Friday Nov 13, 2020

Reads: 90  | Likes: 3  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 3

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Homeless for the holidays


Friday Nov 13, 2020




I’m up and awake.  Well, actually I’m sitting in the rocking chair next to my bed with three blankets piled on top of me to keep my legs warm. I’ve been awake for hours.


The storm has been raging outside all night. It’s still too dark to get a good look at this episode of nature’s fury...beyond the wet leaves that are plastered to the big plate glass window and the swaying trees silhouetted against the backdrop of the city lights of North Bend and Coos Bay.


I was watching a western movie on Prime, “Silverado”, (last night it was John Wayne in “Red River”). I’m not sleeping much lately. Sometimes I worry about that. But worry never fixed anything.  Mostly I just roll with the cycle.


I moved from my bed to the rocking chair by the window because I saw a flash of light that I thought might be lightening. I love a good light show.


Seems it must have been a transformer blowing somewhere. “Silverado” bounced to the television home menu, which gave way to my Amazon Photos screen saver slideshow.


There’s nothing out there but the wind and the rain and the leaves. The storm blows across the bay in invisible waves crashing against the house and the trees.  At this early hour the only other sound is the pinecones and other small organic debris landing on the roof.


No lightening.


Even the McCullough Memorial Bridge is oddly dark, except for the twin red flashing beacons on the towers. Traffic will resume soon enough. I imagine all but the most intrepid souls are hunkered down awaiting the break of day.


I wonder about the homeless man who spent the summer camped out on the bench in front of the North Bend Visitors Center.  Lately I’ve seen him stretched out in the small clearing next to the light pole at the town end of the bridge...just far enough from the residential area that he need not be concerned about too much foot traffic passing his roadside sleeping station, but close enough to Ashworth’s Market that supplies are readily available should he find himself in possession of sufficient coinage.


Where does he weather the storm? Is he under the bridge? Under a tarp down by the railroad tracks? Huddled behind someone’s fence or in some other neglected nook in the neighborhood? 


I don’t know.


I am fortunate enough to have this huge window between myself and the storm. I have my blankets and Mom’s old rocking chair. I’m not a wealthy man, but rich enough to insulate myself from the storm and all of its lashing and thrashing about. 


I am fortunate enough that I can sit here in this rocking chair and ponder the fate of those unfortunates that I see navigating the community with all of their meager belongings piled in stolen shopping carts or in their backpacks.


I don’t know how these people came to know the hardships and tribulations that now define their existence to the passing world.  Did their own choices set them on this path, or was the downsizing of America a factor in their plight?


Where did they come from? How did they get here? Are they alone in the world, or do they have a trail of shattered dreams and broken families in their wake? I have no way of knowing.


The wind and the weather still rage outside my window. Traffic is picking up on the bridge. In another hour the sun will rise heralding the start of a new day. 


I’ll light a couple of logs in the fireplace. I’ll heat up something warm for my breakfast. And I will get lost in the business of my day, forgetting all about those nameless, faceless souls out there in the world fighting to minimize their exposure to the elements and find a dry place to sleep tonight.


Submitted: November 13, 2020

© Copyright 2021 ShadyBrady. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


LE. Berry

What a thoughtful piece ShadyBrady...

Fri, November 13th, 2020 10:17pm


It’s what I think about at 3:30am. LOL

Fri, November 13th, 2020 3:27pm

Jobe Rubens

One of the best stories I've read. Felt like I was there. We get gails in the UK but nothing like your weather. Although, one year, we had the Boscastle floods! Anyway, you see those transformers busting sparks but only in the movies. I'd like to see that for real. I'd like to hear those crickets you hear at night. Are they crickets? But then you probably see old Blighty the way it's often portrayed on the telly. We're actually more miserable in real life. And I've seen people with no teeth trying to have conversations.

Sat, November 14th, 2020 6:22am


I am not so arrogant so as not to appreciate that I have been blessed by geography. If I had been born to parents anywhere else in this insane, uncompromising, unfair world I would not enjoy the quality of life that I have.

These people that we take pains to look beyond, or worse, to look through as if they’re not even there; these people are every bit as alive as the wealthiest patron of the arts. They have dreams too.

Sat, November 14th, 2020 2:29pm

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