it’s okay that you probably don’t remember me- or if you do, but only vaguely. because I remember you. and all the things you’ve done for me. you’d most likely tell me “it’s nothing”, but to me- even the smallest act, gesture, consideration, assist or donation was for me the most incredible life- changing and sustaining gift of opportunity and improvement.
if I’m remembered at the Red Apple grocer at all, it’s only because I broke down and cried from fear, exhaustion, hunger, frustration, pain & inability to do the simplest things for myself. but I remember you, Cashier Brian, cuz you opened your heart and shared a quiet personal tidbit of information about you, to hold as what felt like a secret of empathy and heartfelt concern, while everyone else looked down at me in disgust. it meant the world to me that though you couldn’t stand as champion for my self respect and dignity that day, you made sure that I knew that I wasn’t invisible, alone, cast off or unworthy…. only because you – saw – me. not as a piece of unsightly refuse, but as a broken human being struggling to remain upright, the best I could on crutches.
and the girl at Del’s feed store probably didn’t find it as momentous as I did, the day she made all those advance arrangements of pricing out the cost, pre-selling it for the receipt, and being more ready than Paul Revere by actually WAITING outside for the bus as it rolled up, while her other customers waited. just so I could get that desperately needed bag of feed for my laying birds, because there was absolutely no way that I could persuade the MTA dispatch to make a quick ‘in & out’ stop at your door for the ‘crippled chick’ to do the 2 minute task herself. (the driver said, that if there was time, they would slow long enough for the girl to take my money and hand off the 3 pound bag of feed while I stood at the door of the slowly rolling bus- that way it would never be a ‘stop’!)
or all the hours of scheduling and rescheduling, spent, trying to get me out of and back into the woods where I slept, so I could make all those doctor, orthopedic surgeon and physical therapy appt.s, as well as food & supply gathering and the networking I needed to do cuz my truck was broke on top of the fact I wasn’t allowed to drive with my broken ankle for quite sometime to come, anyway! all the drivers and dispatchers that went above and beyond their call of duty, just to help me help myself. you were probably never told about all the comment cards I wrote and sent, and I’m really very sorry I couldn’t make all of you handmade cards of thanks, but I want you to know that I’ve always voted for the ‘free bus’ in our county the full 24 years I’ve lived in this community, though I’ve never needed it’s service for myself before. I want you to know that’s it’s all of you that I remember, not the few who make our tiny chain of towns in the trees ugly, cold, dark and uncertain, just by there very presence.
the lady that owned the small Allyn grocer up the hill, that left her store while it was during business hours to go down to the bus stop on the highway to check, find, pickup, hold onto and call me back about the video camera that my mom gave to me, to tell me it was safe & found!
the nice woman Brenda that owns the Allyn liquor store that so many times acted as my phone book, binoculars, sister, confidant, proof reading service, therapist, dating service and shoulder for crying when I was lost & broken 800 miles away! that, and you were the only person that I met in all the 24 years that I lived in this tiny community that felt that it was important enough to not only go to my very 1st, but also my 50th (half century!!) birthday party at the winery! despite the fact that I went to great lengths to invite twice as many as the 10 that were allowed, but also very carefully schedule well in advance with EVERYONES WORK and the winery’s hours, so that no one would be left out. and you were the only one that felt my half century mark was worth being celebrated (let alone returning my handmade self addressed stamped rsvp cards for this very special occasion)!
and not once during this entire nightmare and ordeal, did my grown son feel it was worth interrupting his party/ sleep schedule for, regardless the fact that I broke my ankle on the stairs I repeatedly offered to fix, in the old house he shared with his girlfriend, that’s owned by her mom next door. instead of realizing, that I could own the house outright and not be homeless any more if I wanted, not only is he clueless but downright rude. when I begged him for help for the first time in his life, to escape a place where I was trapped and shortly after physically assaulted, his belated reply to me was so shockingly snotty that I should choose for him to solve my problem –not by removing me from the place that was originally convenient for him to drop me off!- but to beat a senior citizen to death with a baseball bat and spend the rest of his life in jail, or disrespect me ultimately and for the last time, as he turns to forget the person that sacrificed everything, just so that he would never be without. in 28 years, I was speechless to realize that he not once took time to find out who I was beyond his giver, doer wallet. that he would even consider that that would even be a choice I’d make. what a fool- what an ass! what once was my pride and joy has become my deepest regret that I had unleashed upon my neighbors. what should’ve been my pride has become my shame. he, not by my upbringing, but by his own choice, has become one of THEM.