This I Believe

Denver - Walnut Creek, California
Entered on January 22, 2007

A “This I Believe” Essay

It is so rewarding that you pause to share my innermost thoughts about the goodness of person to person relations. I believe the best example is the Salvation Army. This opinion is based on ninety-two years of Alpha-Omega observations of people and how we deal with each other.

My wife, daughter and I were visiting Washington, D.C. in mid-winter. We had finished dinner and stepped out into a raging storm to snuggle into our toasty car. Then I saw her; the frail figure barely showing under the old blanket as she huddled in the store front. Without a second thought – I backed into the icy needles of the storm. I bent how to ask if she was hungry; just words to regain the lost link of reality; no movement in the tear stained face. A folded Ten into fear-numbed fidgets remained untouched. Back to our snug car and headed for our hotel. The sizzle of tires on rain-drenched street but the scene clung fast; so a skidding turn and back to the fallen pilgrim. Gone—and no sign of her now. I idled to a nearby fast food place and there she was. Her two wet coats thrown back; damp hair freed from the rain soaked knit cap, bent over delicious fast food; the crumpled Ten alongside—her passport from the storm.

This sad tragedy of life gave me pause—this D.C. our Nation’s Capital, of which we are so proud? Look for the good, it is there. My daughter’s words: “See dad, I told you she wouldn’t go to a bar.” Next morning my daughter snuggles up to the computer and turns triumphantly: “yesterday you said ok, but what of tomorrow?” See—there is no sorrow, Salvation Army Scores Again.

I Believe!

The Poem: “Fallen Pilgrim”

Her frail form barely showed beneath

the frayed blanket. As the cold night

stalked over rain swept street

I bent low to ask if she might,

Say “I’m hungry—just words to regain

The lost link to reality. This is DC

our nation’s capitol of which we remain

So proud—oh—so let us see.

A folded Ten tucked into fearful fingers

Remained untouched. Back to our car;

the sizzle of tires but he scene still lingers,

so back again. No one there. But not too far,

In a fast food place. Delicious meal.

And close beside—the crumpled Ten.

Brief respite from the hopeless feel

away from fear of what might have been.

She survived the night; what of the morrow?

You know thus far, how does it end?

In this case there is no sorry,

Salvation Army scores again