Sunday, December 25, 2011

White Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone from Poverty Flats, KS.
It has been a good weekend so far here at PF.
Even though I have been working on call it has been a positive experience.
Arriving in Belleville, KS yesterday at 8:45 am to deliver some oxygen to a new customer who was on his way home from hospital I parked downtown on the courthouse square to kill a few minutes to wait on the family to be ready for me. I parked near a beautiful old movie theater which is still in operation and could hear Johnny Mathis singing from the speakers all around the downtown area. It was sort of surreal as I was about the only human there........the theater was very well built with brick and inlaid tile work and some small gargoyles and lots of detail.
There was no snow in this far north city of KS but we do have it here at my home. I imagined Christmas' past when this town would have been buzzing with shoppers on Christmas Eve but now they are probably all at Walmart 15 miles away in Concordia.

Still I enjoyed my time there and did my work and headed south to Salina.
It was late morning by now on this Christmas eve day so I decided to go visit my friend Marilyn who lives in a tiny old motel room with all of her belongings which is almost nothing at all. In spite of her real poverty, she remains upbeat and happy. I don't know how she does it. No car, no home, and only a tiny govt. disability check and a few food stamps get her by each month.Her tiny 4 inch Christmas tree is battery operated and the batteries were dead. However it was decorated with 3 homemade ornaments from her grandaughter. It was the only sign of Christmas in her small room. She was happy to have me visit with her for awhile and was so thankful for the small gift I left her. She is a great friend and always puts things in perspective for me. Things can always be worse......
Then I decided to go see my artist friend Sally who is bedridden in a nursing home and has no family nearby but will be moving soon to be near her kids or at least she hopes so.
Her big smile greeted me and always makes me smile too.
I didn't see any signs of Christmas in Sally's room. We had a nice visit and talked and she showed me some new art work and then I left to go get her some holiday flavored ice cream and also came back to her with a Santa stocking hat to wear to bingo later in the afternoon at the nursing home which is the only entertainment she gets. She never complains and always seems upbeat in spite of all the death of her husband and sister this year. I know she is lonely and she didn't think anyone was coming to see her this weekend. She told me the story of a Christmas years ago when her husband lost his job and they were broke. Luckily she had bought used toys at garage sales throughout the year for their 6 children at home. They didn't have money for a tree so she found a big Kansas tumble weed and made some popcorn and her kids strung it up with needle and thread for a garnish along with some homemade paper chains they made from construction paper. She wrapped the used gifts with newspaper and they had Christmas. Soon Ray got a new job and things got better. It is a Christmas her family never forgot. This story made me and Sally both cry and I was glad she shared it with me. I am lucky to have such good friends as her and Marilyn.
Then Christmas eve my 2 kids showed up and spent the night here at the Flats. It was good to see them both since they live out of town and do not come back often. We went to brother in law's farm home for a get together last night and some of us go there again today. Here is our home in the snow today.
I have had alot of greetings from friends the world over today and am happy to know so many good folks. Thanks for reading this blog and Merry Christmas to you and yours. :-)
Together we can make the world a better place........before it's too late----


  1. Paul.......your little stories have *BIG* meaning, especially at this time of the year when we all have a definitely gives us some perspective when we hear you speak so fondly of these people you get to know........wonderful stories that warm my are, indeed, fortunate to know these simple people.....

    Keep doing your good work, my friend....

    Mr. CuznBrucie