Sunday, July 23, 2006
My interesting day in Beaufort...
A good fried of mine had an interesting day and felt he needed to write it down. It is a little long but I think you will like it…
It was just another work day, this morning. I had a noon appointment at Allen AME Church, right up against the fence of Beaufort Marine Corp Air station and next door to the Beaufort animal shelter with the pastor, who is also a police chaplain....to fix his Allen Organ, that was dead (corroded circuit breaker on power amp power supply).
I fixed the organ, and a couple of piddling little problems it had, filled out the bill and the pastor wanted to see my step van shop so I invited him into the air-conditioned coolness. God it was HOT in Beaufort!
Curious about my DJ equipment, I played him some tunes from my MP3 player through the beastly speakers. Suddenly, I looked out at some movement outside and spotted a maroon, early 90's Lumina minivan. A young white man got out and headed for the church door. I notified the pastor, who was intently listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing in 1948. The pastor stopped the young man before he could disappear into this rather large AME church and he went out to see what he wanted, it being a black church a curiosity.
This begins our story, the pastor and me.........
The young man, probably late 20's, skinny but physically fit, was panhandling for gas money to get him, his wife and SIX LITTLE BOYS from 2 to about 8 years old back home to Orlando! They ran out of money, so the sad story goes, when the van broke down coming back from North Carolina on I-95 and had to get it fixed with about all they had.
Man, looking into that van at those six little blonde boys who were hungry and hot, their pink little faces showing the fatigue of the hot day, just melted your heart....and maybe our brains, too. Pastor refused to give them money, for fear of it not going to help those boys the way the country's state is today, but offered to take them up to a nearby gas station to put some gas in the tank to help them on their way.....I followed along in case this was a setup to steal his monstrous Cadillac or hold him up. We're out in the country, ya know.
As he pulled into the gas station on the Charleston side of the USMC main gate road, I noticed he had donned his POLICE CHAPLAIN hat to gauge what the adult's reaction would be if this were a scam. He told me he'd been scammed a few times before. Lots of churches are.
The woman seemed a little nervous, but there was no reaction of flight. I got out of my step van and went into the store to see what foods this convenience store had for little boys to eat. Pastor came inside to prepay for some gas, without the adults in the van, so we talked about our predicament and I got his assessment of the situation.
He went back outside to talk to the kids some more, trying to find out some truths as I explained to the clerks what was going on to put them at ease. That settled, I looked out to see pastor had all the walking kids, 5 blonde-topped white kids all smiling, in tow across the parking lot. They came into the store and started to peruse the candy racks, about all the store had to offer. The kids, being kids, chose the absolute worst, nasty candy TV sells them. Mom, still looking a little fearful at that hat, probably fearing us calling the cops and DSS child welfare bureaucrats on them, stood by while pastor and I told them to get whatever they wanted. Mom tried to stop it at one item, but we'd have none of that. Most of the boys got 2 or 3 junk foods. We insisted they get a Coke or some other drink as the only liquids we saw in the van was a fruit punch jug full of water.
Well, he was buying gas, so I coughed up for the goodies. The boys, though clean and not dressed in rags, clearly were not used to such treats and thanked me profusely. We kept them inside the cool store to see if we could cool them down before packing back in this un-air conditioned van. The man said if they ran the AC, the van overheated. Not good. After some cajoling, pastor convinced Mom to get this awful shirt off the poor overheated little baby-in-a-Pamper. She had a box and a half of Pampers in the van, enough to make it to Orlando, we thought.
The boys followed pastor back out to the van and climbed in as dad finished the gas pumping. "What's the gas gauge read?” pastor asked him. It was about 1/2 a tank on the pastor's $20. "Wait here.” I instructed, on my way back into the store. I added another $20 to the gas tank to bring it up to nearly full and cooled off in the store again while he pumped it. It took all that $20, too, of course.
At that point, I was so emotionally drained thinking about these two STUPID, TOTALLY STUPID adults, I just couldn't stand to be around them any more. The boys were "fed", such as it was, and had extra Bear Claws and drinks to help later on in the night, after it cooled off. They all went to the men's room and all I could do was done. I didn't want to say what I was thinking to the STUPIDS in the front seat, so went out, shook the pastor's hand and said I was headed back to Charleston.....
From the time I left and as I type this account, I can't get their little faces out of my head worrying about where they are now, and are they all ok. The van looked a mess under the hood. SIX KIDS!
If anyone proposes involuntary sterilization for the REALLY STUPID, I'm all for it and they have my full support. Some people just SHOULDN'T be allowed to raise kids......
If you got this far in the story, I feel lots better telling it.
Thanks for putting up with me....... The man said he was "in construction and odd jobs".....WITH SIX BOYS HE DIDN'T HAVE A STEADY
I won't sleep well, tonight..... I should have demanded their phone number at home in Orlando or someone who could tell me how they arrived safe. That would have gotten me some sleep.
Something to Think about