assistance means to real people who are not merely statistics. 

Please pass along the sentiment, if not the prose; support your local artists; and call your grandparents!

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