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Category Archives: Across The Land
Put the Bass Tracker in and find a quiet spot. Toss plain oatmeal in a area confined by branches or grass. Tiny hook, cane pole. Sit there a few minutes and catch a dozen shiners. Crank up up the Black Max and head to a bend in the old river bed. Free line a shiner and let him go. We caught some beautiful large mouth black bass.
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- Several family members live within 25 miles
- 46 years in the same neighborhood
- 39 years at the same church. Her husband was a deacon for 12 years
- Her husband worked 32 years at one plant
- She worked 35 years at the same plant he did
Her husband retired amongst thinking he may have alzheimer’s. He was diagnosed with it in 2010. Over the next two years she watched the base of family and friends evaporate. She says she understands. Who wants to be near?
To her surprise, the church base was the first to go, then family.
She gets 8 hours a week away from her situation.
With alzheimer’s, in many cases, there is a grown person and still very strong, that must be watched 24/7. This can be the situation for many years. Incontinence and violence are not rare. The evaporation of family and friends is not rare either.
In the last 5 years I have read of several folks that seemed to be raising awareness concerning addiction. If memory serves me correctly, most were about drugs, some legal, some not. I say seemed to be raising awareness, because I’m not positive of the stated goal.
Many years ago my best friend left for Vietnam and I left for the Mediterranean Ocean. I was never in harms way, he was, almost constantly. To make a long story short, in my opinion he died over there. He came home and I didn’t recognize him. Drugs. He passed away again recently.
A work friend was late, for work. No phone call, just late. That evening we received information that he had been found behind a school. He was in his work truck, money laying around. He had been shot in the chest several times. The information I received stated it was a meeting to exchange money for drugs.
During my 2013 trip across America, I received help from some folks that have a child that had an addiction. Two of these recollections concerned Vietnam era folks. This one is much more recent. Her story grabs my heart because of the nature of it.
In fact, any and all of these stories grab my heart.
All of this is ironic. Some experts say that as baby boomers turn 65, alzheimer’s rates will sore. It will be made worse because of heavy drug use during the sixties and seventies. It seems that drugs were a heavily used coping tool in Vietnam. I can’t imagine how the folks that served in Vietnam felt.
Mom is usually not very comfortable with many folks around. When I spoke with her about the Barnes family staying with us awhile, she said she would give it a go.
They were with us almost 2 weeks. The family consists of 2 adults, 3 children and a dog. After the first couple of days, I considered asking if she would go visit Shirley for the duration. She said she would try to stick it out. All and all she was gone two nights of their visit.
I think she did well. I noticed she began to recognize when she needed to leave the interaction and would excuse herself to the back part of the house, and would rest.
It’s a day to day situation and even hour to hour. I feel she did well.
One note – the Barnes family were very respectful in every way and they spent time interacting with mom. She asks about them often.
As we can see he has no mom, dad or siblings. He is divorced and both children migrated somewhat to mom. So, at best, he may have almost no support of the strongest type available.
Because of agent orange and his brushes with the Veterans Administration, he has little trust in government. Because of the folks trying to hustle his social security benefits, he has little trust with the public, that seem to want to help.
His teeth have probably affected his health in a adverse way.
He has no money.
He doesn’t have much on his side.
Support, trust, both governmental and public all have to be constructed. It will take a lot of time, pain and money to fix the teeth.
He needs an exorbitant amount of discipline.
This could be a hard fix.
While the repair process proceeds, where does he live? Who provides him with resources?
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Those are facts as we know them. It’s more difficult than “let’s help”
It will take time and money. Is it worth it? YOU BET IT IS.
Met him in Oklahoma.
- 66 years old
- Vietnam Veteran
- Honorable Discharge
- 2 children that migrated with mom emotionally – they are polite when he calls
- No immediate family left
- Not drawing social security
- Teeth were rotten
- Had friends that died from agent orange. He said they told him agent orange was safe
- Had 3 encounters with the V.A. that, in his opinion, went south pretty quick. He spoke of arrogant and sarcastic attitudes. The ones he met had never served
- He met folks that sought him out. For 40% of his social security, they would help him apply.
- He never cried as we talked.
- He thought what I was doing was amazing.
- He wouldn’t let me give him anything
- He had tears in his eyes and gave me a big hug as I left
He knew his situation was self imposed, but couldn’t figure a way back.
How would you help? Where would you start? Would you resign yourself to helping this one man?