Tag Archive: USA

My friend Gordon is buried in Arlington Nation Park Cemetery. He served in Vietnam and was shot in the jaw in 1970. This is his grave. He was volunteer at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. RIP Flash! A big thank you to all our veterans and for fighting for rights of freedom and freedom of choice. God Bless you!




Tom gets a warmup on his coffee at the Waffle House.

I rarely go to Waffle House.
This morning I had to take my wife’s car into the shop to be worked on. It’s the second vehicle of ours to have problems in the past month. My son’s car needs a new engine and the other two have all sorts of little issues – annoying enough though to warrant some repair work before the problems get worse.
Anyway, my wife has to go to work early so I took her to meet a friend for a ride and the mechanic’s shop didn’t open for another hour. So, I figured I’d go to the nearby Waffle House and have a cup of coffee while I waited for the mechanic to open.
While I was sitting there, drinking my coffee, I recognized the man sitting at the counter in front of me. It was the homeless man who I often see on the weekend. I usually see him sitting on the corner near the Waffle House, Cracker Barrel and a closed gas station with a sign that says, “Stranded. Need help. God Bless.”
He was drinking a cup of coffee and the waitress asked him, “Tom, are you going to have anything to eat?”
“Yeah, I’ve got $5. Let me have two eggs and hashbrowns with some mushrooms on ’em,” he said.
“How do you want them cooked?” She asked.
“Sunny side up,” he replied.
After Tom got his order he went to season it with salt and pepper. As he began to shake the pepper on his hasbrowns, the lid fell off and dumped a large amount of pepper onto his plate.
“You all may want to replace this shaker cause the lid fell off and dumped pepper all over,” he said as he held the shaker up. “I like pepper, but that’s a bit too much.”
There were only two other customers in the place and all eyes were on Tom.
He was loud, looked dirty, was wearing a tan baseball hat and a broken set of headphones from a Sony Walkman that only had one earphone attached on top of the hat, jeans, a black sweatshirt and green, nylon jacket.
“I’m sorry,” the waiter said. “I’ll get you some more hashbrowns.”
The cooked turned around and slammed down a cup of hashbrowns onto the grill.
“Be just a minute,” the cook said as the grill sizzled.
“Those kids on the weekend are pranksters and loosen the lids. Sorry that happened,” the waiter said.
When Tom got his new hasbrowns the waiter gave him the new plate and said, “Here, scrape your eggs off onto this plate.”
As Tom scraped his eggs over onto the new plate, about half of the heavily peppered hashbrowns came with the eggs. The waiter turned around and looked at the cook and rolled his eyes at her. Tom didn’t see it.
After a few bites, Tom got up and went to the restroom.
“Wow!” the waiter said while Tom was out of the room.
My waitress came over to me and asked, “More coffee?”
“Sure,” I said. “Is that the man who usually sits out here in front with a sign?” I asked.
“Yeah, that’s Tom. He’s chose a hard road. Or it chose him, one. He’s got enough money to buy some breakfast today,” she said.
Then, Tom came back into the room and began to eat the remainder of his meal. The waiter gave him some more coffee.
“It’s going to be a long winter,” he said. “Well, it already has been.”
“Yeah, it sure has,” the waiter agreed.
We’ve had a large amount of snow and cold this winter. More than we’ve had in the 21 years I’ve lived here in Tennessee. Tom has been hiding out around the gas station that is closed in between the Cracker Barrel and Waffle House. In the old vacant dumpster area behind the gas station, Tom gets shelter from the wind and hunkers down under some plastic and cardboard.
I can’t help but feel awful for this man.
So many people in our society are complaining about the jobs they have, their cars, their lives and situations in their world.
It’s the me, me, me, times in which we are living.
It’s the “I want a new laptop, ipod, iphone, ipad or whatever the latest gadget is” generation. It makes me furious to watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, or Atlanta. It makes me furious to hear kids I work with complain about their vehicle, which is a few years old and being paid for by their parents, while I drive a car that is 15 years old and has 200,000 miles on it. It makes me sad to see people like Tom who have nothing but hope for a kind-hearted person to come along and give him enough money to pay for his meal.
The reality is there are thousands of people in Tom’s case where the only thing they want is to be dry and warm. Their biggest worry is where their next meal is going to come from or how they are going to stay warm and dry at night when the next rain and snow comes.
These people don’t worry about their facebook status, or what their next tweet is going to be on twitter, although some homeless people are using these social network sites to blog or communicate.
I don’t know the answer.
I don’t think there is a blanket answer or solution for all of these poor, homeless people in our country. All I know is that a warm meal and dry place to stay are taken for granted excessively in our world.
I pass the waitress a note I scribbled on a scrap piece of paper, “Please give me his ticket so I can pay for his breakfast.”
She brings it to me and says, “That’s kind of you.”
After I pay and get ready to leave, I grab my coffee to go and say to Tom, “Have a good day, sir. God bless you.”
He jumps around, as if he’s startled that someone is talking to him.
He gets a big smile on his face and says, “You, too. Stay dry.”
Tom doesn’t know I bought his breakfast.
“Stay warm and dry,” I say.
As I walk out of the restaurant and the snow and rain cover my hair and coat, I think to myself, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to live your life depending on the kindness of strangers from day to day.
Then, I thank God for my old car, warm, dry home and family and friends who love me. I’m blessed so much. I pray I’ll have enough money to cover the cost of our car repair.
I wish there was a simple solution to the problem of homelessness in this country.
I pray that others will gave thanks for what they have and will help take care of those who depend on the kindness of strangers.
It doesn’t cost anything to show care or concern. One meal goes a long way for both the person giving and the person receiving.