God brought a special homeless woman across my path. Her name isXXXXX first noticed her, she was sitting on the pavement near a curb in a parking lot, facing south. Debbie had a thick parka type jacket zipped up to her neck, in 95 degree weather. She has a full pack pack sitting close beside her, stuffed to near double its size. As I have learned over the last 6 weeks, is that Debbie seems to live life everyday within aXXXXX The place I just described, then NORTH 25 feet to a 8 foot bench near a covered bus stop when it gets dark. It is a 6 lane east west road, well lighted and is, of course, safer than the dark curb area she sits ALL DAY LONG, by herself. DEBBIE JUST SITS THERE QUIET STARING OUT.
At night she DOES NOT LAY DOWN, but just leans against her full backpack. I assume BECAUSE THE POLICE WILL NOT ALLOW HER TO LAY DOWN. I go out 3-4 night between 2AM and 5PM often, and she is always sleeping
there, THEN BACK TO THE CURB & PARKING LOT, for the long day. THIS DAILY ROUTINE SEEMS TO HAPPEN EVER DAY, I assume for YEARS AND YEARS. DEBBIE IS PROBABLY 40 TO 47 years old, white, skin hardened by the sun, hair is stringy in front and sides, matted in the back.
I stopped by and gave her a twenty the first time, which she took with a gentle hand. The next day I gave her a $5 bill which she took hesitently as I said Hi, do you need anything? ole,... pause short... nooooo shaking her head and looking away, this way and the other.
I parked my car by her about day 6, got out and squatted down near her. WHAT IS YOU NAME? Debbie, she said. My name isXXXXX said. Just a short exchange.
The next day CAME THE BIGGEST SURPRISE & INSIGHT TO DEBBIE'S LIFE. I had $60, three twenties folded. I tried TO GIVE THE MONEY TO DEBBIE, saying please take this for emergencies. OLE..... NO... I'm OK. No.... DEBBIE, a homeless person TURNING AWAY MONEY??????? What it DID
TELL ME, was that Debbie was not a druggie or alcoholic, OR SHE WOULD HAVE TAKEN THE MONEY. I REALLY WANTED HER TO HAVE IT FOR EMERGENCIES!
DAY 14: Debbie was starting to trust me and getting to feel comfortable around me. I stopped with the twenties and only gave $5 dollars, and asking Debbie if she needed anything.
DAY 21: I asked Debbie, if she needed anything, she said, "uhm, how about some cold water", WOW I WAS THRILLED. I go up to the RACETRAC gas station to get Dr. Pepper Icees every day, or more. I said, I get you a bottled water. I asked the size or what kind? Debbie, immediately said, DASANI, yea... D A SANI un hun. It was an extremely hot day and upon driving away she had opened it and was drinking it.
IMPORTANT NOTES ******** IMPORTANT NOTES ******** ON DEBBIE'S MENTAL STATE
Debbie, will stand up when I drive by or stop. She will be the first to say, "Is everything OK" , "where have you been"
LOOKING me in the face some but MOST kind of jumpy here & there.
IF I GIVE HER WATER, A BILL, 4 QUARTERS, Debbie is "UNCERTAIN" where to put it. She will put it down on the pavement, move it 5 inch, leave it for an instance, move it a little, USUALLY 4 to 5 times, then she usually leaves it at the last spot for a while.
DEBBIE DOES THIS EVERY TIME with only a very few exceptions.
She does not have a grocery cart, does not seem to have any friends, maybe one, not sure.
She will walk over to the Grocery store machines for a soda, I don't know if Debbie ever goes into the grocery store, maybe to go to the bath room, which I have know knowledge of her outside "HER SMALL CIRCLE".
Debbie remembers my name, but does not call me by it, Dennis - and my wife's name Tammy, who is with me maybe 1 out of 8 times.
She always tells me to be "safe" as I start to leave, several times. She will say, I heard there was a concert at Tropicana field, are you/you should go.
IMPORTANT NOTES ******** IMPORTANT NOTES ********
Recently about 5-6 weeks of almost daily contact, Debbie seems to expect to see me and converses on a frequent and only slightly hesitant voice and body movement. Last Sunday, a stormy day, I went by late about 6 PM, and figured that she had not eaten anything. SO I ASKED, DEBBIE, HAVE YOU HAD ANYTHING TO EAT TODAY? Uh, noooo. Can I get you something? A hamburger from Mc Donald's. Which I got her once. THEN YESTERDAY, I ASKED the same thing and she again said a burger, and I SAID HOW ABOUT SOME FRIES? She said, Yes that is OK, yes ok.
SURPRISE.... SURPRISE..... Debbie asked me if I had any quarters? I think, yes here are some. I GAVE HER 4 quarters. Debbie held out a dollar bill, wet from the rain that day too, I SAID, "no Debbie, you keep it, (Like I have done to Debbie money by just laying it on the ground, which she, sort of, had to take) DEBBIE DROPPED THE FOLDED DOLLAR INTO MY CAR DRIVERS SIDE OPEN WINDOW. I have kept the dollar as a memento of this "SPECIAL LADY".