Thursday, August 29, 2013

Homeless

I was told by a local police officer that the number of  homeless people living on the streets has grown considerably here in our town.  They mainly live on the east side of town (my side) and Ron and I see a few every once in awhile but for the most part they are invisible. 

The officer explained that part of the problem is that we have Red Rock Behavioral Center here on the grounds of Griffin Memorial Hospital.  They are an emergency crisis intervention center.  Towns in Oklahoma bring individuals in crisis to the center, many are brought in by their local law enforcement, however it's a one-way ticket.  When the person is no longer a threat to themselves or others they are released.  Many have no family or anyone to come pick them up so they simply stay in Norman and live on the street.  That's also why the homeless population is so high on the east side of town.  

Yesterday on my way home from work I passed the bag lady. She has a grocery cart filled with all her worldly belongings and a white and brown dog tied to the handle.   

Ron and I first saw this woman about a year ago.  She looks to be in her early to mid 50's.  At that time she only had a few items in her grocery cart but the same white dog.  The cart was so bare at that time we often saw the dog riding in the basket.  Once I glanced in her basket while it was parked outside the restaurant we were about to enter.  She was inside ordering a sandwich and her dog remained outside in the cart.  He was watching her intently through the window.

Inside her cart I noticed a small bedroll and a few items of clothing.  There were some bottles of water and not much more.  I couldn't help but wonder if she had food for her dog let alone herself.  

The only thing that identified her as possibly homeless was the grocery cart and bedroll.  To look at her she was just an ordinary middle aged woman.  At the counter she removed her wallet from her purse and paid for her sandwich.  She was dressed in a pair of knit pants and a blouse.  She was wearing a knit hat on her head which was a little odd since it was warm weather but that was the only unusual thing about her.

It had been a long time since I last saw her.  I mentioned it to Ron not long ago and he said he hadn't seen her either.  We both had wondered where she slept at night and where did she go during the cold weather.  But yesterday there she was with her companion.  This time the cart will so full she struggled to push it down the sidewalk.  It looked like a small mountain of stuff.  I guess her dog no longer gets to be a passenger and must walk beside her all the time.

This morning as I sat at the street light waiting to turn toward the hospital where I work a very thin man crossed in the crosswalk.  He was carrying a blue bedroll with a backpack on his back.  Homeless?  Perhaps.  Most Likely.  I wonder if they know each other or do they just wish to be left alone.

I guess I can't help but think of my own family members battling the effects of mental illness.  I know that the only thing that stands between them and the streets are the people who love them and refuse to give up.

2 comments:

Paisely Brook said...

it is extremely sad. I used to see a black man that walked across my parking lot every morning to go to Wal-Mart to eat breakfast at McDonalds. I haven't seen him in months and worry. He must have had a stroke because he drug one of his feet and he didn't have use of the arm on the same side. He would often stop and rest on the curb.

I used to have a guy that would gather my carts when I worked at my last job. When it was really hot I would buy him a coke.

Yesterday, the really old guy was standing at the corner. I stopped and handed him a water and told him it was way too hot for him to be outside. I did see a lady stop and bring him a meal.

You are a saint, if it weren't for you, no telling where Mike or Sister would be, thank you for all that you do.

girls cosutme said...

nice post...
thanks for sharing ...