The Old Man on the Street Corner – Conclusion

Vacation 1136

Staff Sargent Gordon McConnell (retired) woke up in the veteran’s hospital the next day. He was a bit disoriented and did not remember much about the day before, only that he had been yelling. There was an IV in his arm, along with a lot of doctors and nurses, running around.

They asked him a lot of questions. Was he taking his diabetes medication? He couldn’t remember. Had he been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in the past? He honestly couldn’t remember much of anything, but he did remember taking pills every day, that is until……until his wife…died. Everything went downhill after that.

The Army sent psychologists to his room to ask him questions but he wouldn’t say much. He didn’t trust them. He never did trust officers, they seemed to know more about paperwork, than about war, at least that was his experience. Besides he knew he had a memory problem, and he didn’t want to trust anyone except the nurses, because they gave him the medication he needed and they were nice to him.

He had a visitor everyday as well. A nice guy – he wore a suit all the time, and a fancy one at that. What was his name? Was it…..? Yes, it was John. He trusted John. He told John everything, day after day, at least what he could remember.

He told John that he did have an apartment once, and told him about where it was. One day he had gotten lost and days later, when he thought he had found it, his key did not work. So he had been on the streets ever since. “Was that after your wife died?” Gordon couldn’t hold back the tears when John asked him that, but he shook his head. “Was her name….Beverly?” John asked softly. Gordon shook his head yes again, and wept with his face in his hands.

John Stancill worked quickly to find Gordon’s apartment, and to see what had happened to it. The woman at the rental office wasn’t too friendly, and seemed to enjoy telling him, that Gordon McConnell was in the process of being evicted. The rent was two months past due. He held back his anger, but he did ask, if she knew that Mrs. McConnell had died recently. “Well…no…I’m sorry”. She changed her tune even further when John got out his check book, and took care of everything.

John and Gordon became good friends. The Army wouldn’t release Gordon to go home by himself, so John promised to pay for in home nursing care six days a week. John himself would be there on Sundays. At first the Army said no, but then John showed them his investment portfolio. Even John was surprised at how much he was worth now. This got him thinking that maybe, just maybe, he could try a different type of work, and do something he always wanted to do.

He visited Gordon almost every night, and brought pizza, Gordon’s favorite. Gordon became like a father to him, and gave him great advice, including about women.

One night John came visiting without his suit and tie on, instead he wore a sweater and blue jeans! He told Gordon he had left his rat race job that made him work around the clock. He had enrolled in a cooking school, and loved it. He loved the fast pace of it, and more importantly the aspect of being creative. He felt alive again!

He had time now for reading books, going for long walks, and yes even dating. He met a girl at school he really liked. Her name was Susan, and she had a great personality. She was always making jokes, which forced him to not take his self so seriously (a problem he knew he had). She was sensitive though too, and well…um….there was also her appearance! Gosh.

Gordon didn’t know if John would marry Susan or not, but he was hoping he would live long enough to see it if they did get married, and that there would be enough of his own mind left, so he could remember it all.

from veterans.ky.gov via google
from veterans.ky.gov via google

Please remember the homeless this holiday season. Just one life can make an incredible difference, and we all have value! Peace!

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

The Old Man on the Street Corner

from clayforsberg.net
from clayforsberg.net

He hated the homeless. Why should he feel guilty about wearing a suit, and having a good job in the financial market? After all he worked hard for his money. Even when he wasn’t working he was working, at home on the computer, or on the phone. He was always trying to find out which way the market was leaning.

Yet every day there they were, with their signs, saying “Need Food, God bless”. Each one seemed to have a particular corner, like a salesman with a territory. He wondered if they ever fought over which corner to be on.

He noticed one of them in particular, on the corner of Independence and Main Street. He was an old man, and had to be at least 70 years old. What was he doing out here? He was much too old to be out in this weather. He always needed a shave and a bath, and wasn’t there some kind of government program to help the man? Even with these thoughts though, he never gave a dime. He rushed past the old man every day in a hurry, to get to his office around the corner.

On the day after Christmas though he thought he would do the kind thing, and talk to the man. He slowed down his walking pace, and stopped. The old man seemed to be in a daze, and didn’t notice him. He had a walking cane, and instead of holding his sign up, it hung by his side. “Hellooo!” he said sarcastically. The old man looked up slowly, and squarely into eyes.

He found out the man’s name was Gordon. When he asked the old man about his Christmas (which was stupid, and he regretted saying it) the old man said, “Christmas? What Christmas?” Did he know what day it was? This was worse than he thought, and he realized this man needed help! For the first time in his life he was able to pry his wallet from his back pocket, and gave the old man a ten dollar bill. The old man thanked him, but was mumbling something as he walked away. Did he hear him say something about the Viet Cong?

Over the next few days the old man’s mumbling and acting confused got worse. At one point he was yelling the name Beverly. “Beverly!”, with streams of tears rolling down his face, “Beverly!” What should he do for the old man? Should he call someone? Who? The police? That didn’t seem right. The old man dropped to his knees, and sobbed.

He was already late for an appointment, so walked he further down, near the door to his office, but he could not do it. He just didn’t care about the office right now. He turned to watch the man from a distance, still weeping, and calling the name Beverly.

Suddenly the old man stood up with terror in his eyes, leaning over his walking cane, and started yelling, “Enemy fire!” “Enemy fire, get down everyone!” “Help us God!” “Get down!” He was yelling at the top of his lungs now, “Enemy fiiiiire!”

He could stand it no longer and reached for his phone. He dialed 911 with tears in his own eyes.

from thenextweb.com via google
from thenextweb.com via google

The conclusion to the Old Man on the Corner next time!

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

The Child Nobody Wanted – Conclusion

by Vivienne Gucwa
by Vivienne Gucwa

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”.

Epilogue:

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.

 Snow Tree

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree