Mrs. Jeannette Thompson also went to the local police station to see if it were true that the police were looking for Bobby. “Ma’am – I told you twice already there is nothing on file for a Bobby Hendricks.” The Desk Sargent was a disagreeable man and he was becoming more agitated. “Not even as a missing person?”, she asked. “No ma’am – there – is – no – thing – in – our – data – base.” He said it slow on purpose, with a sarcastic tone. She decided to come back another day and talk to a different Desk Sargent, someone who would treat her like a human being.
The next day the information was the same. In the eyes of the police, Bobby Hendricks did not exist. That was good in a way, but why was he not listed as a missing person? Was it a computer problem? Was someone not doing their job? Did his Aunt and her husband report him as missing? She had no idea. One thing she knew for sure though, was that this was big, and she needed to pray about it. What was she supposed to do now?
She normally prayed at home, but this time she went to the church instead. She felt she needed extra help. Something was weighing on her, there was something she was supposed to do, but she was not sure what it was. As she walked in the front door of the church, she stopped at the picture on the wall of Mother Mary holding the Christ Child. It was becoming clearer now. She needed to be more of a mother to Bobby. She hurried to a pew and knelt down.
As she prayed she realized she had been holding back. She was trying to be his friend, but was she loving him? Or was she just trying to ease her conscience by being nice, and giving him food? Where was her commitment? And why on God’s green earth did she not get him off the streets? The answer struck her squarely in the head, and went down into her heart. Fear. It was all because of fear. If she loved him the way a Mom would, he might break her heart by stealing from her, or dying out on the streets. She was afraid, and she began weeping. She did not want to be this way, and realized she must ask him to stay at her house. She needed to open her house and her heart. It took courage, but she decided that she would ask him today.
She went through the neighborhood looking for him, and saw him coming out of the library. She asked him if he would like to come to her house, and would he like to stay there? His face lit up, he smiled, and said, “Sure!”. Later, in her living room, her with a cup of tea, and him with a bottle of soda, she asked him about the library.
He told he loved going there and reading. He went there all the time, though now nobody moved away from him, when he sat down. There was no more bad smell! His favorite subject was history. He loved history with a passion, and right now he was studying how the poverty of 18th century France had caused the French Revolution. Mrs. Thompson choked on her tea, and lost some of it to her living room rug. She had no idea he was this intelligent!
His other passion was studying Native Americans. He loved everything about them, but especially how they were so connected to the earth and nature. As he was sharing about their culture, she saw how he loved adventure, and smiled, thinking, “He probably knows about every tribe in North America”.
Jeannette Thompson became a mighty warrior in the battle against poverty. She opened her home not only to Bobby but a number of children over the years. Right after Bobby started living with her, she also took in a single mother that was seventeen, and had a three year old daughter. She had also recently defeated an addiction to cocaine. She needed a warm and safe place to live. Mrs. Thompson was like a mother to all of them.
She also inspired the church to take action. The church began opening its doors to the community, and especially during the winter, when people needed to get out of the cold at night. It was warm and safe.
The kitchen was expanded, and modernized. Men and women of the church formed what they called “Team Hope”, and served a good hot meal every day. The people of the church were not perfect, but over time they learned how to not judge people, to have compassion, and love people instead.
As for Bobby, he is trying to decide what college he will go to, and should he be a professor of history, or an anthropologist studying early Native Americans, or maybe….both?
The proudest moment of his life was yet to come, and was when he stood on stage graduating from St. Timothy’s Catholic High School. He saw his Mom (Jeannette Thompson) with hands raised high, looking at heaven and thanking God for this wonderful miracle. Both of their spirits soared high that day.
Microfiction in the spirit of the Christmas Season
He jumped. He looked up with terror in his eyes. Should he run? Would she call the police? “Do you have something I could eat?” He couldn’t believe it came out of his mouth, but too late, it did.
A few minutes later they were in the church office, where she told him to make himself at home, and that she would be down in the kitchen looking for some food. In the refrigerator, she found some lunchmeat, and cheese on a platter, and in the cupboard she found crackers that had been saved for the bishop’s upcoming visit. She took them anyway. She thought out loud, “…and some tea would be nice…” “Do boys drink tea?” She went for a cold soda instead.
When she brought back the platter of food, and the soda, he was stunned. It was crackers and cheese – American cheese, along with some turkey. His prayer had been answered and then some. Tears welled up in his eyes, but he said nothing.
They talked for a while about everything, while he ate. Sometimes he talked with his mouth full of food. He was too hungry to worry about manners, besides if she had called the police, he would have to leave in a hurry. It was his turn to take a chance, and he let her know that the police were after him, for stealing.
She did not flinch, but said, “What did you steal?”, “Food, just food” he said, and that was the truth. They talked more about his family, foster parents, how long had he been on the streets? She was shocked when he told her three years, off and on. Sometimes he was caught and sent to social services. He hated living with foster parents, so he would just run away again.
“What about the shelters?”, she asked. “Too dangerous – people get raped and stabbed, and everything else there.” Again she was shocked. He told her he would have to lie to get in, and say that he was the son of one of the men, otherwise the police were called. He usually only stayed for a few days, got some food, a hot shower, and he was on his way again.
After he was done eating (the platter of lunchmeat and cheese was gone!) he wanted to leave. She asked him one thing before he left. “If I gave you all the food you wanted, would you stop stealing?” He thought about that for a moment, but said, “Yes”.
They met every day at the church, where he ate and they both talked. He told her where he had stolen food from. There were two convenience stores, and the local organic market (the food was much better there). There was also the fancy Italian restaurant on Culver Avenue, where they gave him food at the back door, all because he threatened to cause a scene at the front door and tell customers waiting that he got food poisoning by eating there.
The more they talked the more they became friends. His name was Bobby Hendricks. She not only brought food everyday (with plenty of leftovers) but fresh clothing. At the church he was able to wash up at the sink, and he started feeling human again.
Bobby did not know it, but over a two week period Mrs. Thompson went to the each of the places that Bobby had stolen food from. Many of the thefts they did not know about, but she made a list of estimated costs, and the amounts from what Bobby had described. The bill for the organic grocery store alone was $387.00. At each place she handed the store manager a list, and a check for the items taken. The people were shocked, and some wouldn’t take her money, until she insisted.
The last chapter of this series will be next time. Peace to you!
Microfiction in the spirit of the Christmas Season.
He slipped quietly into the old church at the corner of 4th and Main Street. It was his Christmas tradition, and he was looking forward to it, but he was hoping that no one else would be there. It was warm inside, just the way he remembered. Good he thought, he was alone as he walked down the aisle and into a pew about middle way down. The lights were dim and he felt safe.
He was 12 now, and for the past three years, this was his once a year prayer time. Normally he did not pray, other than an occasional “help” or “I’m hungry”. This year he didn’t have any foster parents, but last year he had to run away in order to be here. He couldn’t stand those people anyway. It was a couple of hours until the big Christmas Eve service, but he didn’t waste any time getting down to the praying.
He knelt, and started with Aunt Margaret. She worked so hard, two jobs in fact, just to live at the apartment with her new husband who was a drunk. He couldn’t take the beatings anymore, so he promised himself he would never go back there. He prayed hard, he did, for Aunt Margaret that God would help her, and that if she needed to leave there too, that He would give her the strength. He asked God to help her to quit smoking, (he hated the smell) and that one day they would not only see each other, but maybe…..well if it was ok…..maybe they could live together. “And please God, give us a place where there are no bugs trying to eat our food”.
It was difficult to pray for his Mom. He hadn’t seen her for years and it was hard to remember now, what she looked like. The only thing he could pray for her, was that God would help her to get off drugs. He unexpectedly cried over this. He had thought before that he was done crying over it, but no – the tears came again. He was praying softly, out loud now. “…..God please help her….”
He prayed for his father, even though he didn’t know who he was. He knew he was out there somewhere, and he thought he should care enough to pray. He was hoping that he was a good man, and not in prison somewhere.
He couldn’t pray for the many foster parents he had had, he just couldn’t. It wasn’t in him to pray for those people. Still kneeling, he was silent. He felt something though, inside like a warmth, and he said, “…ok….I’ll pray for them too”, even if it was grudgingly, he let it fly.
Lastly he prayed for himself. He was asking God for a new coat…. “and could I have some… cheese and crackers?” “I like American cheese the best, but any cheese is good…” Since he was praying softly out loud, he did not hear Mrs. Jeanette Thompson come quietly in a side door, carrying another poinsettia plant to place near the front of the church.
She didn’t notice him at first but she heard a whispering sound, and turned to see who it was. She saw him praying and realized she had seen him before, running around the neighborhood. She smelled him now too, even though he was a good fifty feet away. She put the plant down, and decided to take a chance.
She walked softly, trying not to scare him, and tears began streaming down her face. Maybe it was the fact that she was a widow now, or maybe it was the fact that her only son was out in California caring for nothing other than making a lot of money, or maybe it was because she just loved children, she did not know what it was, but she cared for this boy.
With his eyes closed, he still did not notice her. She stood next to him, bent down, and whispered, “Can I help you?”
Part II of The Child Nobody Wanted, tomorrow. Peace!
It was cold the day they were married but the sun was shining brightly. It was unheard of to get married in the middle of winter, but for this couple it was right and everyone knew it. The Creator had placed them together and that could not be denied. Still, it was difficult to know how to celebrate.
A large fire was built in the center of the village and the people gathered. There was some singing, first in Tsi, and then there were some songs in the Grie language. A few people danced, but then covered themselves again in thick buffalo robes due to the cold. At first the young couple were standing only in their clothing – she in her white and blue dress, and he in his traditional red clothing, but several friends on both sides insisted they be covered with thick buffalo robes, so they were.
Thunder Speaking was nervous, but not just because of the great love he had for Bluebird. Something important was happening in the village today. Different peoples were coming together as one. There were the Tsi people, the Grie people, and himself, the lone person from the Ite (pronounced Ee-teh) people. It was a wedding for all of them.
Bluebird was not nervous at all, in fact she was bursting with anticipation. She wanted to be married and right now! In fact as the women were helping her to get ready, and helping her with her wedding dress, Bluebird had a vision. She had a vision of a bright orange flower in the summer time that had been closed, but opened up, baring itself to the strong, bright rays of the sunshine. She decided not to say anything about it though. She would tell her husband when the time was right.
After the singing and dancing, Thunder Speaking spoke for the first time publicly in his original language. Actually he sang a wedding prayer for his wife, that went like this:
May you always live with happiness,
live with happiness,
may I always be worthy of your love,
worthy of your love,
may we always be protected,
and may we have a very long life,
a very long life,
He sang it in the Ite language first and then the translation came as he sang in Tsi. He had been practicing this for a long time, and at the end he thought it went well. Many people thought his original language sounded like water flowing over rocks.
Cricket in the Meadow shared the blessings of smoke, which touched each person there, and they sensed the presence of the Great Spirit. Standing on the Mountain said a few words about the blessings of marriage, but due to the weather he made it short.
As he stood watching his daughter getting married, Bull Elk had mixed feelings. Where did his daughter go? She was just a girl the other day, running and playing, and now here she was, a grown woman getting married. He was sad, and yet the love these two shared was special. He looked over at the face of his wife, Holds the Fire, and saw tears streaming. Yes, love was good he thought, and right. Everything made sense with love.
Bull Elk also performed the Grie custom of tying the young couple’s arms together, one arm from each, symbolizing unity and oneness. And then came the tradition of putting one blanket over the two of them, and the ceremony was over.
A strong fire was burning in the lodge of Thunder Speaking and Bluebird that night, along with a great deal of tenderness. They both flew high many times on the wings of love, and they went far above the clouds, into the heavens, and then down again.
They both fell asleep dreaming about warmer weather and going for long walks with each other. At one point she woke up, and covered his bare chest with the blanket they had been given by the people. She placed her hand in his, and fell back to sleep.
Note: More to come in this series, in a few days! Thanks for reading! Peace.
Seven Hawks had a problem, and he did not know how to tell his wife about it. They both lay in their lodge, awake one night, not knowing what to say. How could he tell her he wanted to stay here and live with the Tsi? The plan had been from the very beginning, to stay with the Tsi over the winter, and then in the spring they would begin a new Grie village somewhere else.
He loved the people here. There was something about them that made them different. They seemed more… connected somehow. He remembered his family visiting the Tsi when he was a boy, and he noticed then their spirituality. He also played games with the Tsi boys then, such as Whirlwind, and Standing on the Mountain, and lately he was able to get to know them as men. They were becoming more of his “brothers” than the Grie men were, in his old village. He turned over again towards his wife, and looked at her. Noticing she was still awake, he lifted his head, and thought about kissing her but she turned away.
Prairie Flower also had a problem. She could not figure out how to tell her husband that she wanted to stay here, and it bothered her to no end. It was the way the Tsi people treated them more than anything else. It was the love and respect they gave the Grie, that impressed her the most.
Her husband was a huge man, with a chest and shoulders more like a horse than a man’s. His arms were like two small trees. Over the years he had saved more than one life simply because he had the strength of three men. But he was the most gentle and humble man she had ever met, and that’s why she married him. She wanted their children to have his personality. In spite of her name, she knew she was too often harsh, and he smoothed her out with his gentleness, like no one else could.
Because of his gentle ways, her husband never got the respect that he should have, in their old village. She knew deep down that was one the reasons they left. She was also tired of the jealousy from other women at the old village. Young women would often giggle as he walked by, hoping to catch his attention. Even married women whispered cruel jokes about him. It often made her angry and sick in her heart.
Everything was different here though. They had been here two months already and the people respected her and her husband for who they were – on the inside. Then too the relationship between Thunder Speaking and Bluebird was the most amazing thing she had ever seen. It was supernatural really.
Thinking about this couple inspired her to get up for a while, and work on Bluebird’s wedding dress. Holds the Fire, had given her the tremendous honor of helping to make it. It was a beautiful white buckskin, with fringes and beadwork. Prairie Flower loved doing beadwork and as she sewed carefully she heard her husband gently snore. She loved hearing that sound, and smiled because of it.
She would also be installing a beautiful and distinctive blue color at the top of the dress. The Grie were known far and wide, for this color they used so often, to decorate their clothing and horses. It reminded her people of the blue sky and deep blue lakes.
She decided that in the morning she would talk to him. She had a peace about this, and she knew deep down they would stay. She would also tell him about the new child she was carrying. She smiled again, realizing how close this would draw them together.
Note: Next time – the wedding! Blessings of peace to you!
The more she learned about him the more she loved him. When he told Bluebird about leaving his original village near the coast, she cried. She was horrified about his people dying, and that the village was mostly abandoned. She thought out loud that maybe the Grie and Tsi should go and fight the bad people there. He pondered this for a moment and said, “Then we would be no better than they are”. She cried again and held a hand over her mouth, this time because she was so happy the Creator had given her this particular man.
Both the Grie and Tsi people made sure the young couple had time together. They talked freely for hours, only occasionally stumbling over words, smiling or laughing about it. Sometimes they were outside but mostly they were in a lodge. A lot of shifting had taken place since the Grie people arrived. The Tsi people were one of the few that had lodges for their supplies. This was especially important in the winter, and included food for their horses. Supplies and people were moved so that each of the Grie families now had their own lodge. The young couples did share their space, but only with extra supplies of food.
Thunder Speaking was living alone in his lodge again, which was good for having people visit. Bull Elk and Seven Hawks were regular visitors. At first he thought the visits were just social, but he caught on they were also teaching him about the Grie people. Their origins and customs were of a particular interest to him. They spent hours talking together, eating, and smoking the pipe.
As his love for her grew, there were times when she came to his lodge, and he loved these times! She would fuss over his arm, and they both were busy setting up the lodge for when they were married. They talked about their lives and their dreams. They often kissed, and held one another, but stopped before it went any further. “Soon” they both said, smiling.
Since they were near the forest some of the Grie and Tsi men went deer hunting, and Thunder Speaking went along for the ride, even though he could not hold a bow yet. They were stretching their supplies by going hunting in between storms. The Grie were clearly impressed with the fact that there were so many deer and elk living in the area. Bull Elk spoke in perfect Tsi, “this is a good land”.
When his mother, Cricket in the Meadow, came to visit she always spoke about her relationship with Lone Horse. He learned about men and women, how they see things differently, what makes them think a certain way, and how to resolve conflicts. She did this by telling stories, and what she and Lone Horse did in different situations. He could clearly see a light coming from her face. She would often stir the fire when she spoke, but he could also see the image of Lone Horse’s spirit sitting next to her, nodding his head in agreement, and smiling. Thunder Speaking always thanked his mother for these visits but he really had no words to express his gratitude for the gifts of wisdom that she shared.
After she left, he would always sit alone and ponder her words. She truly was a mother to him, and he knew without a doubt, that the Creator was living in this village – his village – and that he belonged here…. among the Tsi and Grie people.