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Tax the Rich, Feed the Poor, 'Til There Are No Rich No More!

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by wntrlnd, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Everywhere is freaks and hairys

    Dykes and fairies, tell me, where is sanity?

    Tax the rich, feed the poor, 'til there are no rich no more.

    Those lyrics, from the 1971 Ten Years After song, "I'd Love To Change the World." turn forty years old this year.

    Now, if you were around back in the day, I don't need to tell you how radically things have changed since then.  Back in 1971, our country was at war.  Our cities and infrastructure were beginning to crumble.  Our coastal waterways and rivers were so polluted they occasionally caught fire.  Our nation was deeply polarized over race and gender issues. Gas prices were going through the roof.  A large potion of the population had lost faith in the leadership of the country.

    But, as you know, we all knuckled down, pulled together as a country, and fixed all those things.  Thank God all that unpleasantness is behind us now.  It's clear sailing from here on out.

    But there's this one guy that's not on the same page.  His name is Greg, and he lives in a parking lot, up against a wall. 

    The crudely scribbled cardboard sign on his wheelchair says he's a Vet.  He's older than me, so that would make him a Vietnam era veteran.  I don't know what his health issues are, but he doesn't appear to be able to get around much at all.  He's pretty much right on the pavement.  He's got some sort of filthy sleeping bag or bedroll, and several assorted bags with some random dry foods and supplies, and, along with his wheelchair, that's about the size of his world.  

    I pass through the parking lot all the time because it's on the way to Trader Joe's.  A couple weeks before Christmas, on a brutally cold morning, I first spotted Greg against the wall of an abandoned Boston Market, hunkered down in the rain.  It occured to me how incredibly miserable it would be stuck in that God forsaken parking lot.  I drove over and asked him if he could use a hot bowl of soup.  He said, sure.  I told him it would take me a while to go home, get some food and come back, and asked if he was going to still be there when I got back.  He kind of laughed when I asked that because it wasn't obvious to me he wasn't physically able to go anywhere, even if he did have somewhere to go.  And he clearly didn't have anywhere to go.

    Now, I've always been partial to beans,and I like making bean soup.  My wife and I usually get tired of it before we finish a batch, and most often end up throwing the last of it away.  We were right at the end of a batch the day I met Greg.  Instead of throwing out the beans the following day, I heated them up and took them over to Greg.  There's usually a homeless woman in the vicinity, so I took two bowlfuls and some buttered toast and dropped them off.   I also took a jar of peanut butter and a box of crackers.  

    It wasn't until I went back with the soup that I was able to size up Greg's situation and figure out he's pretty much stationary.  I've been back a few times now to bring hot soup.  And cigarettes.  He smokes Pall Mall 100s.   Far be it from me to judge anyone else's vices, you know?  I asked if he needed blankets or aspirins and he said no.  I wish I could do more for the guy, but I barely scratch by myself.

    My goal for this year is keep this one guy in my heart and to do what I can to make his life a little better. 
  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's pretty swell of you to help this guy out. Are there any shelters or anything in your area that he could go to?
  3. God bless you man.  Whatever the reasons are that the guy is out there, you reached out your hand to help your fellow man when it would have been much easier to drive on by.  It seems to me that this kind of generosity is on the rise lately.  I have seen several examples in my own life of people reaching out lately, that frankly shocked me.  I don't know if it's the economy, and people kind of have this feeling that "we're all in this together", or the holidays, or what.  Whatever it is, it's a good thing.

    Props to you.

  4. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    good for you.........while i don't normally give anything to people on the side of the road (most can work) there was one guy i would see almost everyday on my way to/from work. one day i saw him spralled out on the sidewalk in the middle of summer so i stopped the truck to see if he was o.k. and to move him into the shade. it was about 115 that day and the poor dude was hammered, smelled, and was pretty much dehydrated so i gave him my water and moved him into the shade. the next day i stopped to talk to the guy and asked him his name and after speaking to him it was clear he had mental issues and was unable to take care of himself much less keep a job. for the next 4-5 yrs i would stop to give David food, water, coat and on rare occasions a couple of bucks. i often prayed for him and asked the he be safe, fed, comfortable, healthy and sane. since loosing my job i no longer drive by that way very often and when i have i have not seen him and i say a little prayer that he is infact safe, fed, comfortable, healthy, and sane..............the same i wish for myself as well as others.
  5. Thanks, and probably so, rbranstner.  I would be surprised if there weren't shelters, as well as a bunch of other services for Vets.   The guy is coherent and articulate, so I'm just going to assume he can figure stuff out for himself.  I'm not the kind of person that is comfortable getting all into other people's personal business.    Sometimes no matter how much safety net is out there, people still find a way to hit the bottom.

    I'm just going to do what I can do, which is to help out with an occasional hot meal. 
  6. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Whatever you do for the least of my children ,you do for me. "jesus"

     I have helped out the ones that i felt that needed help. There are so many around here that are on the corners every day bumming money and then getting into a nice car and driving home to somewhere warm and dry.
  7. Thanks for the comments, Smoke 2 Geaux.  Much appreciated!  It's like you said, 'whatever the reasons the guy is out there.'  he still needed help.

    And thank you, too, chefrob!  Plus, kudos for helping David!  [​IMG]
    Funny you should mention the J man, eman!   Although I'm not really much in the way of a religious person myself, that quote just rings true with me.  When I see the truly down and out that's exactly what goes through my mind. 
  8. I can't think of a better way to spend one's "capital" so to speak. I am sure that these folks appreciated the sharing of the food. There's lots of Greg's and David's out there who, quite possibly through no fault of their own are needing a little bit of an assist. Or, at the very least know that love is still alive.

    On a few occasions I've had opportunities to help in some capacity. Sometimes, I'm not sure exactly how to. I'm uncomfortable just giving money. There is a guy here locally that is oftentimes across the way from one of the groceries I frequent. He has his own "Vet" sign too. I've been thinking about sharing with him something to eat. Reading this today, I think that I'm going to do exactly that.

    Here is a couple of videos I've had bookmarked for a while I thought I'd include here.

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  9.  There used to be a guy in my old neighborhood that was handicapped and mentally ill. He hung around the gas station close to my house. I never saw him bother anyone for money he just liked the spot. People were nasty to him and sometimes and it ticked me off. I often stopped and grabbed myself a tall boy from this place after work so one day I decided to grab him one too.

      When I gave him his beer, he asked if I'd have one with him. Well I did, and I'm glad I did. It started a tradition. Every time I stopped for a brew I'd grab ole Mike one and we would sit and talk for a bit. This man couldn't work and no one would have him if he could. It made him happy for someone to treat him like a person instead of a nuisance to be avoided and scorned. Most folks on the street are suffering from mental illness. I have more disdain for those families who have dug into welfare for generations and have no intention of working unless it is to peddle dope. Food for thought the next time you see someone you consider a bum.
    wntrlnd likes this.
  10. Thanks for the comments and links, SmokerMark!   I had never heard that Charlie Chaplin speech before, and it's very powerful!  I recommend it to anyone reading this: definitely check out the first link SmokerMark posted.  If you love democracy, it's a must see!  Cool song, too.  Love Leonard Cohen songs!

    I think a lot of us are a little leary of handing over cash.  But, I'm thinking a lot of us probably have extra food from time to time that's still good when we throw it out.  

    It doesn't take much effort for me to heat it up and drop it off, especially considering I pass by the area all the time anyway.   It might not be all that easy for everyone.  But, if you know of a likely recipient, it's well worth the effort. 

    Bravo to you for stepping up and sharing, Mark.   That's really cool and it makes me glad I started this thread.
  11. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I have known several homeless men and women. I have chose to help them from time to time. I had one guy that I saw digging in a dumpster for cans/ food whatever he might find. I asked him what he was doing and he told me so. I went back to my house and was feeling bad so I made him and handful of sandwiches and brought them back to him and gave him the remaining bread and lunch meat. He followed me home later that day to tell me thanks and if he could maybe wash my truck for the lunch and if he could have the beer cans out of the back of my pickup truck. I said yes and for many months he showed up on Saturday and washed and waxed my truck and cleaned up the beer cans. Now I had a handful of guys working for me and we would sit around and BS about work and have a few beer. I really don't like to litter so the cans when into the back my truck. I don't know what happened to Tom he just quit coming around one day. I have seen alot of good folks that are down an out and there's more theses days. I'm not for from one myself being out of work myself but I will make it for I can use my cooking/smoking talents. Now there are other stories I could tell for I was raised in a helping family. My Mother started the child welfare system in our hometown so we had a many a wayward folks mostly children that come to stay in our home. I guess the helping out folks just comes naturally to me and my wife. So it's kinda nice to here of other folks helping out others from time to time. It kind of makes you feel that everyone theses days isn't just out for themselves and are willing to help those that are less fortunate. So thanks you all for what you do, did, and will do.

  12. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    In a country as great as the US, there is no reason for anyone to be homeless or hungry. Our governments priorities are screwed up. Thank God there are fine people like wntrlnd who take it upon themselves to make someone's life a little better. 
    smokinstevo27 likes this.