Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back Again

A friend mentioned to me yesterday that I haven't written anything in a while. I am sorry about that, but I have been busy with other things. I am selling stuff online via eBay and Amazon, and it takes time to list things. If you knew everything that I had, you would understand. I have also been making several trips to storage to get things out. Without a car, I have to do it bit by bit. Usually the equivalent of two boxes each time. The books and tapes are heavy, but I now have all of the cd's and dvd's moved. Half of the records. A third of the video tapes. And a majority of the books. All of the clothes. A few of the posters. None of the furniture. So, it is a long process. A friend said he would rent a truck to help out, but that remains to be seen. Also, I started writing a book about my experiences being homeless. I think I will have to write it over, since some people don't want to be in it, despite my changing names. Maybe, I'll get it written one day. One friend told me not to put it off, because it would be hard to remember things, but I think that will not be a problem. I have a fantastic memory. No real job to speak of yet. But, I do have a lot of meetings with the housing people, and they are helping me apply for disability. I have trouble seeing thanks to cataracts. Maybe, if I get approved for medicaid, they can be removed. We will see (no pun intended). I have been blessed in the last few months. I do not take anything for granted. So, don't think I don't care about my readers. I do very much. And, thanks for caring about me. It means a lot.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

Yesterday was Father's Day. A day we remember our fathers or honor our fathers. It is a day that is not qui9te as big as Mother's Day, although I really think they should be celebrated together. After all, about 99.99999% of babies born in the world have had a mother and a father. Maybe those folks from test tubes or artificially inseminated could question the motehr and father theory, but for most of us, we had a mother and a father.

I have written here before about my father. He wasn't around a lot, since he was working. I didn't really realize until much loater in his life exactly what an impact he had on others. We really didn't see eye to eye on most issues, and quite frankly we fought a lot. But, he was still my father.

When I went off to college, one of the questions they asked you was the furtherest you had been. At that time for me it was California. My father had taken us to Disneyland and San Francisco, when I was 5. It was our cross country vacation. Some people in my college class had not been past Atlanta. I thought that was strange. Didn't everybody have vacations to California? Didn't everybody travel to 29 out of the 50 states? Didn't they? Well, we did. And,
I didn't realize how special our family was. I didn't realize how special my father was. I kind of knew about my Mother, but not Daddy. I just knew him as my father.

He is in Heaven now. I have learned much more about him over the years. I won't bore you with it, but just to say that we had a good life in our growing up. We had good parents. I wish more could say that, and then maybe our world would be a better place.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Birthday

Contrary to popular belief, I still think about my blog. It has been over a month, but it is on my mind from time to time. I really should write more, but I am doing other things now. For example, I am writing a book about my homeless experience, which thankfully has come to an end. What?????????????????? No longer homeless??

Yes, I said it. I am now living in an apartment, thanks to some very helpful people. Some people who said yes to me. Now, I am trying to figure out how I am going to get all of my stuff in it, but it is a luxury that I can enjoy. The place is kind of small but livable. It is near two bus lines and a grocery store. The location is very good, and it is relatively quiet. All in all, I am blessed, and it is a true answer to prayer.

So, now we come to today. It is my birthday. At least, the one on my birth certificate. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have 2 birthdays. Today and January 4th. But, today is the one we are celebrating, and it is a very happy day for me. I am not in love, but short of that, it is happy, because I am no longer homeless. I think you can be happy for me too. I am no longer looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I am out of the tunnel and into the light. I don't have a conventional job yet, but I am selling my stuff on the internet once again. Another blessing.

So, if you see me smiling, you will know why. Others will just think I'm crazy. Let them wonder why. You will have a jump on them. God has been good to me. I hope He will be for you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Caring Souls

Last week, I got an email on my Myspace page. It was quite unusual, because I really don't use Myspace much, and the emails I usually get on there are spam, so this was quite unusual. The email was from a place called USC Supportive Housing. It is an arm of the USC School of Medicine, and their goal is to help homeless people with housing and counseling. I had been there before with a friend but had not applied to them personally. Why? I don't really know why. But, they wanted to talk with me. The only contact I had had from them with anything was that they ran the winter shelter, where I spent two weeks.

So, last Friday, I went to see them. I met with the guy who oversaw the shelter, and the first words out of his mouth were that there were a lot of people who cared about me. I know that people care, but I have been told no so many times during this homeless ordeal that I have become a little less trusting. So, I have to be reminded about those who care. He told me that a friend in city politics contacted him on my behalf. I did not request this person to do anything for me, but she cared. So, I was put on the fast track to get housing that could be permanent.

I have met with the man once since that initial meeting, and we got the ball rolling. My church is filled with caring souls. It looks like I will be able to get into a place soon. I was to have another meeting today, but it was postponed until Monday. I should have a more clear picture then. But, I am deeply humbled that people care about me. I have gotten some criticism about my being put on the fast track. You know the old saying--It is not what you know, it is who you know. I am deeply sorry about this and maybe losing some friends over it, but if they were in my position, they would have done the same thing. No, that's okay. Let someone else have the place. I'll just wait my turn. Well, guess what? It doesn't work that way. Life is sometimes unfair.

So, I thank God that there are caring souls out there. I just hope that I won't let them down. And, if I say thank you so many times that you get tired of it, then so be it. Thank you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Being Outside

When I first started writing my blog an eternity ago, I tried to do it daily. In recent weeks or months, that has become increasingly difficult. It isn't because I don't have anything to say. The trouble is that I have too much to say. The trouble also is that some of what I want to say is stuff that may not be so pleasant to read. Or perhaps, the reader will have a hard time understanding or identifying with what I am writing about. So with that in mind, try and picture some of this stuff in your mind. Maybe you have seen some of it on TV, although it doesn't do it justice. Maybe you have seen some of it in real life, but you don't know what you are seeing. What is the reality? What is the truth? Can you really know what goes on out on the street? I would like to humbly say that you don't unless you have lived it yourself. And, don't tell me that you lived on the street as a social experiment one night with your church or school to experience what it is like to be homeless. That just doesn't cut it.

I really didn't want to write about sleeping outside, as there is a stigma to it. At least in a mission or homeless shelter, there is a roof over your head and a bed in which to sleep. So, you are not quite homeless, even though the government classifies you as such. But, when you are out on the street, sleeping under the stars, it is an entirely different matter. Such was the case for me about two weeks ago. I found myself with nowhere to go. No shelter. No mission. No friend's place. I can't tell you where I slept, because it is an unwritten law among the homeless not to divulge your sleeping place. Why? Others may want to use it too, which would get kind of crowded. Or, the police might find out and want to move you. So, I will just refer to it as Hotel California.

The place was not far from downtown in a residential and commercial area. I had thought, when it was presented to me, that we had permission to sleep there. I found out later that this was not quite the case. The property owners knew we were there, but they didn't like it. After a night or two on the streets, I saw why some homeless people are paranoid or mentally disturbed. There are so many things that one must consider just to lay your head on concrete. First is the place. How secluded is it? Can you easily be seen? Second, you must have a sleeping bag. It is better if you have a pad under it. Unfortunately, I don't. So, my 56 year old joints hurt all the time from coming in contact with concrete. And, forget about rolling over in your sleep. That is extremely painful. Third, you need to have one or more people sleeping in your area. I am fortunate in this. I have two friends who are very concerned about my well-being. I am protected. This is good in case another human happens to come by. Not so good if that human is a policeman. Fourth, you need somewhere that you won't get rained on. Although some homeless people use the rain as their bath. I choose not to do that. I have learned the fine art of finding a bathroom somewhere and washing in their sink. No, it is not the best solution, but at least you can stand downwind of me. One downside to all of this is the pesky mosquito. Insect repellents don't work too well, so you just have to grin and bear it. My right hand swelled up last week as a result of insect bites. One person suggested to me today to get a net and put over me. I think that is a great idea, and when I get some money, I will invest in one.

The police are going after the homeless now. I don't know why. Most of them are very calm souls. Yes, some do drugs and drink, and I guess that is where we get our bad reputation. But, I see many more who just want to sleep for a few hours and carry on. I have seen a drug deal go down with a backup car filled with guys with guns. I have seen people wandering around talking to themselves. I have seen a community of people within our city. And most are nice and ask how you are doing. So, don't look down on these people, because they should get your respect. Whether they be illiterate or well-educated. For example, I talked with a guy today who knew the songs Glenn Miller did. Does that sound like a homeless guy rambling? It wasn't.

I am hoping not to be living outside much longer. There is a move afoot to get me a more permanent place to live. But until then, don't step on us in the dark and say a kind word. We may not trust you at first, but maybe at least we will nod or smile back.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pants Down

The title sounds kind of sexual, but I assure you that this blog is nothing of the sort. It is about fashion, or the lack thereof. My father was a stickler for always looking your best. From the clothes you wore to your hair. Everything had to be in place. He insisted that we carry a comb around with us, but I didn't like to do that. I was a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. But, I also knew that there was a time and place for what to wear. The times have changed for some people.

Case in point: I was riding on the bus this morning, and a guy got on dressed in jeans, shirt, jacket and cap. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except his jeans were pulled down over his butt, and we could see his underwear clearly. The good news is that is underwear was bright red which matched his bright red cap. Even his belt had red in it, so at least he was color-coordinated. However, no one wanted to see his butt. Covered or not. If he had pulled up his pants, they would have been more like capri pants, so I got to thinking.

I was a buyer for a large department store. What we bought was based on what we sold. So, if a clothing buyer saw that they were selling a lot of jeans of a particular size, they would buy more of that size. But, if the customer was buying jeans that were too small or short for them normally, just so their butts would show, the buyer would assume that a convention of short squatty people had bought their jeans. Do you see how this would mess up an inventory? How can 6-foot tall men buy jeans made for 5-foot tall men without messing up an inventory?

I am not the fashion police. After all, I don't pretend to wear designer clothes. Nor, do I subscribe to GQ Magazine. But, I do not what looks good on people, and this fashion trend just doesn't. Without being racist, I would assume that it is inspired by some rapper or something, but it just looks wrong. There really needs to be someone to come along and tell these clueless individuals that they look stupid. And, how do they run? They can't. It is more like a waddle. Or else, they just fall on their faces.

Pull your pants up. Please!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bus Pass

If I write politically charged blogs, I tend to censor myself, because I don't want to offend any relatives or friends that it might directly affect. I used not to be this way. When I was in school, I used to write things all the time that were controversial. As I got older, I became more aware of how my words would affect people close to me. However, today I must revert back to those school days.

The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) runs our buses. It used to be run by SCANA, which was the local elcctric company, but the buses were taken over by this entity several years ago. One plus was that the buses followed their schedules more closely. One minus was that some routes were eliminated. All in all, I have had a positive impression of the bus system, until last week. Because I have to ride the buses, since my car blew up last year, it has been my major form of getting around. I walk a lot too. In order to ride the bus, you need either cash (you better have exact change) or you need a pass of some sort. Generally, there are two kinds of passes. The first is a monthly bus pass. This costs $40, and it entitles you to ride the buses for a month, no matter how many times. The second pass is the 10-ride pass which costs $12. Since it costs $1.50 to ride the bus each way, the 10-ride pass basically gives you one trip free.

So last week, my monthly bus pass ran out, and I needed a new one. I took my $40 to the transit station downtown (which is the only place one can purchase a pass), and I was told that they didn't have any. Upon further discussion with the worker there, I found out that they only have 10 of these passes per employee shift. They had plenty of the 10-ride pass, so I bought one of those. I used it up in two days. I went back to the station and was told they still didn't have any month passes with the same excuse. I had seen others with these passes riding the buses. How could they get them and not me? I had to buy a 10-ride pass again. I used it up in 3 days. So today, I went back to the transit station to see about a month pass and was told to come back at 2, when the employee shift changed, and maybe I could get one then.

I was livid. So, I called customer service for the CMRTA. I had actually done that last week too, and left my name and number for them to get back with me, since they are too afraid to answer the phone, but no one got back with me. I emailed them too, with no response from them. Of course, today the customer service supervisor didn't answer her phone (her name is Brittany), so I left antother message. This one was a bit more terse, even though I apologized to her if I seemed rude. But, she hasn't called back. What does "customer service" mean? I did it for 30 years and won awards. Does it mean that they just sit back in their offices and do nothing but get a paycheck and go home? Who cares about the customer?

With the economy being as it is, a lot of people are riding the buses now. I know that the $40 bus pass does not generate as much revenue as the $12 pass or the $1.50 cash ride, but it is convenient to use. I wonder if they trust their employees not to handle large amounts of cash, as they sit behind a bullet-proof glass window at the station. And, why does one have to go to the transit station to get a pass? Why can't you order one online and have them mail it to you? And, why do you have to use cash? Why can't you use debit or credit cards to purchase these passes. They know they have me over a barrel here, because I am downtown, and I am staying 10 miles away. I could walk it, I suppose, but they know I won't, so I will pay whatever they want me to pay.

People need to wake up and see how this company treats its riders. Their customer service is a joke. Now that I have vented, I will return to more nice thoughts. Maybe.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Catching Up

Well, you know I don't write this blog every day anymore. I don't know why. I guess I am feeling a lack to say anything important. Things are kind of mundane right now. Oh, there are things going on. I had a job interview on Tuesday with Macy's. Yes, Macy's. The same Macy's that I left 2 years ago, because they hadn't given me a raise in 4 years, and I could no longer afford to live, so I moved to Greenville. The same Macy's that I was supposed to transfer to the Greenville store, but no one did the paperwork. The same Macy's where I tried to get hired back on numerous occasions, but they said no. Well, finally they said yes. Come in for an interview, so I did. It turned out that the job was for a floater with no set hours, but a job is a job, and I will find out next week. They also want a full-time furniture associate, and I asked to be considered for that, despite the fact that the supervisor doesn't want me. Jealousy is a bad thing in business. Can't we all just get along; bury the hatchet; and move on? I can, but others can't.

I am still trying to find a stable and secure place to live. Right now, I am staying with a friend at a motel, but I don't know how long that can last. He doesn't have a car, and I have to ride the bus, and I don't have money to ride the bus. The bus doesn't come by here on weekends, so I have to walk 3 miles to the nearest bus stop to get to church. Someone did offer a place to me that would be much cheaper near USC, but if I got the job at Macy's, it would be impossible to get there. I also have a friend who tells me that he will protect me, if I choose to live outdoors in a sleeping bag. That is a scary option. At least, I am not around a lot of homeless people right now. Many of them are good people with unfortunate things that have happened to them, which has put them in this position. Others choose to be homeless and don't want to better themselves. They live off of society. They are rather sad. But, one needs to show them respect at any rate. We are all God's children, after all.

I have a few things up on eBay right now. If you do a seller search for "wdurst", you'll find them. Please bid on them, if you can. I need the money. I'll try to do more later, if I can get help getting to my storage place to get them. I continue to have a strained relationship with some friends, but this experience has helped me develop new friendships. I wonder what I would have been like had I not left Macy's and moved to Greenville and then back to Columbia. Things would have been vastly different, and I am not sure I would have liked it. Sometimes, change is good. Sometimes, one needs to radically shake things up. That is where we are right now. And, if you can spare a few dollars, please paypal me at I really need a $40 monthly bus pass. And $100 to continue staying here another week.

God bless us all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Mission

Last night was the last night I had at Oliver Gospel Mission. I had stayed there 6 months, which was the maximum time allowed in the program that I was in, which is called "Hand Up". It was all of that. It is designed to allow you to have a bed and look for a job during the day. Due to the economy and my age, I haven't been able to find a job, but at least they fed me twice a day for free and let me sleep in an upper bunk bed. Most of the time, I didn't have any trouble getting in and out of bed, except for the time when my chest hurt from coughing, and it hurt to raise myself up. I coughed a lot for two reasons. First, there was no air circulation and it was usually hot up there. Second, I have had recurring pneumonia from living in a petri dish. Germs run rampant through there. So, I am on a new round of antibiotics. The hospital told me that they would admit me if it came back again. So, where do I go from here?

I am staying for two weeks at the Winter Shelter, which is sponsored by USC and the Salvation Army. When that closes in April, maybe I can find something else. I must say that my time at the Mission has not been all bad. Most of the people I have met there have been good and decent people. Many of the residents don't practice their Christianity. But, at least they get a dose of it at chapel every night, if they aren't sleeping. Chapel features a different preacher each night, and quite frankly some contradict others, but the message is basically the same. I won't have that at the Winter Shelter, as it is secular in nature, but I am involved in my church now, so I will continue to be blessed by the Word. The staff at the Mission are also good people, and I think they truly care about others, although some have become hardened by what they have seen come through there.

So, another chapter starts tonight. It will be brief, but hopefully another learning experience. God bless us all.

Friday, March 5, 2010

An Update

I am sorry that I haven't written anything in a while. No excuse. I wasn't washing my hair. I didn't have to do my nails. My car wasn't in the shop. I was sick, but I am better now. Another round of pneumonia. Quite frankly, I have lost count how ever many times I have had pneumonia since being in the shelter. It seems like it has been pretty constant since September. It is like living in a petri dish. There are germs galore. But, they told me that I have to be out of there by March 14th. My six months there will be up, and I can't get an extension. The problem is that I don't know where I will be going next. If I was mentally ill; or had an addiction to drugs or alcohol; or was physically disabled, then I would qualify for housing. But, not if I am somewhat normal without a job. Funny how our system works. They reward those folks who are messed up but not the sane ones. I even had a mental evaluation, and they found me normal. That is scary, huh? So, I am desperately looking for somewhere to live. Preferably with someone at their house. At least for now. Then, I could start selling my stuff on the internet again and make some money. Hopefully, I can write more later. Peace out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Next Guest

Have you noticed that fast food restaurants now have their employees at the register say "Can I help the next guest?" I have seen it so far at Chick-Fil-A and McDonald's. At first, I thought it was nice, but now it is just another way to irritate me. If I was a guest, then I shouldn't have to pay. That is the implied definition of a guest. If you have a guest over to your house, do you make them pay for their meal? Of course not. That would be rude. But, if a restaurant says that you are their guest, they also have their hand out wanting their money. I think I am going to ask McDonald's about that the next time I am in there. And, everyone should too. Let's blow their minds, what little they have. After all, how hard is it to fix a hamburger with just mayo? No cheese? No tomato? No lettuce? It just goes against their grain. Can I help the next guest please?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cancer Free

This is my 500th blog. I apologize to anyone who is reading this, because I haven't written anything in 2 weeks. No excuse. Although, some stuff has happened. When one wants to write a title that is attention-grabbing, it is good to write something that folks will go "Oh". So, that's what has happened to me. A month ago, they did a CT scan on me and found some spots on my lungs. Maybe cancer. Maybe not. When one is presented with a cancer diagnosis, your world stops. You think about your mortality. You want to examine your life. So, last Tuesday I went to a follow-up with the cancer doctor, and he said that I don't have cancer. I do still have a little pneumonia, but that is treated with antibiotics. I took the first round yesterday, and it made me violently ill. I ended up in the ER again for almost 6 hours. They took some blood and did another CT scan and x-ray. Not the most fun in the world, but I was able to sleep last night. I feel better today. I am not sure how much longer I have to stay at the homeless shelter. It may be a few days or a month. At any rate, a friend has suggested I room with him. I still don't have a job, but I will be able to start selling on the internet again. Something that I have truly missed over the last few months. So, this is my 500th blog. Have I mentioned that before? Probably so. I hope you are well. I will try to write more later. God bless us everyone.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How Many More?

Ooo, another three word title, since I usually use two words, but I wanted to emphasize something. I have heard that phrase "how many more" to describe killings. How many more people will die with guns before we ban handguns? How many more people will die at the hands of drunk drivers before we crack down on them? The list could be endless. Even, how many more rap songs to we have to listen to before somebody stands up and says enough. It isn't music. But, I digress.

Yesterday, at 4:45pm, I was walking from the library to the mission for supper. That is when they serve it. So, I have to cross two roads to get to the block I need to be to get to the mission. The cross streets are Assembly and Hampton. I got across Assembly okay. It is the busier of the two streets with six lanes. Hampton has four lanes. So, I waited until the light turned green, and I had the walk sign before crossing Hampton. All of a sudden, a driver runs the red light on Hampton; barely missing the cars on Assembly; tires screeched; horns blared; and he missed me by a couple of feet. I stopped in the road and yelled at the driver, but he kept on going at the same speed. Had he been texting? Was he on the phone? Was he running from the cops? Your guess is as good as mine. But, the fact remains that he ran the light. I think someone called the cops, because I saw a police car with his lights and siren on speeding down Taylor Street, which is one block over, heading in the direction of where the driver was going. I can't tell you if the driver was a man or a woman, but I do know that there is no excuse for what the driver did.

Since I walk everywhere, I see a lot of things. One thing that I know is that pedestrians have the right of way, if the signs dictate it. I don't care how busy you are, or how big of a car you have. You have to obey the laws. But, the pedestrians need to watch out for the cars. It should be the other way around. Maybe, in some towns it is. But, in Columbia, many drivers think they own the road. How many more are going to run red lights before someone is seriously injured or killed? How many more?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oh Fine

It was somewhat inspiring, but a little bit bad, when I would ask Mother how she was toward the end of her life. Her stock answer was "Oh fine". You knew she wasn't fine. After all, she had a massive stroke that took away her ability to drive, walk or speak well. She had macular degeneration, which took away her ability to see and read. She also broke a hip or two. Daddy had died. She didin't have anyone to read to her. But, she never complained. She would just smile and say "Oh, fine".

I was never one to do that. If someone asked me how I was, I would tell them. If I had a pain, I would say where I hurt. If I had a problem, I would voice it. I was never just fine. That is, until today. I was in Sunday School. My third grade teacher came up to me and asked how I was doing, and I said "Oh, fine". She looked into my eyes and asked me if I was sure. I told her yes. She said that we had a good history together, so if I needed her for anything, that I was to call her. I appreciated the sentiment, but I was mad at myself. Why did I say what I did? Why couldn't I tell her the truth? I need a good paying job. I need a place to stay. I did have a good report from the doctor last week, which I thank God for, but I am not fine. I won't get anywhere if I am not honest with people, but for today--"Oh, fine". Gee. They say I look like my Mother, although I have a moustache. Now, I am sounding like her. Scary.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Two Events

Since last we met, two things have happened that I wanted to comment on. First, my trip to see the cancer doctor. As I asked Joni, is it okay to be scared and positive at the same time? She said yes. I was scared. What were the spots on my lungs? I hadn't smoked since 1980. After a lot of questions and examination, the doctor said he thought the spots were a result of my pneumonia and not cancer. I am to go back in a month for a follow-up, but I was relieved. They did take some blood. The nurse was so good, I didn't feel a thing. Then, the doctor told me not to worry about paying him anything. I went to see a social worker there, and she gave me a card that said I would get any treatment and tests for free. A real answer to prayer.

The second event happened at the city bus terminal. A man was approached by a city police officer. The man was told to go outside. He said that he was waiting for a bus. The officer repeated himself. The man repeated himself. Then, the officer put handcuffs on the man and searched him. It looked to be as police brutality, but other homeless people told me that it was another example of how the city police can do whatever they want and nobody can do anything about it. If it had happened to me, I would be running to a lawyer and suing the city. I hope no policemen are reading this blog. I should have done something after the cop stopped me for cutting through a parking lot, which was not posted. Live and learn.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Birthday

Today is my 40th birthday. I know. I don't look it. But, it is. I have written before about how the youth at Kilbourne Park Baptist Church changed my life. They showed me that I had self-worth. They showed me that I had talents. They loved me for who I was. They didn't care about what I had done in the past. Consequently, the first 16 years of my life is basically a blur. My life began again on January 4th, 1970. God used those young people as catalysts to get me going again. Yes, I have had setbaacks since then. One of which I am going through right now. But, we carry on. So, if you want to know the details about the impact these people had on my life, go back a ways into my blog. But, for now, thanks to Pam, Sonny, Gail, Craig, Buddy, Ellen, Karen, Debbie, Rhett, Lelia, Allen, Nancy, Lawson, David, and so many more. I love you guys.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mother's Birthday

Today is January 2nd, 2010. That's the first time I have written "2010" in the new year. It usually takes a month for me to remember the correct year.

Today is my Mother's birthday. Both my brother and mother felt cheated in that their birthdays fell around Christmas. My brother's is December 10th. Neither one got really good birthday presents, since Christmas was so close. Usually, it was just a card on their birthdays.

Mother was a special person. I have talked to some people whose mothers were hateful people, but my Mother was very loving. She told me that I was a special baby. Apparently, she had to have an operation for me to be conceived. I don't know the facts about that.

Mother introduced me to the James Bond films and the music of The Beatles. She loved music, books and movies. It is kind of funny that Daddy didn't share in that love. He liked some of the arts, but he didn't have a passion for it. Mother did. I did take Daddy to see "Jesus Christ Superstar", and he liked that. But, that appeal was rare.

So, today is Mother's 95th birthday. I didn't get her a card. Hopefully, this will do instead. Happy Birthday.