Sunday, February 07, 2010

There were several deer that day, but we were on the wrong side of the road to take good pictures of them. The big coup was spotting the eagle, just south of where you turn to get onto the road that turns into the Ovals. There were emergency vehicles making a huge clamor of sound and light as we pulled over and tried to find a spot to get a clear shot. The eagle was only there long enough for me to get 3 pictures, one of which is blurry. But using my zoom and then cropping revealed a little bit of his yellow beak even though his back is turned. Eagles look so noble and thrilling in the wild! They just do. Sorry to say, the fire that caused all the racket resulted in the death of a former big lakes freighter captain, he was 86, and was in command of the second ship behind the Edmund Fitzgerald when it sank that stormy November night. His little house was right on the channel, where I bet he loved seeing all the lower lakers come in.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Homeless Guy

Living near Lake Michigan means that we can drive around the ovals almost every day to enjoy the beautiful big lake, the grassy dunes, and all the birds and animals. But sometime last spring, we noticed something else: a grubby white van parked along the roadway, and it was there every day. When the area is dark but not yet closed, you can see a the guy's silhouette as he sits in his van and watches a small tv. After 11:00 p.m, the park is closed and the van is gone. But the next day it would be right back. All summer, the van sat there with open windows, near the porta-john that stays there during the beach-user season. When I walked on the boardwalk, sometimes I would see the homeless guy. He is young, in his twenties probably, and has a ratty nest of Robinson Crusoe-looking long hair. Once he smiled and nodded at me, and I thought that was kind of a nice, friendly thing to do. For awhile, his back side windows seemed to be missing, and he put a sheet of wood over the opening. One day, Fritz saw him take an old, broken card table off our garbage bin on the curb and put it in his van, and we wondered: would he fix it and sell it, use it, strip the metal and sell it, give it to someone who ran a used furniture business, or maybe take part in a yard sale? After a few weeks, his window was fixed.

The police cruise that area constantly, as do the summer park rangers, and they apparently find no harm in his being there. I don't see any harm or threat to the public, but I wonder what harm there is to him. I would really like to know his story. But there is a part of me that just doesn't want to get involved. Because frankly, I am a little afraid of what makes people homeless. And, if it were me living that way, I would only want the kind of help I could go and get myself. I would not want curious, well-meaning strangers rapping on my car window. I imagine when he opens his window, the smell would gag me. I don't even want to think about what he does on these bitterly cold winter days when he has to use a bathroom. And I wonder how a vehicle, even if he ran the engine occasionally, could possibly keep him warm enough to make it okay for him to be there in that situation.

When Thanksgiving rolled around, I wondered if he went somewhere to enjoy a good dinner. When Christmas rolled around I wondered if he visited family, had a good meal, got any presents, went to a church? I wonder, is he an ex-con, an urban Henry David Thoreau, a sex-offender, mentally ill, a drug-user, a violent anti-social misfit, or is he an angel testing our compassion, waiting to see what society will do? Why is he there? He makes me so aware of my blessings. And he makes me feel guilty for not getting involved. He makes me regret being a coward, and about the time I regret that, a part of me that is just as strong tells me that he would not want watered down people like me getting involved.

There is white van parked down by the lake with a homeless guy in it. And there is nothing I can do about it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

No Sledding Fashion Show Birthday Karaoke Party

Ray's birthday party this year didn't include sledding down McGraft Park hill due to lack of snow, but the tradition of tacos and fun and games went on unabated! This year it was fun to have Ben Bliss and Rich Canniff come and party with us. The girls put on a fashion show deluxe, with zany being the style of choice, and the music went on long after midnight. Not shown in my pictures are Laura and Jamie, and Wendy's boy's Hunter and Fisher since they were holed up in a back bedroom with video games. The boys, not the girls! Anyway, it was a fun night for all of us to be together and we had a blast.