Back on July 6, 2016, I left my car parked on a street that was only a hop, skip and a couple of jumps to get down to the beach. When I left my car to go to the beach, my car was the only one parked there. I was down at the beach for an hour or so and when I came back to my car to leave it was now closely sandwiched in between two other cars. But what stood out when approaching my car was that there was now a dark scratch on the back hatch and there wasn't any scratch on the back of my car when leaving it. I tried rubbing it out but it appeared to me that the scratch was below the paint.
I then checked the car that was directly behind mine to see if there was a noticeable scratch on this car. There was and in fact there were many scratches on this car. Being troubled by the fact that I couldn't't practically move my car because of the closeness of the car in front of mine and the one behind me, I planned on just waiting for the owner of this car to return to question them about the scratch on my car. Not knowing how long the owner of this car might be in returning, I decided I would call my insurance company to at least make it known that my car was scratched and ask for some suggestions from my insurance agent. They took my report and also recommended that I call the police out to make a report.
I did call the police out to make a report and they quickly showed up at the location of my car. I explain the entire situation to them and one of the police officers took notice to the scratch on my car and observed the scratches on the side of the car behind mine and felt the need to locate the owner of this car. One of the two police officers asked me if this was something I might be able to clean up myself and I told him that if I had my TR-3Resin, I might be able to rub off the scratch if it didn't't go below the paint. However, even this officer thought the scratch went below the paint so I had only one option but to make a report.
One of the police officers was able to find the owner of this car down at the beach and she followed the officer back to where both of our cars were parked. To make a long story short, both of us exchanged insurance information as she claimed that she wasn't responsible for the scratch on my car. She wasn't happy about being blamed for the scratch on my car and I wasn't happy that she told the police that she has had other people trying to take advantage of her car insurance which appeared to have highlighted me in that inference. In fact, I wasn't happy that the police had to direct me while driving because of the closeness of the car parked in front of me and her car parked behind mine.
Shortly thereafter I was given a next day appointment to have my car seen by my insurance adjuster...in which I did attend. I told the adjuster that I originally thought that I might be able to rub this scratch off myself but felt that the scratch went below the paint and I didn't want to make the mark on the car worse. He went over to where the insured cars are repaired and came back with cream/polisher and miraculously rubbed that scratch off the car. I told him that this was just incredible and he said something to the effect that the friction from the cars coming together sometimes just leaves paint from the car that is making contact with the other car...OK, this doesn't make sense to me but I will accept it seeing that there was damage done.
Later that day I remembered that when the woman of the car that I felt scratched mine had been explaining herself to the police down at that beach road that day, she emotionally shared some things about herself that came to bother me about the entire situation. She had two young daughters with her in which both of whom were adopted. This day must have been chosen as a day for her to take her two children to have a fun day at the beach. Even though I had the right to protect the value of my car while I was away from it, I allowed that scratch on my automobile to become more valuable to me then the lives of other people. I suddenly realized that I ruined the fun for two young girls and to me that became damaging to them while they watched two adults try and justify their actions on this day concerning a scratch found on a car.
Below represents what's left of this incidence: The initial police write-up; the letter I wrote to the woman; copy of bank check sent to this woman; the letter she wrote to me; and my final letter I wrote back to her.
Today is approximately two months since the holidays. I am hoping the two little girls had a great time staying at the Grand Wailea.
Life is just too short and below is how I "scratched" this kind of a problem off of my list of things to fret about:
It was nearly 40 years ago I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. After I arrived I went to a local employment office looking for a job. I was interviewed by a woman who saw my work history and told me that there was an opening at Meijer Thrifty Acres. I asked her what was "Meijer's Thrifty Acres"? She then said to me "You don't know what Meijer Thrifty Acres is?" I told her no. She said it was a large retailer in Michigan. So I accepted her offer and took her information to the "Meijer Thrifty Acres" store and met with the store director who looked at my resume and offered me a part-time job.
Everybody was hired as a part-timer at Meijer and I was to work in the grocery department. I was told that once I gained some senority I would be able to bid on full-time job openings the occasionally come about when somebody quits, gets transferred or retires. Before I knew it a full time night crew position was available and I put in a job bid and received the position because nobody else had shown any interest in it and bidded on it.
I had never been inside a store like Meijer's. In fact, it was the most impressive store I had ever been visited. It was just huge. Nobody on the West Coast, where I was from, had ever shopped in a store like Meijer's. These were beautiful stores that were over 200,000 square feet and I felt privileged to work inside one. They paid union wages and sometimes they would have manditory double-shifts because of the amount of sales that this particualr store would have and I was very eager to work hard for 16 hours in a supermarket I felt proud to work in. I was told early on, by another employee, that the grocery department alone did a million dollars a week in sales and that didn't include meat, bakery, produce, etc. And this was back in 1977. The grocery department included frozen, deli, and grocery food items. Just unbelievable.
I was a very hard worker and because I was also a very good runner, I would run to where ever I needed to go. If I needed to get groceries from the backroom, I would run to the back room to fetch them. I was constantly running because I loved to run and work hard because I had this incredible amount of energy. However, it didn't take long before the workers on the night crew developed a dislike for me.
While employment at Meijer's did start off as a part-time worker there were many opportunities for me to receive extra hours when somebody called in sick or when the store needed to put extra labor into the store because of the amount of business that this store did. I was always available to work any hours or 8-hour-shifts needing to be fill and never turned down any hours offered to me. On many occasions I was called into work extra hours in the frozen food section as I had experience in other stores working this department.
While at work one day in the frozen food section, during the afternoon shift, a real muscular young employee came up to me and told me in a very unfriendly way that I was making everybody in the grocery department look bad because I ran to get my job done and nobody appreciated my style of working. I told him I wasn't trying to make anybody look bad. I told him my running and working hard was just me and I didn't care how him or any of the other employees worked.
His name was Hoger Newbauer (misspelled I believe) and he too was a part-time employee and I also believe he was also a student at the University of Michigan. He basically told me that I could get myself hurt if I continued to work the way that I did and made the crew look bad. I then I asked him if he was threatening me. He didn't say anything after that point and just walked away. So on this day, in the back of my mind, is sitting this vague threat and the reality that the other workers didn't like the way I hustled while on the job and this caused them to build up a dislike for me. Wow, I never could have imagined that working hard would be so offensive to other workers...
After Hoger's bold talk with me, it became more obvious that the other workers just ignored me. Except there was a super nice guy named Erv Shroeder (misspelled) who became my only friend at the time and he had been working at Meijer's for many years. In fact, he allowed me to live with him for some time inside of his mobile home....just a super nice guy who really assisted me while working their at Meijer. He eventually became a runner too and entered marathons...
Then one morning, after working the night shift, a clique of night crew workers, who made it a point to make me to feel excluded while working, were going over to the University Union building after their all-night shift. The University Union was where students and others could play pool/billiards on the third floor.
One of the guys, whom I believe was named Tim and didn't like me, asked me sarcasticly if I wanted to go with them and play some pool...as he was thinking a guy like me surely didn't know how to play pool. Unbeknownst to these guys was the fact that I was an excellent pool player and so I told this guy that I would like to play some pool with them and appreciated the invitation. A response I believe surprised him and the other workers...now, understand that this night crew consisted of 17 full-time people... So I went with about eight of them to the Univeristy Union to shoot some pool with.
Once inside the pool hall I could see all of these beautiful pool tables that were well taken care of and surprisingly leveled. This calm atsmosphere I found on the 3rd floor of this building provided me an opportunity to play some of the best pool I have ever played. They were astonished on how well I could play and just like if I were on a track preparing for a run, these guys were suddenly aware they were now on my turf.
Above photo is fromhttps://uunions.umich.edu/article/billiards-and-games It is located on the 2nd floor, yet I remember it being on the 3rd floor back in 1977-78-oh well, the tables could have been moved in the nearly 40 years since I was there. Hard to tell by the picture if these tables are still leveled properly and taken good care of.
I have always been prejudged in my life and so when these guys realized how good of a pool player I was, it didn't take long for them to drop their prejudice towards me and make me feel welcomed into their group. I was now considered "one of the guys" because I passed the pool playing test.
It is also interesting that I learned to shoot a good game of pool, back in 1969, from an ex-felon from San Quentin who had spent time in prison for drugs. Had I shown this ex-felon, the same kind of prejudice that the night crew workers at Meijer's had shown me (and for no reason other than they felt I made them look bad), I would have never learned to shoot a game of pool as well as I did.
Below is a vimeo video of a 233,000 sq ft Meijer's from Progessive Grocer.
Meijer's is privately owned and these stores had the lowest prices anywhere. Makes me wonder if Wal-Mart tried to copy Meijer's format as these huge supercenters existed long before Wal-Mart. However, looking at how mismanaged Wal-Mart supercenters are, they did a poor job copying if that is what they tried to do.
Anyway, it is possible after that morning trip to the University Union pool hall did these night crew co-workers feel I had, once again, made them all look bad.
The bottom line is that I never expected that my ability to shoot a good game of pool would be the tool I would need to break the ice with a bunch of co-workers who developed a dislike for me only because I worked hard.
"I will never forget you." Those were the last words I heard from her while dropping her off at the Sacramento Greyhound Bus Depot back in 1977. Who was she? I don't know. It was Friday afternoon and I had just gotten off work in Sparks, Nevada. I was planning on driving to where my dad and mom lived at in Cameron Park and stay with them over the week-end before heading back to Sparks on Sunday evening.
I was working for Warehouse Markets at this time as an undercover grocery clerk. My dad had quit Raley's a few months earlier and was hired by this firm to troubleshoot its operation and asked me to come to Nevada and work for him. I was heading out of Reno and noticed a woman hitchhiking on one of the busy streets. It may have been Keystone Ave, but truthfully speaking, I don't remember the exact street I was on. I quickly decided to pull over and ask her if she was going in my direction- in other words, was she heading to California?
I rolled down the front passenger window and she came up to the window. I asked her where she was going? She said she was going to San Francisco and cautiously asked me if I was associated with the group of drunk guys in a pick-up truck who minutes earlier tried to pick her up? I told her no, I was by myself and I was heading to California to where my parents lived and she was welcomed to travel with me to at least Sacramento. She opened the car door and got inside. She was an attractive woman with long brunette hair and probably in her late 20's, maybe early 30's. I was really surprised to see a woman like her hitch-hiking.
As I headed for Interstate 80 to drive west out of Reno, she started off by telling me the story of why she was in Reno and also why she was hitch-hiking back to San Francisco. It turned out that she had taken a bus from San Francisco to Reno to gamble and hopefully strike it rich like the millions of other people hoping to strike it rich at a casino. And like so many of the other gamblers, she lost all of her money, including the money she needed to pay for her bus ticket back to S.F.
She then told me she had been gambling the last two days, hadn't eaten anything for a while and hadn't even slept in over a day. It seemed like by the time she had finished that sentence she had already fallen asleep and she was completely out like I had turned off the light. As she slept, I was sad to realize how this woman found herself traveling in the passenger seat of my car. She seemed so defeated and she did appear like she really hadn't eaten or slept in a while. I was driving to Sacramento, CA and had a woman in my car who was really struggling in her life.
While she slept I tried to figure out the best way to assist her. I figured I would find a food store along the way and pick-up some food for her knowing she had to be hungry. After crossing the California state line, I came upon a small convenience store and stopped to purchase some food. I tried to be as quiet as possible hoping I wouldn't awake this woman. I purchased a sandwich, some fruit and juice and went back to my car to continue on to my parents house.
After entering the car, the woman came out of her sleep and asked me why I stopped. I told her I purchased some food for when she awoke and handed the food to her seeing she was now awake. She thanked me and after she finished her food she continued to tell me more about her life and the sad experiences that led her to Reno. I was in the presence of someone who had been down on their luck and the more I listened to her the sadder I became.
I was now approaching Colfax and the woman sitting next to me was feeling a lot better after getting some sleep and eating a small lunch. I knew that in order for me to get to Cameron Park, I would have to take the Sierra College exit, drive through Orangevale and head toward highway 50. In the back of my mind the only choice I had for her was to take her all the way to Sacramento like I had planned and drop her off at the Greyhound Bus Depot.
I never disclosed my plan to her and told her that I would take her as far as Sacramento in which she said would be much appreciated. As we got into Sacramento, I took the exit I knew would lead me to the bus depot. As I approached the parking area of the bus depot she asked me what I was doing. I told her that I couldn't take her all the way to San Francisco even though I would really like to, but I wanted to make sure she got there safely seeing it was getting dark, and the only way I could do that was to buy her a bus ticket to get her home.
We entered the bus terminal and I purchased her a ticket for the next bus departing to S.F. I gave her the ticket and mentioned to her that she should probably get in line. Knowing that she didn't have any money, I handed her $20. Looking totally grateful, she thanked me and asked me if she could give me a kiss. I told her a kiss wasn't necessary. She asked me what my name was and I told her my name wasn't important. I said good-bye and wished her luck and headed for the exit door while she stood in line. As I moved closer to the door I could hear her say in a sincere thankful voice "I will never forget you."
Those last words she spoke to me I have clearly remembered since that special day I was given the opportunity to help someone in need. I was now on my way to spend the next couple of days with my parents in Cameron Park. When I arrived my mom and dad were happy to see me but wondered why it took me so long to get to their residence. I never shared with my parents this unusual experience I had picking up a woman hitch-hiker in Reno, Nevada. To this day this is what I know:
If this woman is still alive she has never forgotten the stranger in Reno, Nevada, who picked her up hitch-hiking while she was going through a very low point in her life, showed her some compassion and made her life a little more brighter when she returned to the sunny state of California.
Remembering 9-11, 10 years later. Below is an image to a flyer I created shortly after September 11, 2011---and I passed out a couple thousand of the flyers around the downtown area Sacramento. Click on it to open a PDF file that has this flyer on it.
Shortly after I was publicly passing out this flyer, I was nearly abducted on the American River bike trail (where I run regularly), by a guy claiming to have a fish hook stuck in his arm.
This man was asking me to assist him in getting the fish hook pulled out from his arm that he had sticking inside his car window. Had I gone down off the river levee to help this man, I would not be here today.
It was my opinion back then, and it still is today, that Jack Loveall/Jaques Loveall had hired a hit man to get me because of the flyer above that I was publicly distributing. Jack Loveall/UFCW 588 had on a number of occasions sent their people down to the American River to keep an eye on me when I ran there daily.
I also have this story on my UFCW 588 page located on the Raley's page at the top of the menu.
The world is just full of people full of themselves. We live in a world that if somebody plays an instrument, is a Hollywood actor, an elected official, a TV news reporter, etc...they think that they are something special.
And yet, in reality, they are no more special than anybody else!!! Some people even wait in long lines to get the authograph of somebody else---hard to believe.
Below is a comment I left on a website that featured the Jefferson Airplane rock band from the '60s and '70s.
I wanted to share with the Jefferson Airplane an experience I had while hitch-hiking through San Francisco back in the early '70s: (oh this could be the 40-year anniversary of this ride of mine)
Just wanted to say I remember how Jack Casady picked me up while I was hitch-hiking in San Francisco back in the early '70s.
What is strange about all of this is the fact that when Casady picked me up, he told me he had to drive his fancy car around an entire block and come back to pick me up because traffic was so bad at the intersection.
I felt somewhat suspicious of somebody going around an entire block in San Francisco to pick me up hitch-hiking. I had hitch-hiked a lot during this time period and I had never experienced anybody going around an entire block to pick me up
Then he asked me where I was going and I told him Santa Rosa. He told me he was headed to Mill Valley. Shortly, he asked me if I had any dope to smoke and I told him I didn't carry dope when I was hitch-hiking. He then pulled out his own stash of marijuana and we smoked a joint together while in his car.
Shortly afterwards, I asked him what he did for a living and he immediately stuck out his hand to shake mine and announced "I am Jack Casady, with the Jefferson Airplane." He didn't inquire as to who I was. I didn't know much about this rock group but did remember a gig this group had played in Rido Nido, CA (about 45 miles north of San Francisco), back in 1969 when I was living at the Rio Nido resort and asked him about that.
He didn't comment---I think he didn't comment because this event in Rio Nido brought back a bad memory for him and his band because not very many people paid to get inside.
The place the "Airplane" performed at was called "The Barn" and nobody wanted to pay to get inside The Barn to listen to them because they could hear all the music they wanted outside the building for free.
I asked him what instrument he played and I think this was the insult he didn't expect to hear from the long-haired guy he picked up in San Francisco on this day.
When he left me off in Mill Valley, so I could continue my trip to Santa Rosa, I was so stoned that it took me 15 minutes to realize that Casady had left me off at a freeway entrance heading back to San Francisco...I must have laughed for twenty minutes afterwards realizing what had happened.
I am sure I am one hitch-hiker Casady has never shared with others. It appeared to me that his sole motive for picking me up in San Francisco, on this day, was to impress me of who he was.
It turned out that he didn't get the response he was looking for from the long-haired young man he picked up at a busy intersection in San Francisco.
It is also possible that I was the only long-haired young man in San Fransisco on this day who didn't know who he was. Note: I never intended to make him feel unimportant, I just didn't know the Jefferson Airplane rock group that well and he just happened to pick up somebody who wouldn't know who he was.
Above is the neighborhood I lived in during this incidence.
Could I have prevented a mass killing in my neighborhood back in 1975? Here is the story:
I was living in Boise, Idaho, working for a chain of grocery stores called Albertsons'. I lived in a small house I was renting on a quiet residential street called Wheeler Street. In fact, this is where I found myself entrenched in a serious medical condition called anorexia nervosa. I also was very visible in my neighborhood because I could usually be seen running.
There was an elderly lady who lived across the street from me who once told me while standing in her yard "enjoy it why you are young," as she saw me finishing one of my runs one morning. She was referring to my ability to run because she knew once somebody gets to her age running will be a lot more difficult to enjoy.
I usually commuted to work by walking because I only lived a couple of miles from work. I had just gotten off work from Albertsons', around 5 pm, and was walking home. As I headed towards Wheeler St., I noticed a young man in the corner of my eye with his shirt open, walking on the other side of the street, and he was drinking from a bottle that looked like beer. I was hoping I wouldn't draw attention to him because I really didn't want to find myself being noticed by a person publicly drinking beer and looking somewhat suspicious because of it.
As I progressed down the street I then noticed he was now making his way across the street directing himself towards me. As he arrived on my side of the street he quickly made conversation with me. He was friendly, said hello, introduced himself to me and also stated to me that he had seen me run in the neighborhood many times before and thought I was a good runner.
He indicated that he was an ex-marine and that he too wanted to get into running so he could be in good physical shape. While he was saying all of this to me I was wondering to myself whereabouts he lived knowing that he had seen me run.
Because he continued to publicly drink from his beer while walking next to me I still remained leery of him. He told me he had seen me many times before because his family lived next store to me on Wheeler St. I knew who he was referring to but didn't know the people because I was single and this was a family household so we all kept to our own privacy.
What he did next nearly shocked me out of my pants. He quickly pulled a gun out from under his pants and I thought he was going to shoot me right there on the spot. I didn't know what he was thinking and it was startling to realize just how vulnerable I was and then he quickly told me not to worry. But what he said to me next nearly had the hair on my back stand-up - and I don't have any hair on my back!
He told me his ex-wife lived in the house next to me and was planning on going over there to shoot her and her family. He stated she had taken him for everything he had in the divorce and it appeared by what he was saying he wanted to kill them all. Now realizing I could relax about him shooting me I quickly tried to intervene in his thoughts by consoling him.
He seemed to be responsive to my approach and was even willing to go with me to a pizza restaurant so we could spend more time talking about this.
My goal was to get him to this pizza place so I could make a call to the police and prevent this guy from fulfilling his mission on this evening. As we were walking towards this pizza restaurant I noticed we had passed the Wheeler St turn-off by a couple of streets and so my plan was going as expected and felt relieved to some point.
Then the young man said something to me that really blew me away and I will quote what he said: "Did you hear about the man recently who escaped from prison?" When he said that to me, I immediately remembered about the prison escape that was reported in the news and I freaked out thinking it was him.
I immediately turned around at that moment and started running in the opposite direction back towards my neighborhood. My mind was racing so much that I thought he would shoot me in the back as I ran from him. All I could hear was him screaming at me "It wasn't me," trying to make it known to me that it wasn't him who escaped from prison. I was no longer in the mood for pizza and only wanted to execute a different plan of action.
I could no take any chances with a man carrying a gun. I ran up to homes along the street banging on doors. Finally, the second homeowner opened his door and listened to what I had to say about this situation and he called the police.
Evidently, some neighbors had earlier spotted this man with a gun but wasn't sure what was happening. the police came to this homeowner's house and I explained the situation to them and warned the police of this man's intentions.
The police immediately went to the home next to mine on Wheeler St. and found the man inside of that house. Luckily, this man's ex-wife and her family were not home at the time so they were not in harms way. The police couldn't arrest the man for being inside the home because there was nobody around to say he was trespassing. They were still trying to figure out what the man did with his gun.
I then decided it was now a police matter and got myself back over to my small house next door and locked my doors. I was just happy I wasn't shot or the people next to me weren't going to be shot. The next day, I was approached by the man's ex-wife and she explained more in detail of what was going on and thanked me for assisting the police. She also asked if I would sign an affidavit for her to use at court of what happened in which I eventually did.
Was a mass killing prevented on this early evening walk home from my work? Well, all I know is that if I hadn't made contact with this man on this particular evening, he would have shown up at his ex-wife's family home, next to the home I lived in, with a loaded gun, found it empty and waited for this family to come home later that evening. When I met him on the street, he was fueling up with beer and resentments and seemed bent on evening the score.
Above talks about a woman who quit a government position over a story from her past. Below represents a story from my past. Also, I never shared this story with anybody until an African American woman falsely accused me of using the word "nigger" to her.
Back in 1972, I was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I belonged to a Christian fellowship. One of the things members did at this church was visit the sick and dying at hospitals.
Wanting to be a good Christian I started visiting this woman at the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was an elderly woman and it turned out this woman had been a nurse for most of her life.
Evenings, whenever I could, I would show up in her hospital room so I could hold her hand, pray for her and let her know somebody was visiting her. She never opened her eyes and she had all sorts of life support apparatus hooked up to her body. It was sad seeing her in this condition.
She was dying from Leukemia and I wasn't sure how long she would have to live. One evening I showed up at her hospital room and discovered that she was no longer there. I went to a nurse and asked her where "Catherine Drake" was? The nurse in a very uncaring voice said to me "she is probably at the morgue." I really didn't like the response this nurse gave to me and I left the hospital feeling real sad.
I then decided I would find out where this woman's funeral services would be held and planned on attending to show my respect for this woman. A woman who had given her entire life to helping sick people.
On the day of her service, I took the last few dollars I had and purchased some inexpensive flowers that I would take with me to give to the church in my appreciation for Ms. Drake.
I also decided that I would write something down on a piece of paper that I felt would be appropriate for the family and friends of Ms. Drake.
The church service was being held a few miles from where I lived and not having any transportation other than my feet, I started the journey of my life not knowing that a day for celebrating Catherine Drake's life would turn out to be a life long meaningful memory for me.
When I arrived at the church there was a pastor standing at the entrance welcoming those who wanted to show their respect for Ms. Drake. I handed the pastor my flowers and I also handed the pastor the paper that I had written a special message on for Ms. Drake.
I entered the church and sat down somewhere in the middle of this large group of people. Nobody in that room knew who I was and I didn't know anybody there. I had never met the family at the hospital so I was a stranger to everyone.
The pastor started the service and then the tears started falling and crying could be heard throughout this building. Half way through his service he points to the flowers that a young man had given to him (my flowers) at the entrance of the church and then he mentions the note that this same young man had placed into his hands.
The pastor starts reading to this entire congregation of family and friends the words that I had written on this small piece of paper that I never considered would ever be read out loud. Then tears starting running down the side of my face as I listened to the pastor tell the wonderful story about Catherine Drake's life.
As I left this service on that day I couldn't help think that nobody there cared that I was a white guy. In fact, at the time, I didn't remember seeing any other white people there. You see, Catherine Drake was an African American woman.
Maybe this is why the pastor of this church was so impressed with my simple flowers and my message for Ms. Drake. A message that contained only 34 words.
I have never forgotten the 34 words I wrote for Ms. Drake over 38 years ago. All of this happening to a young man not yet 21-years-old.
I didn't sign my name to the note that I wrote for Ms. Drake for her service. When I walked away from the church that day not one person, including the family and her friends knew who wrote the beautiful words and who provided the inexpensive flowers the pastor used in his eulogy.
My story didn't make the headlines of any newspaper on the following day and it will never make the history books. However, it will forever be in my heart.
Below are the words I wrote and were used in Ms. Drake's eulogy:
"God loved Catherine Drake so much,
and we all loved Catherine Drake so much,
that we all wanted the best for Catherine.
And the best for Catherine is with God,
the Kingdom of Heaven."
Catherine Drake never knew me, and yet, my hands were holding hers while she laid dying in a hospital-and it is very possible my hands were the last hands to hold her hands while she was still alive.
In the winter of 1972, some 38 years ago, I found myself hitchhiking through the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I had no money, food, shelter or even a place to lay my head. In fact, I had no idea why I was there. I was cold and entered a small mom & pop store on a corner street and asked the young female clerk if I could sweep the front of her store for a loaf of bread and milk.
I was dirty and must have looked so terrible to this young woman. She told me that this store belonged to her father and that she couldn't give me anything in the store because it all belonged to him. However, she told me she was getting off work real soon and that I could go with her to her place and enjoy a meal, take a bath and listen to her boyfriend play the guitar.
I told her OK and when she got off work she drove me to her place. I took a hot bath, had a hot meal and was able to spend the warm night there with her and her boyfriend. I felt so serene that it didn't take long before I had fallen asleep from the sound of her boyfriend quietly playing his guitar. Not only was I blessed by God but also blessed by these two young people who didn't look at me with disgust and saw me as a human being in need.
The next morning, she provided me a hot breakfast and then she and her college girlfriends were kind enough to drive me to a good place for me to hitchhike down south towards highway 80.
To this day I don't even know the name of that young woman who trusted me, fed me, provided me a bath and a warm place to stay for that one special night in a place I surely didn't belong. This could arguably be the greatest single human experience I ever had in my life.
I wonder how the future was for her life and if she even remembered the young man she assisted on that cold winter night when all he was looking for was something simple to eat and she unselfishly provided him a lifetime memory of thanksgiving?