This is me at the Waffle House on New Year’s Day. It was a great way to start the year. I especially love the Waffle House when it you don’t have to wait and the waitress is good. We had both. I wish I had a Waffle House close by. This one was in Fort Worth.
That is also my new hat I got for Christmas and I love. My cousin saw me in it and my big bulky winter coat on New Year’s Eve and he asked “Where’s your shopping cart?” I can see where you might be able to see a bag lady wearing it, but I love it. It’s even made of recycled material, so it is more than Â just the color green.
This morning I was flipping through some pictures in my computer and that picture was there as a thumbnail and it was sideways so it was hard to immediately recognize it as “me.” My first thought when I saw it was of a woman that was a listener to me on the radio in the old days. It is not a comparison I would want anyone else to draw. She was not a bag lady and I don’t think she was homeless, but she was one of the most mentally unstable people I ever had as a listener. At least the most “off” that I met face-to-face.
Her name escapes me right now, but I would hate to identify her by name anyway. She would call sometimes and seemed to be on her medications and to be doing fine. She was very pleasant and intelligent. I think she might have been a schoolteacher at one time.
Other time she would call and tell me long stories about her son being Jesus Christ and how she was the commander of a fleet of spaceships. I wish I had a transcript of her rants and the title she gave herself. Something along the lines of “I am the commander of the most high Enterprise Atlantis Jupiter commander Sam Houston Texas Lost City warplane first of December starfleet,” except that makes too much sense and was about a tenth of the length of her true “title.” And she would say these things with no hesitation or stumbling. I can’t even try to type it without thinking and pausing. When she called and was agitated, there was no calming her down and no way to make sense of her spiel. She was very often paranoid about the people that were out to get her.
She would have remained an odd caller only if she hadn’t come to the cafe one night where we had the music series. I think she told a waiter to go tell me that she was there so I did venture over to meet her and get to know her. She had a hat, like mine above except more like Gilligan’s so it was nothing like mine. She brought me flowers from the grocery store. She was very sweet and a little odd, but not “weird” at all when we visited. She was a very heavy woman with a walker and had great difficulty moving around, so I was amazed that she had made her way out to this show in the first place. We talked and I have pictures of her somewhere that I took at the time.
Now I can’t remember if it was that night or another night later that she came again to the music series show and then came to the after party that we had at a local bar. I was standing outside of the bar with the kids that handled the prizes and the equipment for the remote broadcast and we saw a small pick-up trying to park in a spot that was blocking a drive. We wondered what was going on and then the door opened and there was this woman. Where she had parked looked like it had a quick easy access to the front doors of the club, but really you had to go around a very long fenced area to get in. I could see she parked there to be able to go straight to the front doors, but that wouldn’t happen. So the kids and I made our way around that long fenced area to talk to her. The poor woman was struggling to get her walker out of the bed of the pick-up and to come to see me. She was completely deranged and addled. I talked to her a bit, but had to order her to put her walker away (well, we did that for her) and to go home. I felt so sorry for her because she wanted to be my friend and come visit with me, but she was completely unstable. I didn’t want to involve police because she did seem to be able to drive and get places and take care of herself to some degree. But I sure worried that she would get lost. She called the next day so I knew she was home and she was fine then and seemed to have her medication.
I think about a lot of listeners like her that I have had over the years and wonder if they are okay. It is incredibly sad to think of the number of people that need a caretaker of some kind to help them live their daily lives. I hope someone is giving her more care now than they were then.