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Roof Happy

Posted November 26th, 2015 at 01:25 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
Thanksgiving is a great holiday and I believe everyone has things to be thankful for. I have so much treasure- good people in my life, a roof overhead and food on the table. Iím rich.

A lot of people where I work have been talking about tough times past and they were surprised to hear that I had at one time been homeless. Itís not really something you brag about. It was a long time ago now, more than 25 years, so I donít remember it so vividly.

I donít remember the hunger and the pains Ė or maybe i do, maybe they are always in the background, making me most thankful for the blessings I have currently.

Homelessness was a thing that just kind of happened. I lost my job. I couldnít afford rent. I ended up on the street and then out in the country in a tent by a lake.

The street was not fun. I was in a big city and there were a lot of homeless. It was very competitive. Guys would spend all day waiting in line at the soup kitchen. The line would stretch all the way down the block. The soup kitchen would run out of food. I donít remember a lot about being homeless in the city. When you donít have enough food your memory doesnít work so well.

I remember trying to eat grass. I guess I was really hungry. Eating grass doesnít work. It gave me a really bad stomach ache. But i have good memories too. I found a dollar in a puddle. Potatoes were 99 cents for a ten pound bag. That was incredible. I still love eating potatoes. I had friends who helped me out. Women would go through their cupboards, saying they were trying to diet. Theyíd give me all the food. It was odds and ends- cans of cranberries and half bags of icing sugar. I ate it all.

I have never liked the city and being homeless in one was getting me down. I wasnít as ruthless as some of the other homeless guys. It was survival of the fittest, and they defended their corners and sleeping patches. I decided to head out.

It was Spring and i thought i would be okay. I was wrong. It turned out to be the coolest spring in twenty years. And it was black fly season. The worst on record. If youíve never met a black fly, youíre lucky. Theyíre small and they draw blood and their bite hurts. Theyíll climb into your clothing and crawl until they find skin.

I had a tent and was in a scrubby forest near a small lake. The water was freezing, but it was drinkable. At least i hope it was, because i drank it. There were lots of trees around with leaves to use as toilet paper. The black flies made going to the bathroom really unpleasant. I learned to be very fast, because they went for your skin immediately.

The forest was beautiful and i enjoyed making pine tea over an open fire and cooking everything i could scrounge. But it was cold and nothing could ever keep me warm enough. Often I would shiver uncontrollably. I lost about a third of my body weight and got pneumonia. I was failing.

My parents sent me 75$ and it was enough for me to make me way home again, where I got some antibiotics, a job and ate a lot of ice cream. You never really appreciate food until youíve been really hungry. And things like blankets and beds. Clean clothes. Toilet paper.

It certainly enabled me to see the other side of things, and to focus on whatís important in life. If you have food and shelter you can focus on the being happy part, because it is the sweetest thing of all.
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chas's Avatar
Amen. Happy Holidays!
Posted December 1st, 2015 at 02:00 PM by chas chas is offline
 
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