Friday, October 27, 2006

One Blanket

Hey all, sorry it's been some time since my last post, but I've just really been struggling with how to put my thoughts on this matter into words. I didn't want to come off as being a hard-ass, and yet, I didn't want to look like a big pansy either.

Here's the issue - Homelessness - more specifically, the homeless shelter I drive by every morning on my way to work. I talked to "B" about this or rather purged my thoughts to her about it, so she probably thinks I'm a BIG OL' GIRL or something and I am old, I'll give her that. :) But what I saw at the beginning of the week outside that shelter was something that I couldn't seem to shake. Who am I kidding, I still can't seem to shake it from my thoughts, I mean I drive by there EVERYDAY and yes, there is an alternate route, but it's longer and with Atlanta traffic you take the shortest way possible, if you can.

On Wednesday, the 25th, it was very cold here, well cold by Atlanta standards, 38 degrees, wind blowing hard, just cold, even I was wearing a leather coat, driving gloves and a scarf and I'm a DAMN YANKEE!

Like every other day, I drive by the homeless shelter. Now, I don't know these people, they don't know me, but after awhile you learn the faces and recognize the new ones and wonder where the old ones went, you know who sits where, who sleeps where, who's first in line, every day, without fail, as if it's some sort of street hierarchy. You being to see people wrapped in dirty blankets, wearing hats, sometimes with gloves, sometimes not. Sometimes with shoes, sometimes just socks, sometimes nothing but bare feet.

But that day, that day I noticed something I'd never seen before and I'm pretty observant. A baby, in a stroller, old enough to sit up and hold onto the cross bar, maybe a little younger than my nephew, who just turned 1, but maybe older, I don't know for sure. But this baby seemed so small, even with a coat and hat on, even with a blanket wrapped around him/her. And this baby appeared to be with 3 adults, all women, one seemed to be the mother. Did I mention it was cold. I mean nose-running, eye watering cold. Too cold for a baby, regardless of how he/she was dressed. Too cold to be sitting outside the Soup Kitchen waiting for them to open. Too cold.

I keep a blanket in my car for my dog Max to sit on when we travel. It's just a cheap, 5.00 fleece, nothing extraordinary, but it's clean and I had just washed it. I drove by the baby, I drove to the gated, access card only, parking lot for the building I work in. I parked my car. I got out and started walking toward the office. Too cold. I started to cry, not a snot-nosed, bawling cry, but my eyes teared up and I thought, "who do you THINK you are, you with your clean Ralph Lauren shirt and slacks, RayBan sunglasses, LLBean bag, leather jacket, leather gloves, expensive shoes? I mean really JR, with a clean, warm extra blanket in your car, WHO.DO.YOU.THINK.YOU.ARE?" Too cold. And I realized, I'm no better than those homeless people, I'm just damn lucky and blessed.

I got back in my car, left the lot, drove back to the shelter, got out of the car, and yeah I was nervous, desperate times, call for desperate measures. I took the blanket out, walked over to that mother and said "this is for your baby, use it to keep her warm." I walked away, she said "hey lady, who are you?" I said, from behind charcoal/grey lenses, "I'm nobody special or important, keep your baby warm and have a good day." Before I closed the door, I heard her say "naw, lady, you gots to be my angel."

Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. But if one blanket makes a difference....then so be it.


Blogger Big Pissy said...

That post really touched me, J R.

Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

Have a good weekend. :)

8:56 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

That was incredibly sweet, jr.


That woman will remember you FOREVER and don't you foget that.


1:49 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...


My bad.

1:49 PM  
Blogger an ordinary individual said...

you are just one of those veryday heros that makes the rest of us stop and think about how petty we can be and yearn to be better people by following you example.

3:05 PM  
Blogger dirk.mancuso said...

I know I am the king of snark and bitchery, but it comes with great sincerity when I say that was a wonderful thing you did. It may have just been a blanket to you, but for that woman and her child it was probably damn near priceless.

Big hug.


12:36 PM  
Blogger PhreaqueOnaLeash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Softball Slut said...

That was a beautiful thing to do. For you it may have been a small $5 fleece. To her, it meant that her baby would be warm this winter. Remember that

11:43 AM  

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