Wednesday, October 28, 2009

State House

Today's blog comes from the State House. It is a place where laws are written and tempers flare. They do have their share of decorum amidst the words. One thing I have noticed is that men on the floor of the Senate or House were coats and ties. Of course, they wear pants too. I can't help but reflect on the famous and infamous who have been in those chambers. The building has been in use since just after the Civil War, although they have remodeled the building a couple of times. You know the old adage--"If these walls could talk..."? What would they say? I shudder to think about it.

Our government in South Carolina has taken more than its share of ribbing and ridicule in recent years. Our leaders have been questioned about their leadership. I have had a lot of questions too. Overall, I believe that most of our leaders have good intentions to do the will of the people who they were elected to represent. If there are one or two bad apples in the batch, that shouldn't condemn them all. And, if anyone has had personal issues from years ago, that shouldn't be a measure of their character today, unless it is an ongoing problem, or it affects their job, such as the case of our current governor.

So, I sat in the Senate chamber, waiting for the proceedings to begin., hoping that it would be more interesting than the day before, although some fur flew then. The Senate was to act on some House measures and adjourn until January. I'm a politicial junkie. I live for stuff like that. Film at 11.

Sidebar--I wandered into the House chambers during a Senate recess. The House is much bigger than the Senate. And with more people comes this dull roar of voices. I think the word "chaos" says it all. They voted on a bill to send to the Senate, and then everybody was standing around and talking in groups. Based on the laughter and body language, most of the talking was not about state business. I guess I shouldn't be so cynical. Aftter all, these people represent local districts. They have fewer constituents than the Senators do. They seem more personable, but they also seem more fun loving. It was party time in the House. So, if these walls could talk, they would say "It's Miller time".

First Baptist

When we came to Columbia in 1958, we began going to First Baptist Church. I grew up in that church. My father baptized me in 1964 in that church. I have a lot of good memories from those early years at FBC. Boy Scouts. World record in the log ride at Six Flags. My Sunday School teacher who sold electric chairs to prisons. Dickie, Dirty and Jimmie. Being in handbells. "Good News" musical premiere. And so much more.

Then, my parents moved our membership to Kilbourne Park Baptist Church in 1970. I have written about that before of that move which literally saved my life.

But, in 1974, we moved back to First Baptist. They sent me off to seminary. They welcomed me back. I was a founding member of the Singles Sunday School. One Voice choir. Wrote the stewardship plays. Puppet shows for mission trips to Philadelphia and Smyrna. Puerto Rico mission trip. Bible character monologues.

But then, I moved to St. Andrews Baptist Church, and was there until recently, when I came back home to FBC. People have nice to me and seem to understand my plight. I was introduced as a new member last Sunday, and I was given a brick. I think it symbolizes how we are all a part of a greater place. Together, we can build a masterpiece. It isn't that a building is the church, but we are all parts that make up a church. I hope that I can once again help them in their work, and recapture the magic that I once had. We can never go back. But maybe, between my talents and their ministries, we can once again mesh together.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Fair

The South Carolina State Fair was in town last week. Actually, 10 days of fair. Every year, at that time, an area near downtown is transformed with rides, games, food and eshibits. The smell of cows and pigs combined with elephant ears and barbecue make for a bit of what the fair is like. When I went there as a child, there was a lot of sawdust around, which gave me asthma. They paved over everything, but this time of year still gives me breathing problems. In high school, we heard about the girlie shows. Supposedly, they were pretty raunchy in the smaller fairs like Newberry or Orangeburg, but I never went to those. I did sneak into the show at the State Fair, wearing my overcoat to make me look older, but there wasn't much to it. The fair has become more family oriented. The girlie shows went away. The games became more winable. The rides were less dangerous. The fair became more regulated.

One of the most scaredest moments in my life was going on a ride one night. I think I was around 9. The top of the ride closed up on me, and there was no seat belt, and I flopped around inside the ride for what weemed like an eternity. I screamed for them to stop it, but they didn't until the ride was over. I don't like to go upside down anymore. As I have gotten older, the exhibits have gotten more interesting. I went twice to the fair this year, working for Andre. It was fun watching the kids' faces and watching people. Recapturing the magic of the fair. It was good to eat an elephant ear, but I don't suggest you do it all the time, or fried Pepsi, but once a year is not bad.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Gotham

I know. I haven't done any blogs recently. Well, I have been to the fair, and I will write about that later. I haven't been carrying my notebook, which has all my writings in it, and I have been pressed for time with the library computer, so I haven't written anything here, but I was compelled to write something today about an incident that happened to me this morning. There is a restaurant downtown called The Gotham. It sells sandwiches and drinks, and it opens every morning at 7. It is pretty big, as it takes up half of an old dime store on Main Street. The ceilings are high and they have a lot of floor space. They also have 4 flat screen TV's hanging from the ceiling. It is a comfotable place to go, especially on a cold morning. Their stuff is a bit expensive. I only have $4 to my name, and a small coffee or tea runs $1.30. So, this morning, I walked in a little after 7 and sat down at a corner table. No one else was in there. A worker came over to me and said I needed to buy something to sit there. I immediately thought that this would take almost half of my worldly money, but I also had to think about being out in the cold, so I told him I would get a hot tea soon. He then got mad and told me to buy it now or get out. I realized that he had a prejudice against homeless people. About 30 tables in the place and 150 chairs. I was the only person in there. They hadn't even turned on the TV's or the lights, but I had to get out. Customer service or tact were traits he was probably not born with nor had he developed. I had flashbacks to the days where blacks could not be served because of the color of their skin. I had flashbacks to the days where long-haired guys could not be served because of their hairstyle or dress. Yes, I am homeless. I am sure that they have had a problem with homeless people using their bathrooms or panhandling to customers. But, I am a very civil person. I know how to act. I don't cause trouble. I don't want to tell people not to go to The Gotham. I don't what to slander Fred, the worker who told me to buy something or leave. I am trying to be cordial to everyone and not threaten anyone. However, there are people in this world who are still prejudiced toward others without getting to know them. Why? Because a few have ruined it for the many. I could tell you not to spend your money at a place like that, but I won't. You need to make that decision for yourself. All I am saying is be careful. And, if you see me freezing outside, because I don't have any money to go through the door, then may my epitaph be that Fred said get out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Observations

When it rains in Columbia, drivers pay less attention to pedestrians. All a lot of them want to do is speed through the lights to avoid having to test their brakes.

The State Fair is in town. I used to love to go there as a child, despite asthma attacks. I like to go every other year now. I guess I'll go this year for Andre.

Columbia is a very gray place, when it rains. It sort of is gray, when it's sunny. Give me a can of paint and a brush, and I'll brighten it up.

Without faith, I'm dead. I have to have faith that somebody will help me. Why hasn't that person come forward? I still have faith. I guess.

I really want to open a store. I know I could do well with my business plan. It would be a unique place to buy pop culture memorabilia like posters, music, autographs, and lots more. I just need a financial backer. It's not a pipe dream. It's my destiny. If you want me to email my business plan to you, let me know. My email is

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm Walking

There's an old Fats Domino song called "I'm Walkin'", but this blog isn't about that. It is about another homeless activity called walking. Unless one is lucky enough to have a bus pass, we walk everywhere. We get blisters. They hurt, so we slow down when we walk. So, it takes longer for us to walk through intersections, and guess what happens next? Cars try to run us over. I'm sure it's the car's fault and not the driver. So, the car honks its horn, despite us having the right of way. There is is great scene from "Midnight Cowboy" where Dustin Hoffman screams at a taxi--"I'm walking here". That's what its like. Or, you wait for a car to go by to cross the street, and they suddenly turn before you without putting on a blinker. Did he just think I was taking a nap standing up? No one around but me and him. Totally clueless. Then, there was the time I was crossing the street in the middle of the block. No one but me and an approaching car. I calculated the distance and determined I had enough time to cross the street. The driver sped up and tried to hit me, as if it was a sport. So, if you see me walking around, remember that I have the right of way. Take that into consideration, as you are talking on the phone and texting. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Disco Music

I may have covered this before, but I love disco music. It is one of my guilty pleasures, along with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. You never really know what impact that stages of your life might have, until you look back on them. In the 1970's. it was disco.

When I first saw "Saturday Night Fever", I didn't much care for the movie, but the music knocked me out. I was working in a music store in Texas, and we plaed the soundtrack over and over again. Also at the time were The Village People and Donna Summer. This music was what our lives revolved around.

I would usually go to the local discos twice a week. Sometimes more. I would request them play "Macho Man" everytime I would go. Some DJ's would see me come in and hide that record. I had a bunch of disco 8-tracks and records. Also, I could do a great impression of Rod Stewart singing "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy". Too bad nobody filmed that.

The critics of disco will say that the music was over-produced or canned. So what? So is a lot of music today. It was just fun music. Fun to dance to, and fun to listen to. I even heard some disco on the oldies radio station yesterday.

Some people wanted to kill disco years ago. They revolted against it. Maybe that was good, since it gave that era defined perameters. But, if you want to hear something really good, search for Casablanca Records. Most of those artists, except for Kiss, most people today have never heard of. You might be surprised.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Wish

Let me ask you a question. Are wishes futile expressions? The reason I ask this is that my wishes may seem like empty chatter, but they are how I keep going day after day. Without them, I wouldn't have anything to live for. So, I am thinking that wishes are not bad. They are a means to express wants, desires, or needs. The bad part is that most people let you have your wishes, but they don't act on them.
So, what are my wishes? I guess you've read most of them before, but here goes (in no particular order). I wish for:
1. A place to live.
2. A store of my own.
3. Enough money to sustain myself.
4. Love.
5. If not my own store, then a good job.
6. Happiness.
7. World Peace (everyone has that one).
8. A Car.
9. Family and Friends would like me.
10. People to have faith in me.
I guess that's about covers it. Some are more concrete than others. I wish someone would read this blog.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pray For

My English teachers always said not to end a sentence with a preposition. So, what do we pray for? Health, Strength, Guidance, and Wisdom. Stuff like that. Is it wrong to pray for wealth? I don't think it is necessarily bad, as long as your heart is in the right place. I have been praying for others. As bad as my situation is, I know others need prayer, too. My prayers. Everyone's prayers. Prayer works. I'd be dead now without it. So, let's pray.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lenny Farmer

I have a friend named Lenny Farmer, although his first name is actually Walter. He and I were suitemates at Anderson College. He introduced me to Frank Zappa's music early on, and anyone who knows Lenny would find that strange. He and I were like brothers at Anderson. We were best friends. That was a jammin' suite that year with Steve Aaron, Mike Campbell, Ricky Branham, Louis Nexsen, and Lenny's roommate whose name escapes me. Lenny majored in music, and I was majoring in English. One day, the music professor asked Lenny to move the piano onto the stage of the auditorium to get ready for the next day's chapel. He asked me if I wanted to help him. When we got to the auditorium, there was a play rehearsal going on, so we sat quietly waiting for it to end. A student named Reed Bowman saw us sitting out there and asked us if we wanted to be in the play. Lenny didin't, but I agreed to do a small part. That play was "Up the Down Staircase", and that event changed my life. I dropped the English major and decided to major in Speech and Drama. And, as they say, the rest is history. Lenny and I went our separate ways after AC, but we stayed in contact. We both went to seminary. Lenny became a preacher for several years. He would later move to TN and go into business, but staying with his ministry roots. He became a big fan of The Cobbwebs, which I write songs for. Lenny is in a hospital today after having heart surgery a couple of days ago. All indications are he will be okay. If you have a moment today, say a prayer for Lenny.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Observations

Where is there a place where I can take a nap? The Library? They'll kick you out. The park? You might get robbed. Where? They need nap zones downtown, among other things.

Why isn't there anybody that will alow me to stay with them? It is a test, isn't it? I was never good at taking tests. My grades were evident of that. I'm actually a little tired of tests.

I hate hypocrites. One minute--I'm going to kill you. The next minute--I know church and can quote the Bible. So, which is it?

It has stopped raining and has gotten very windy. One friend told me that I was shallow for talking about the weather, when there were other topics we could be discussing. Another friend suggested that I should become a TV weatherman, because I knew a lot and was kind of goofy. I didn't know that goofyness was a requirement, but looking back on it--all of the TV weatherman I have know were a little goofy, even Stowe Hoyle. Look him up.

More Observations

There's something wrong with the national news, when they lead with the story about David Letterman being blackmailed over affairs, and the next story is the US stepping up their hunt for terrorists. Have we forgotten 9/11?

I hate bronchitis. I don't mind so much living by myself. At least, I can just hear myself cough. But, staying in a room with over 20 guys, and they have to hear me cough. Well, that's not so good.

I went to the ER for my bronchitis. When they found out I didn't have any insurance, they just did a couple of x-rays and perscribed some medicine. If I had insurance, who knows what they would have done.

When at the ER, I thought everyone seemed very friendly. Too friendly. When I'm sick, I don't really care what your first name is. Ask me five minutes later, and I won't be able to tell you what your name is. Sorry to say, because the female nurse was especially nice.

I watched a couple make out in the park. They seemed oblivious of what was going on around them, or they didn't care. It reminded me a bit of the summer of love that lasted six years (1967-73). The timing is debatable.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Dreams

I dream in color. I have heard it said that those who dream in color are usually more creative than those who dream in black and white. There is not a real theme to my dreams. Some are action dreams. Others have people I know in them. Still others are dangerous dreams.

Most recently, my dreams have been pretty vivid. Recently, I had a dream, where I was helping Roger Moore as James Bond fight Grace Jones. Who knows why that was my dream, because often I dream about things that have crossed my mind that day, and I don't remember thinking about that. But, that's the great thing about dreams. They sometimes surprise you.

Without sounding too strange, I have been dreaming a lot recently about my friend Konnie. I have thought about her many times. She is a very good friend and a genuinely nice person. Maybe if she wasn't married... But, that's another story for another time. My Konnie dreams make me happy in an otherwise not so happy life, and they provide me with warmth in an otherwise cold existence.

For the most part, my dreams provide an escape, which I need staying at a homeless shelter. I usually remember most of my dreams. After my father and mother died, I would dream of them constantly. I thought I was going crazy, but thanks to the advice of a friend, I treated them as "visits", and they eventually subsided.

I once dreamed lyrics and music for a song, but I woke up without writing them down. That's a regret, because I think that's how McCartney wrote "Yesterday".

There are those who say they don't dream. I think they do, but they don't remember them. Dreams are good. I hope I have a good one tonight.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Library

Let's start and say the Richland County Public Library is nice. It has four levels. The basement is for children. Any chance that the library would be quiet goes out the window, because you can hear the children yell all the way to the top. I think it is a glorified daycare, and the parents haven't taught them about being quiet. They're just glad to be rid of them for about an hour.

When I was a kid, coming to the library was a cool thing to do. In fact, my first play was a Christmas pageant that was staged at the library. I was around 6m and I played a wise man. That was when the library was on Sumter Street. It has been torn down and replaced with a parking lot for First Baptist Church.

The newer library has computers to use. I do also read books sometimes. They have a DVD collection. Maybe one day, I'll check those out. It also is a place where the homeless hang out. On a day like Monday, where it rained all day, they were in there a lot more than usual. The library doesn't seem to mind much, unless they catch them sleeping instead of reading. It is possible to be banished from the library for a day, if they catch you sleeping. There are several plain-clothes security people in the library. I suppose that's good, except they can treat their jobs as being more important than they really are. There is a sign out front that says no food or drink in the library. They don't seem to enforce that rule, but God forbid you fall asleep.

If we didn't have the library, you would see a lot more homeless talking to themselves. One would get crazier a lot faster. There are also several satellite libraries around the city, but I don't think they have computers to use there, and I would venture a guess that they don't have many homeless there either.

So, the library can be a refuge amidst the chaos of the outside world. And maybe, some people will pick up a little education, too.

Being Sick

I have a little cold. Of course, when it's your cold, it's not little. I've been taking asprin and cough drops. I don't have enough money for cold medicine. One thing about living in a homeless shelter is that guys get sick. When you have 25 guys sleeping in one room, the chances of picking up a germ is pretty great. One guy, about a week ago, got swine flu. Everyone has been a little scared about that. I think they cleaned everything, so unless a new guy brings it in, the threat has passed. Although, a guy last night was experiencing some symptoms. Meanwhile, we are all just trying to make it. Some people are sick in the head, but that's another story.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More Observations

The homeless population in Columbia is not very big, but it is bigger than you might think. Some may not look homeless, but they are.

I wish the weather would make up its mind. Hot-Cold-Cool-Warm-Chilly, etc. It should be either it is or it isn't.

There is a guy in the mission I had to tell to leave me alone. Apparently, some people are afraid to say anything to him. I had to.

When it rains, some folks handle it better than others. There should be a warning lable on polyester jackets--don't get wet, because it takes a long time to dry.

Some people enjoy rain--construction workers. I like rain, unless it is cold and windy. It is also a good time to cuddle up with the one you love. Fill in the blank.

I just spent two hours at Bank of America. I needed a signature of a bank officer on a pension direct deposit form. Unfortunately, there was only one guy working there today. And on a Monday. Can't figure that out. They had five offices there.

New Beginning

Everyday is a new beginning with me. After all, I am trying to hang on for one more day. One more day. I live day to day. What does that mean? Day to day? Well, I just don't want to do harm to myself. I guess that's it. What kind of harm are we talking about? Take your pick. There are so many. Use your imagination. I know that there are people out there who want to sabotage my job search. My past actions from a year or two ago have contributed to that sabotage. I guess had I been smarter or had more money, the result might be different, but every time I put in my social security number on an application, they are going to run a credit check. So, no matter how great my resume is, something is going to kick out. So, I take responsibility for that. Then, there are the things I can't control, like other people. If somebody says something bad about me, word gets around. I've tried to do things on my own, but sometimes I hit walls. I know the world has changed. I am just trying to survive. I woke up today which is another new beginning. What's the prognosis? Day to day.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Open Letter

Anyone reading my blogs over the last year or so will know of my deep desire for a second chance at life. I have sunk to about the lowest point any human could be, short of prison. I have seen many things that I wish I hadn't. My priorities have changed from enjoyment to survival. Many people cannot begin to identify with my situation. I am rather intelligent and very creative, but due to my situation, I am in dire need of help.

Yes, some people are probably tired of my begging for help. I guess that I would be, if the tables were turned. I feel like there is someone out there who might be interested in me. I wish that someone was you.

Over the past three weeks, I have shed a lot of tears. More than I have in a long time. I have sought counseling and rejoined a church. I have regained my will to live, and I feel better about myself. But, I need a job and the ability to move out of the shelter. I also need money to live on at the present time. And, most of all right now, I need somewhere more stable to sleep. Somewhere that I don't dread going to or fear for my life. Somewhere secure. I also miss not being able to sell my stuff on the internet and elsewhere, as it is all currently in storage.

I am not asking that you pity me. I'm only asking that you'll love me and help me regain my life. There are so many obstacles that I am feeling right now. It is a maze that I am trying to navigate. Hold my hand and guide me through the maze. I may even make you laugh, and you'll see what a cool person I am.

Thanks for reading. Please say yes to me.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Another Threat

Just a short note here today that I had another threat from an individual in the sleep room at the shelter today. He took exception to my brushing up next to him in a very small confined space. He made a comment to me that I won't repeat, but it was vile. I know these are just idle threats, and they won't do anything about them, but I told him I was sorry for touching him accidentally. He didn't want to accept my apology, as he is a thug. As I have said in the past, I like to think that all humans are basically good, but there seem to be those who just don't care to be in the least bit normal. One guy said many awful things last night directed at the mission leaders. If he felt so strongly about how much he hated it, why does he stay? And, why does he ruin it for the rest of us? And why does he say he has a house to go to and doesn't need to be there? It is a very strange place where I am staying now. Please help me get out of there. And away from the thugs. If I would say something to them, I would be coming down to their level, and I don't want to do that. I have tried to treat them with kindness, but they are truly vile people and do not belong in society, I am sorry to say. Okay, I'm all better now.