The Greeter – Part Two

Armed with my flashlight and protected under the cover of darkness, I made my way uptown.  As soon as I had the clock in sight, out of nowhere it seemed, a police car was slowly driving by.
The officers shined their “perpetrator light” on me as if I was a burglar who was casing a store.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to say if they asked me what I was doing.  Should I lie and say “I’m walking through a dark, deserted town, looking for my lost dog or should I be honest and say “I’m looking for the greeter?”

They must have decided that I had no ill intentions, so they drove away.  Temporarily blinded by the light, it took a few seconds to regain my vision and when I did, I could see that the greeter was not there.

The next day, I decided to walk back uptown and revisit the shop owners.  This time I was going to ask if they knew where the greeter went at night.  I was a little concerned that I might start to annoy them but this is the kind of place where everybody knows everybody and it almost seems to be illegal for anybody to be rude.

I was met with a smile and kind words when they all answered “I really don’t know, dear.”  I didn’t accept that so I asked if they didn’t wonder where “somebody who has always been there” slept at night.  In every store, with perfect timing, as soon as I asked that question, a customer would walk in and the owners would “excuse themselves.”

The fire department was just a block away and feeling that I was an honorary part of the “brotherhood” by default, I walked into the station.  There were four firefighters on duty.  They welcomed me and offered me a cup of coffee.  They introduced themselves as Chip the probie, Danny the engineer, Edward the lieutenant and Bob the paramedic, also known as “the elder.”  Bob was a seasoned firefighter, just months away from retirement.  I smiled as I thought “my grandpa was named Bob.”

I told them that I was interested in information about the greeter.  It was like a broken record.  Almost in unison, they said “he’s been here for as long as anybody can remember.”  I told them I understood that but I was interested in where he slept at night.

Bob locked eyes with me and I felt a strange, almost mystical connection.  He seemed to want to talk to me but as if being “saved by the bell,” the tones sounded.  I called to him as he got on the truck and asked if I could come by tomorrow.  He gave me a nod and looked at me with almost the same kind of sadness you see from somebody you know you are never going to see again.

I’ve seen that look before, especially from older firefighters.  Their job is dangerous and fear is part of that job but when you’re “short” that fear intensifies, I think.
Literally a minute later, a second tone sounded and I could hear another station being dispatched.

In this little town at best, you might hear a fire truck or a lone police siren once a month.  Suddenly, all I could hear were sirens.  I knew something big was happening.  Knowing the EMS system, I also knew that trying to follow them was not the thing to do, although I was tempted.

I left, excited about meeting with Bob again.  I knew that I was going to get answers, enjoyed a moment of near exhilaration and came just shy of patting myself on the back.

I don’t think I realized that this seemingly ordinary, yet mysterious man known only as “the greeter,” was going to become an obsession.

I went back into the heart of town, sat down on a park bench and just watched.  I was being smug when I thought “Ha.  I’m going to know your story tomorrow.”  As soon as I had that thought, a wave of regret suddenly gripped me, as if I had just unintentionally imposed a death sentence on him.  I have to say that it chilled me to the bone.  I got up and walked back to the safety of my house, periodically glancing back, worried that maybe the greeter was following me.

The sirens were still blaring and whatever catastrophe had happened, was close.  I selfishly thought that I hoped all would be silent when it was time to go to bed.

A soon as I got home, the worry eased and maybe as sort of an unspoken apology, I decided I would sketch the greeter.  With charcoal in hand, he was going to come to life on my paper, standing on the mound in his “field of dreams.”  I had always been a pretty fair artist and had sketched everybody from my children to my neighbors so I had no doubt about my abilities.

I had memorized every facet of him so my portrayal was going to be as accurate as any photo I could have taken.  He wore a nondescript baseball cap that shielded his dark and weathered face.  His long-sleeved, green flannel shirt hung loosely over a plain, black t-shirt.  He wore what looked like work pants and his boots were always untied.  When the weather was chilly, he wore a long, brown trench coat with an upturned collar but it was never buttoned.  I wanted every detail to be perfect.

After about an hour, I was ready to admire my work but as I gazed at the paper, I was horrified to see that it was blank.

 

To be continued………..

 

 

 

 

 

The Greeter – Part One

A huge, pedestal clock stands in the center of our small town.  It is surrounded by a wrought iron fence and flanked on either side by the split street.  It was placed there when the town was first established and has been untouched as a memorial to days gone by.  Even though hair salons and specialized craft stores inhabit the buildings along Main Street, thankfully the wonderful, decorative store fronts have been preserved.
If you move to our little town or just simply visit, you will see a man standing by the clock.

He is known as “the greeter.”

The first time I saw him from across the street, he gave me a polite nod and a timid, brief glance from his downcast eyes.  I didn’t give him a second thought.  It wasn’t until a few months later that I actually took notice.

When a young man walked out of a restaurant to smoke a cigarette, I asked him if he knew who the man was.  I jokingly asked him if he was the “clock guardian” because he was always there.

The young man said “all I know is that he has been there for as long as anybody can remember.”  He put out his cigarette, told me to have a “good one” and walked away.

I started walking uptown for the sole purpose of finding out about this man.  I thought “he might make a good story.”  I watched him while making mental notes that I filed away in what I hoped would be my massive collection of information.

Now and then, he takes the almost perfect pose of a baseball pitcher.  He looks left, right and straight ahead, with the intensity of a professional.  He approves or rejects imaginary signs from a non-existent catcher.  When he sees the sign he wants, he swings his arms back and forth but then pauses as if a time out has been called.
I have never seen him actually throw a pitch.

Who is this mystery man?  Is he perhaps a veteran or maybe a wall-street tycoon who abandoned the rat race for the simple life in a sleepy little town?  Could he have at one time, long ago, actually been a professional baseball player?  Is he a store owner?  Is he homeless?

Determined to put my best, self-taught investigative reporting skills to work, I made it my mission to find out more.

I started with the basics.  I visited every store and started asking questions.  The answers were unanimous from both shop owners and patrons.  Nobody knew anything about him except that “he has been there for as long as anybody can remember.”

There seems to be an unwritten rule that he is never to be approached but I would not be deterred by rules, whether written or unwritten.

I put on my big girl panties and decided to walk up to him and start a conversation.  If nothing else I thought, I’ll try to get a picture but I was stopped cold by a sudden, uneasy feeling.  Even from a distance, it was almost as if I was about to violate something sacred.
I backed off and I could hear him mumbling something incoherently and he immediately went into his “pitching” stance.  He was so believable, I was momentarily afraid of actually getting hit with an invisible ball.

With some distance between us, the uneasiness subsided.  I didn’t get a picture but I was even more determined to get answers.

I had been unsuccessful with the shop-owners and their patrons so my next step was the library.  I combed through all the records that were available.  There was absolutely no mention of this man in any newspaper article or any other public record.
I couldn’t make sense of there being no evidence of somebody who had been around “for as long as anybody could remember.”

I went to the police station and talked to a very nice officer.  When I started quizzing him, he said “oh, yes…the greeter,” but he offered no information.  His official statement, like all the others was “he’s been here for as long as anybody can remember.”
Was this a stock answer?  It was the same answer from everybody I questioned.

That answer was not good enough.  I wanted to go back uptown when it got dark.  I wanted to know where this man slept.  This little town proverbially “rolls up the sidewalks” at night.  I couldn’t imagine that he slept next to the clock.  He had to sleep somewhere and I was going to find out where.

 

To be continued……………

 

 

 

 

 

Time

Time can be measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries.
Time steals youth, while simultaneously granting entry into the golden years.

Everybody has a “time card.”  When it’s punched, your time is up.

There are the familiar phrases such as “I don’t have time…if only I had time…give me time” as if it’s something tangible but you can’t touch time.

Losers’ explanation (in the after time) for not stopping at Krispy Kreme was “I never felt like I had time.
When I asked my daddy if he would come to see me, he always said “one of these first few days, when I have time.
Do those statements actually mean “you weren’t/aren’t worth the time?

We can’t travel backward or forward in time, except in dreams.  We can’t buy time on the corner.  We can’t order time on Ebay.
Time can’t be awarded in divorce decrees.  Time can’t be wrapped up as a gift and put under the Christmas tree.  Time can’t be a birthday present.  Time can’t be won in a weekly drawing.

Loved ones can be denied time due to selfish behavior.

Time that has passed can never be retrieved.

Timeout is used as punishment.

Time can be your friend and it can be your enemy.

Time reflects its ravages on a face in a mirror.

Time can be taken for granted.

Time can be apportioned and spent wisely.  Time can be unforgivably wasted.

Time spent with somebody you love can be exhilarating.  Time spent alone can be excruciatingly painful.

Time can seem like an eternity while waiting.

Time is supposed to heal all wounds but often, it only serves to prolong the agony.

Time is fickle.  It can grant a long life or it can grant but a brief stay.

Time.  Technically, it’s just another four letter word.

WOW – A Nomination

love blog award

Yesterday I was completely blown away when I found out that I had been nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by the wonderful “survivednarc.”
She has been a staunch supporter and has offered genuine (not cultured) pearls of wisdom, unlimited encouragement and heartfelt sympathy.  I couldn’t be more honored for this nomination and to also call her my friend…so thank you Alex.

 

rules

 

  1.  Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2.   List the rules.
  3.   Display the award on your post.
  4.   List seven facts about yourself.
  5.   Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and comment on one of their posts to let them know that you have nominated them.

SEVEN FACTS ABOUT ME.

  1.   After surviving a brutal childhood, I jumped into a marriage to a neglectful, selfish, narcissistic man and wasted forty-one years of my life with him….but I have four wonderful children who I virtually raised by myself.  A few of them have stumbled more than once and one of them has fallen more than once but they are my children and I am so very proud of them.  Now, I’m trying to work through having been lied to, cheated on repeatedly and given an incurable disease from the one person I trusted more than anybody.
  2.   I used to suffer from the “I can do anything” disease so I tackled everything that interested me, including quilting, painting, woodworking, upholstery, moving my kitchen by myself (including re-wiring and re-plumbing), starting to play soccer when I was forty and becoming familiar with power tools including running a chain saw.
  3.   I am a true blue and loyal friend and have more often than not, been disappointed that it was not reciprocated.
  4.   I went to EMT school when I was 53 and was 1st in my class.  I was the only person in history to ever have a perfect score in the clinicals.
  5.   I am Southern by birth and although I have lived in six different states, my heart never left North Carolina.  I love the gentility of days gone past, when women were ladies, men were gentlemen and your word was your bond.
  6.   I am naive…but not naive enough to “pick up and hold” $25,000,000.00 for a poor Marine who is stuck in Afghanistan.  (He must have read my “I hope this makes you laugh” post and thought he had found the perfect mark!)
  7.   I started my blog because people used to tell me that I needed to write a book about my dark and twisty life.  I don’t know what prompted me to start but it has proven to be invaluable in many ways.  I have acquired so many fabulous supporters and have also learned that I am not alone.  It is gut-wrenching to read what others have gone through but there is a common bond that we all share.  Some of us are further along in the healing process and it’s wonderful to watch the progress and see them come out on the other side.  Some day, I hope to join THAT club.

 

nomination

We’re supposed to nominate 15 bloggers but most of the ones I would nominate have either already been nominated or have made it clear that they do not wish to be nominated…so my list will fall severely short…by 15.

 

So, What’s The Problem?

Yesterday I was thinking about the distance I have to travel to see Sam, along with his fee and the cost in gas.  I had come to the conclusion that there was no need to continue because I had seen no progress.  Our sessions seem to be redundant and there have been no “light bulb” moments.
I understand that there is no “magic pill” and I never expected one but I did expect to feel a little better after rehashing the same old bullshit that I have talked about with therapists for the last ten years.

I was watching one of my medical shows last night and one of the main players is seeing a therapist.  She mentions that she doesn’t feel any better after their meetings.  Bingo!  I knew exactly how she felt.
Her therapist casually remarked “that’s because it’s working.”

WHAT?  Was he kidding?  You go to enormous expense to try to FIND a way to heal and when you feel like you’re not getting better, the answer is “that’s because it’s working?”

I know I’m naive but I’m not an idiot.  True, I’m also not a therapist but that statement makes absolutely no sense to me.  That’s like charging a battery once a week and when your car still won’t start, you say “that’s because it’s working.”  No, it’s not.  It’s a dead fucking battery!  That’s the problem.

I don’t think I’m asking for too much.  I know there are probably never going to be any answers.  All I want is a little clarity.  That’s what he promised.  I think the only thing that is clear is that I am fucked the hell up.

My RBS called me today and we talked about my son.  I told her he asked me to send his pictures to him to try to sell.
Loser had gotten me a mat cutter and a picture frame maker for Christmas one year.  She had the brilliant idea of me getting off my ass (my words, not hers) and framing his art.  After we hung up, she immediately called me back to gently tell me that sometimes people act Gung Ho about something but then it fades.
She’s right.
I get comments that I am a “good writer” and “I should write a book.”  It piques my interest and I start thinking “maybe I could” but I just have no confidence in my writing ability.
This is different.  This is my sons’ art.  There’s no lack of confidence in his work.  For him to see his artwork framed and hanging somewhere just may be the catalyst toward making him feel like he mattered.

It would mean so much to J***** if Loser saw some value in his artwork but he has never expressed any interest or encouragement and has certainly never offered any praise.

Speaking of son…I haven’t heard from him since the last time he shot me with both barrels.  That usually means that he’s on a bender and I’m worried about him.  It’s cold…even where he is and I felt guilty when I went to bed last night.

I was dreaming this morning and heard my doorbell.  I thought “maybe it’s UPS.”  It was pitch black outside and I thought I’d try to peek out of my blinds.  Suddenly I thought “oh, no…it might be the police with bad news…I think I’m going to act like I’m not here…but my radio was blasting and I knew I couldn’t feign absence so I decided to take a look.
I could not get my eyes to open.  The next thing I knew I was back in my bed and I heard J***** say “mom” just as plain as day.  I sat up, expecting to see him in my room.

I hope this is not a bad sign.

Beans And Cornbread

Last night I found half a bag of dried beans.  I put them in a bowl and covered them with water.  When I woke up this morning at the butt crack of dawn, I threw them in my crock pot.  I used to make “beans and cornbread” all the time.  They were requested by my sister and her boyfriend when they came to see me and Loser always requested them, too.

Maybe that’s why I stopped fixing them.  But fix them I did and I thought I would run up to the grocery store and get some cornbread mix.  It was hard to find a parking place but for some reason but I thought it was because it was Saturday.
There’s a section where you can get already cooked vegetables as well as vile crap, like chicken or cubed steak.
I stopped and asked them if they had any cornbread but they were out.  They said they had corn muffins so that was good enough.  I bought three muffins and started looking around the store for anything else that might appeal to me.  The store was literally crawling with people and they were loading up their carts like they were expecting a hurricane.

I got my muffins and an onion and was heading up to the check-out.  It took a few minutes to get to the cashier and when I got there, I asked what was going on.

Apparently, a “monstrous storm” is going to hit us.  I rarely turn my television on and when I do, I never watch the news or the weather.  After I heard that, I decided that if we were going to be socked in for a few days, I should get some real food…so I got a box of microwave popcorn and a bottle of Texas Pete.  I don’t even remember picking the bottle up and if I went back tomorrow, I don’t think I could remember where I found it.  Don’t ask what the correlation is because I don’t know…I don’t even like hot sauce.  On the way home, I thought “snot buckets!”  Loser always wanted hot sauce in his beans.

I was questioning my sanity (once again) and that made a smooth transition into a positive thought.  I was thinking, “Loser has never been in this house and he never will be…and he will never again put hot sauce on the beans that I make.”

I filled a small bowl with beans (sans hot sauce), cut a few pieces of onion and had half a corn muffin.  It was pretty good, I will say.

I was swapping messages with a fellow blogger the other day and I told her about my sisters’ and my friends’ refrigerators being crammed so full of food, you couldn’t even see the back.

My refrigerator has a pitcher of water in it..and that’s all…but as of today, my water pitcher will no longer be lonely because it has the companionship of an onion and a bottle of hot sauce.  Now when I open the door, my refrigerator light shines like the eyes of a proud mama!

 

The answer to the ? post is….the criminal walked away…and we did indeed meet again.

(I was going to add my little touch of humor and say “I shot the criminal and then I shot my partner for being a wiener….I mean…who lets a criminal get a choke-hold on them?”)

Sitting At A Red Light

I had to go to the bank today.  It is quite a distance from my house and takes a while to get there.  I have to go through a quaint, little town and today I got caught by a red light right in front of the old train station.
I could see the railroad tracks.  They were rusted and overgrown with weeds.  The once, probably busy train station had long ago been occupied by antique shops and hardware stores.

Suddenly I am catapulted back in time and find myself stepping off the train with the assisting hand of the smiling conductor.
I am a true Southern lady, dressed in full couture.  I have on a large-brimmed hat, sprinkled with an array of colorful flowers around the band.  I am wearing a pink brocade, bustled dress which shows off my tiny waist, accented by my tight corset.
My small feet sport the latest in womens’ footwear and my hands are covered with dainty, white lace gloves.
I am accompanied by my husband, a proper Southern gentlemen.  He is a tall, handsome man.  He is dressed in his finest suit, which shows off his social standing and he wears a fashionable silk top hat.  He has a mustache that is framed by a crop of thick, curly hair.  He carries a silver-tipped walking cane which is purely for aesthetic value.

Our children are whisked away by the nanny, leaving us to obligingly speak with the other passengers until the horse and buggy arrives to take us and our wooden trunks, laden with our extensive wardrobes and accessories, to the elegant mansion up on the hill.

When we arrive, we are greeted by butlers and maids who are at the ready to perform any task necessary to insure our comfort.

In the afternoon, we are served a feast fit for a king in the elegant dining room.  The delicious crown roast is prepared to perfection and served on the finest bone china.  We eat with sterling silver utensils and our wine is poured into Waterford crystal glasses.
The chandelier that hangs over the table is five feet across and is adorned with almost a thousand shiny prisms.

After dinner, the men retreat to the smoking room to enjoy fine cigars and tell tall tales, while sipping warm brandy.
The women go to the parlor, where we sip mint juleps, talk about the latest Paris fashions and cool ourselves with hand-painted silk fans.  We make plans to go to the local dress shops the next day.

When we retire for the night, we are shown to our room.  There are heavy velvet drapes covering the numerous, massive windows.  There is a canopy bed with a thick, down-filled mattress and an exquisite hand-stitched quilt.
A bath is drawn, filled with lavender-scented water and lush towels are warmed over a brass pan that has been heated with hot coals.
The maidservant helps me out of my corset.  I am modest so she respectfully holds my robe like a shield as I step into the tub.  As she leaves, I instruct her as to which outfit I wish for her to carefully place on the chair for the next days’ activities.

Later, we lay in bed, exhausted from the long trip, ready to drift into a blissful sleep.
I close my eyes but I am suddenly startled by a loud noise.

A horn is blowing, signaling that the light has turned green.