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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, September 17, 2006



Item the first:
I believe that I have told you earlier about Carl, the “homeless” black guy, who thinks (probably with accuracy) the he owns the franchise on me.  While I was visiting my daughter in South Carolina a few months ago, Carl disappeared.  One day he was coming by every couple of days looking for cars to wash, lawn to mow, weeds to pull, and if nothing else works, “a favor” (which means enough money for a meal or--), the next day he was gone.  He left some remembrances in the form of bicycle parts he had scrounged, and an old lawnmower he was repairing, so, though moving his “stuff” out of view I still remembered his existence.  I even missed him a little when I was trying to talk number two son into mowing the lawn, or trying to find an excuse not to do it myself.

The first of last week, he showed up, energetic as ever, looking for something to do, or a “favor” .   I asked him where he had been, and he answered me in his own particular patois of ebonics, gullah, and slurred syllables.  (He has a language of his own, that reminds me of my youth when I used to speak to my mother in “Jazz”.  It was just intelligible enough so that if anything went wrong, I could say “But Mom, I told you all about it, remember when----“) and I still don’t have a clue.  I thought that they had probably violated his parole and sent him back to jail, but he wasn’t gone long enough for that.

Anyway, he mowed the lawn, moved his trashy bicycle parts out to the place where the city will pick them up, raked a bunch of leaves, and got away with twenty bucks.  The next day he came to knock on the door to tell me PROUDLY, that he had a job.  He is going to work at the chicken factory (Claxton Poultry) down in Claxton, about twenty five miles away.  He actually had tears in his eyes he was so proud, and I had tears in mine, I was just about as proud as he was.

Now comes the kicker.  He needs more work today because he has to buy gas for the old man who is going to “carry” him to work and back, and he won’t get paid till the twentieth so he needs a little food money- - - you know the drill.   With one thing and another he is almost up to a hundred bucks now, and I have come to the conclusion that I can’t afford to have him have a job.   I am also running out of stuff for him to do.  He is coming in tomorrow (his day off) to work off four hours of work for which I have already paid him, and I know, in my heart, he is desperately going to want something else to do so that he can make another ten bucks, and on and on and on.

He is becoming like my Pride of feral cats.  A year or so ago, I was troubled with squirrels eating all the pecans off my pecan tree.  An old tomcat came around, so I gave him a little bowl of kittie kibble each evening, and he took serious care of the squirrels.  Soon he brought a friend to dinner and now I have eleven cats, including three of the cutest little kittens, who feed in my yard.  I saw one of them yesterday lying in the sun watching   a squirrel climb the pecan tree.  Mind you these are totally wild cats.  Most of them won’t allow me to touch them, but if dinner is late they will yowl to remind me.  (The three kittens are actually domesticated to the degree that they will climb in my lap—a mixed blessing since I am allergic to cats.)
Any way, now I have Carl, and if he shows up with a friend (particularly a lady friend) they are both dead meat.   (I am thinking similarly of the cats, but I am such a softy.)

Item the second.
I heard an interview on TV this morning that in Las Cruces, New Mexico, someone is holding the whole city for ransom.  The bad guy (or guys, or girls, or both) have sent a couple of letters to the newspapers and to the Police force stating that unless  a certain ransom (no word from the cops how much, etc.) is paid, the baddies are going to start shooting  (sniper attacks) random members of the community.  The cops are taking this very seriously (as indeed they should) and have even brought in the FBI.

The potential disaster makes my mind boggle.  People in New Mexico carry their own guns (They are as bad at having a rifle rack in the back window of the pickup as are Georgians—my current residence).  Generally I think this is a good thing, keeping down crime rates (who is going to try to rob you if you will shoot him in return).   But the thought of a lot of gun carrying folks walking around nervous because other gun carrying folks have threatened to randomly shoot the citizens make me nervous as heck.  It sounds a lot like Baghdad on the Rio Grande.  (I suspect that Las Cruces isn’t right on the Rio Grande, but it sounded right).  I’m also  pretty sure I wouldn’t like to be an illegal wandering around  the city taking his boss’s gun to the gun shop or something.


At 9:07 PM, Blogger Leann said...

Good evening,

I found your blog through Posted Note and just wanted to stop by and say hello.

I enjoyed reading your post and commend you on the feral cat escapade. It takes special people to care for cats, allergic or not.

O.k...I'm done rambling in your space :-)

At 5:53 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

Lol! Leann's comment was hardly a ramble! This is going to be a "ramble"! ;)

You left a "thank you" over at my blog for visiting you as often as I do. Why wouldn't I? I love your writing.

You are a nice man. Eleven cats when you are allergic to cats. Wow! As to your resident homeless person whom I am suspecting of not really having a job and just milking you for as much as he can, I don't know what I would do. Probably the same thing you are - up to a point. There's a limit to one's patience, and I suspect you will find your limit here very soon. My priest says every homeless person could be Jesus just checking you out. Heh! I don't think this guy fits the bill. Jesus wouldn't take advantage of anyone. :)

I drove through Las Cruces about three weeks ago. It's a gorgeous city, which is something I don't often say abut cities. No, it's not on the Rio Grand. It's snuggled at the base of the Organ Mountains about 45 minutes drive West of El Paso. I hate to hear that it's under seige. I hope they get those two and put them away for a long time. I don't know why I haven't heard about this before.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

You've got the patience of a saint. Carl's not so bad but feral cats - I can't stand them.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

They would be hell on a chicken farmer.

At 6:37 AM, Blogger Norma said...

Good stories as usual.

Wanted to stop and wish you God-speed and travel mercies for the Finland trip.

Although I have no knowledge of wi-fi places, it is a very high tech place (at least Helsinki was), so I'm sure you'll find a hot spot or two and keep us updated. We were staying with friends, and I occasionally could get to a computer. Still, I waited til I got home for most of the long stuff and uploading photos. We older folks know how to keep a real paper log, right? Actually, I'm not quite finished yet, but I know you'll get right on it as soon as you get home.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

10 02 06

Hey Richard:
Whatever you do, I wish you success. Regarding Carl, well you know what is up with him but he could always wig out and be dangerous. I don't wanna sound paranoid, but I see too many things on Court TV about some good hearted saint helping out an indigent and the repayment for the help was, well, very very very bad.

So I will pray that you get out of that place soon and don't bother with Carl. Maybe I have seen too many homeless people and crackheads to have trust in my heart for them. In either case, you are a good man for trying to help him out and I see that it is partially reciprocal because of the work he does for you. Nevertheless I advise strong caution and will be praying for you:)


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