Monday, March 07, 2011

Last night I watched "60 Minutes."  One of their stories reminded me of my own situation in a previous life a quarter century ago.  The story was about a middle-class family of five from Florida who had lost their home and lived in their van and then in a motel, paid for by the father's day labor.  When he could no longer get that work and was fearing he'd be kicked out of the motel, he wrote out a sign begging for work and stood on a corner.  The daughter, no more than 12, told how embarrassed she was living like they did and was especially shamed thinking he was her father begging for work.  She and her brother were very articulate kids and I was reminded of a time gone by, the fall of 1987.  Carlton and I had escaped serious abuse from his dad (who has been long gone all these years since).  I was very hard pressed for money, and Carlton was lending me enough to get by on from his various odd jobs and paper-route money.   Then one November afternoon, one of the ministers from our church stopped by with a 20-lb. turkey and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner.  What could I do but be gracious and thank him for the kindness, but as soon as he left shame flooded over me.  I pulled myself together by the time Carlton came home from school, and casually remarked that Dick Doeden had stopped by with a nice turkey and some other things.  I should have expected his response.  He exploded.  Why did you take it!  I can get extra work.  We don't have to take hand-outs.  What if people find out!  I can't believe you accepted it!  He probably felt more shame than I did.  I wonder if we're the only people whose Thanksgiving has been spoiled by wonderful well-meaning people.  It was a grim time for us, but surely not as grim as this family from Florida.

In the midst of my reminiscence prompted by this shamed girl on TV, I painted.  (How times have changed).  We get a lot of traffic on Breton Road where our shop is, and this big metal fish will hopefully let people know we're not just a spring-summer seasonal store, as they sometimes assume.