On this day before Memorial Day, the priest of my congregation mentioned in her sermon that we should consider the homeless around us as many of them are veterans who have come home to difficult circumstances, whether it is because of PTS Disorder or suffering from Agent Orange exposure or being wrongly discharged from the Army due to a mental illness designation after suffering from Traumatic Brain Disorder due to a close-by powerful IED explosion. You see them everywhere in our warlike society if you look, often on street corners begging for dollars.
At church today I gave thanks for the successful passage out of six hours of spinal surgery on Monday by a former running buddy of mine, the strength I found to deal with two hours of successful stomach surgery on Wednesday, the sacrifices of my father and three uncles who all answered the call in WW2, the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan last fall of a former running acquaintance and the sacrifices of all those nameless service members who keep us safe. I thought of Trevor, about whom I have posted before, on his traffic corner wearing his sign, "Combat Veteran, Always Faithful."
I parked nearby and walked up upon him after church, noting that he was watching me closely as I approached. He knows me and calls me "Lawyer."
After giving him five dollar coins, I spent about twenty minutes with him on his street corner as he spoke animatedly. He is a powerful man who has a habit of emphasizing his points by flicking out backhand taps to your body.
I was gratified to listen to him explain that he has reduced his prescribed narcotic pain medication intake from his service-related disability from over a hundred a month to about thirty. "You know I also take mood medication," he added, which apparently in conjunction with his powerful pain medication gives him unpredictable emotional swings.
Keeping my hands discretely in front of my four-day old surgery incision in position to ward off any inadvertent taps to my stomach, I discussed his health, rehabilitation and future with him. Rolling Thunder is in town per usual this Memorial Day weekend, and he apparently took his buddies from the 82d Airborne Division out on the town last night.
Then he tired of chatting with me and chased me away by saying he had to "make some money" from passing motorists on his street corner before the day was done. In fact, beyond my five dollars, he had collected only a single dollar in all the time I was speaking with him.
We shook hands repeatedly as I took my leave from him. I wish him continued wellness, this representative of America's huge and faceless homeless population.