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“1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat But I Should Have Worn A Seat Belt”

Expect the unexpected, and “1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat But I Should Have Worn A Seat Belt” is a story, I didn’t expect to write, but unexpected circumstances and out of the blue romances, often make us say, I Should Have Worn A Seat Belt for this.  One would think that 1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat, would be to take a swim, in the blue Atlantic Ocean, that is the feature image for this article, logically it would seem right.  Water requires, if you can’t swim, a life vest, not a Seat Belt, and the place I chose to get some relief, I didn’t think either one was necessary, as the infomercials say, wait there is more, and there is.

IMG-20131016-01822Not so long ago, about four years, at the time of this writing, I found myself much like this frog trying to find a place to Get Out Of The Heat.  What appears to be a good place to stay cool, can be quite deceiving.   It is resting on the top of a light, and when the timer for the light is activated, what once was a cool place becomes hot, why did I use the light and the frog?  Simply there was a time, when circumstances, beyond my control, where I had to choose, between paying rent and having a roof over my head, or paying an electric bill.  I chose the rent, electricity was something I knew how to live without, being a Veteran, in the era of a very unpopular war, staying dry especially your feet, was more important than electricity, that’s all I have to say about that.  When the light switch of the South Florida sun, turns on, then like the frog, you find other places to Get Out Of The Heat. As a side note, I write in first person, so I could mean you, we or someone you know.  It is an acquired, style of writing, I learned when the better part of my day was spent writing reports. This officer that, and this officer saw, this officer responded, who is this officer anyway?  I never saw a name tag, or heard a name called at roll call, that said this officer, so it’s I or we, us, not, this officer, we all had names, and it was I that 1 Sunday morning, who remembered a place that was  nice and cool, with no admission charge and a come as you are dress code.  Certainly, this was 1 Way Of Getting Out Of The Heat But I Should Have Worn A Seatbelt, as I soon realized, after walking through the front doors of a Church I had been a member of for right at 60 years, but I will admit, at the time, 1 would not consider me a regular visitor.

IMG-20130709-00435I knew that Services started at 8am, and then Sunday School, would last until around 10:30, and then there was a 10:45 service, which would conclude at approximately 11:45.  The place I knew I could go, to escape the late August heat, would be available around 1 in the afternoon.   I was aware, there was a “cry room” with one way see through glass, that was only utilized when a child became tired and cranky, and a parent or caregiver, would take them and still be able to participate in, and hear the service. The 1 thing the frog and I had in common, was we both knew of a place, to get reprieve, from the heat, with little or no chance of being seen. Like the frog, in the photograph above. It can barely be distinguished, as it sits in the fork of a branch in a Papaya Tree, if it were not for its eyes 1 would have been hard pressed to tell that it was a frog at all,  its eyes gave the hiding place away, which allowed me to capture the photograph.  Was there even an inkling that one day, the frog resting in the branch of a Papaya Tree, would wind up explaining a situation, we both found ourselves in, so simply and clearly?  Not a chance, life happens, unexpected events, at unexpected times.

400255_336025683082074_1551661271_nIt was, interestingly enough, almost to the day a year prior, on a Sunday morning I left home for work, and during a short 11 hour shift, I sustained an injury, to my dominant, right arm shoulder and hand.  When I returned home from work, I had that gut wrenching feeling, that life as I had known it, before I went to work, would never be quite the same again.  Life happens to all of us, I am confident, that someone reading this, can relate too the circumstances, I found myself in.  The event is something I can poke a little fun at myself now and say, even though I was a supervisor, I would have Worn A Seatbelt attached to my bed, and called in sick. The hunch of my life changing as I had known it, turned out more prophetic, than I had thought.  1 surgery, to reattach the main tendon, that goes from the shoulder to the hand, allowed me to be, either encased in a hard cast from the shoulder to the wrist, or in what I lovingly named, the “iron maiden” for the next 11 months.  That’s “her” in the photograph above. The day I found “1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat But I Should Have Worn A Seatbelt” was simply a preparatory class for me, on the next visit, to the Orthopedic Surgeon, he revealed to me news that quite frankly, I already knew.  My hand and arm, were becoming, “deformed” I was losing mass and strength, in each.  The “Ulnar” nerve had been pinched, due to the force involved, when the tendon snapped, this caused the phenomenon, known as ““claw” hand, and to free me from my fingers going to sleep, the procedure for carpal tunnel, needed to be done.  Not 1 but 2 additional surgeries, were in my near future, another, cast and new “iron maiden,” for another 6 to 8 months. Why me didn’t cross my mind, rather, why not me, and this is really where, “1Way To Get Out Of The Heat But I Should Have Worn A Seatbelt” begins.

IMG-20131004-01468Saturday night, was extremely hot, and like the big Leopard frog, I had a roof over my head, but the Heat from the day, lingered all through the night. not much sleep, but an early morning rain, that made the atmosphere, cooler, but the humidity, was a 100%.  For us to appreciate, the lengths the frog took, to have a roof over its head, the hole it is squeezing its body out of, is meant for a cigarette butt, or a #2 pencil.  I can assure you, that the frog you see, was a huge, if you continue reading, you will see it another photograph.  Did I know  when I took the photograph, months earlier, it would end up in an article?  Not a chance, life happens, plain and simple.  When life happens and we get knocked off our feet, we have 2 choices, 1. Stay down and quit, or 2.  Stand back up, look life in the eye, and let the circumstances know, “you may have me off my feet, but your a long way from forcing  me surrender,”~Boats.  I have and so have many of you, chosen option 2, and find a way To Get Out Of The Heat.~Boats, is my pen name, and option 1 has not ever, floated with me, what about you?

1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat:

IMG-20140310-03062I was all tucked into a comfortable pew, behind 1 way see through glass, no one saw me enter and I will admit, the cool air was a welcomed relief from, the Summer Heat.  The photograph of the frog, under the leaf of a banana tree, depicts the situation perfectly.  I was enjoying the service and the cool air, and to top it off, I had a room all to myself.  When it was time for the Pastor, to deliver the message, I knew from hearing him speak for many years, it would be a good one, and I sat back in my seat and prepared myself to enjoy the sermon.  Pastor “Jon” has the gift, of weaving the message into a story, and he was not far into it, when I began to look for, “A Seatbelt,” to buckle up with, what once was a nice cool seat, began to accumulate, a noticeable you have my attention now, squirm in my seat, “Heat.” He was talking about, how it was a good practice to follow, that we as adults should admit to our children, when we were wrong.  How we should accept responsibility for being wrong, and by owning it, and admitting to even our small children, we “blew” it on that one, was the right thing to do.  What? A parent “fessing” up to the fact that,  we as adults get it wrong and then admitting it, and stirring the soup just a touch more, apologizing for the wrong that had taken place?  All my children are grown adults, and yet the message was resonating with me, I may have been looking for a place To Get Out Of The Heat, but the story Pastor “Jon” was weaving, had me sitting on the edge of my seat.  He went on to say that, the simple act of acknowledgment, of a wrong decision, and saying we were sorry for it, opened the door of communication, which in turn created a teaching moment about a subject that we all face no matter our age, accountability.  He had woven a simple, yet powerful story, that applied too the very fabric of everyday life.  Work, business,friends, all relationships, and yes even the stories I write, accountability is a must.  “1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat I Should Have Worn A Seatbelt” was inspired by that powerful message 4 years ago, what I didn’t know then, but know now, is that I Should Have Worn A Seatbelt, for the next 3 years that followed.

1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat Is Not A Unique Story:

IMG-20130720-00771(1)Life happens, in a split second, there are good hard working people much like the frog in the photograph, that find themselves, without a roof over their heads, and just the clothes on their backs, when unforeseen circumstances take place. The faces and the “perceptions” of homelessness have changed.  I was fortunate to capture this image long before, the inspiration for 1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat But I  Should Have Worn A Seatbelt, was conceived.  I had not a clue that one day this photograph would grace the pages of an article, I am privileged to write.  I was in this situation, for 3 years, by Grace, I have made it through to the other side, did I have a hand that reached out to me, yes, but it took me 3 years to ask for help, not a handout just a hand up, do I return the favor every chance I can, the short answer is yes, the long answer is I must.  By the way, how many “frogs” do you think we all passed by today? The highlighted link, is an article previously written, one of those “accountability” things.

1 Way Out Of The Heat But I Should Have Worn A Seatbelt and Accountability :

Was there any way I could avoid losing my home and becoming homeless?  The short answer is no.  Could I have delayed the inevitable by several months?  The long and complicated answer is yes.  I don’t play the could have would have should have game, when it comes to bad choices I make, but at the time, I truly believed I was doing the right thing.  I am a firm believer, that if you do something with a clean heart, where the only intention is to help and not harm, not looking for a personal gain, just offering a solution, which amounts to a hands up, not a hand out.  Now when the person your helping, has an ulterior motive, and you are unaware of it, until the very end, that changes the complexion of the entire situation.  Does that let you off the hook of  accountability for the the decision you made, not a chance.   At the time I had about $10,000 stashed away, it was my last resort “survival” money, and the sad part is that the person I chose to help was well aware, that what they were needing, as a loan was all I had, that stood between me having a home, or losing everything, and ending up on the street.  But in the end, she got out from under a bad choice she had made, salvaged her credit, and came up with excuses why she was unable to reimburse me, I wish I had a Dollar for each time the term “bad Karma was used.  Well, to make a long story short, she ended up debt free, and the only thing I could do was take possession, of an SUV I did not want or need, I had a perfectly good car, that had been free and clear of any debt, it had been paid off for years.  What fascinated me the most, was when the title to the SUV was transfered into my name, releasing her from further responsibility, like the snow that melts under the Heat of the sun, she quickly dissipated into thin air.  Was I accountable for the choice I made, of course I was, but in the end not all was lost, for what I did not know at the time, but I should have, things in life happen for a reason. A clean heart, trumps a devious mind, she did what she had to do at all cost to protect her credit, which was more important to her, than the devastation, it would cause to a “friend”  that trusted her words.  I was actually the winner on this one, and I will show you now, what I got in return, it become my home for 3 years and ironically a Seatbelt is required when one operates these.

What Became My Home And Kept Me Out Of The Heat And Kept Me Dry In The Rain:

IMG-20140516-03136Yes this was my home, and as you can see, I had all that I needed to survive, not many knew, until now the situation I found myself in.  Do I hold a grudge against the one that helped put me there?  I don’t  waste my time, or lose any sleep about it.  Why, I hold myself accountable to the decision I made, to help someone with they needed it.  Would I give a hand up again today?  The simple answer is yes, would I make the same mistake, I think 1 Way To Get Out Of The Heat But I Should Have Worn A Seat Belt, answers that question perfectly.  I look at life this way, quit is not in my vocabulary and I refuse to give in or give up.  I managed by Grace to feed my passion of writing and taking photographs, even as I was homeless.  Wi-fi is available, in many places, as long as I could get a connection, that all I needed.  Many of the articles that have been written on the site, were written while I was homeless, that’s one reason all the articles  begin with “Expect the Unexpected.”  Was I “hacked” I was and wrote a article about that, I lost over 100 articles, but since I write non-fiction, the stories are in my memory bank, and my style of writing is easily distinguished, by those who are familiar with my writing.  I also use my own photographs, to depict the storyline of the articles, I am, just like other writers, that write from their own inspirations.  Credibility and Accountability are essential, and being homeless, as long as I was does not change that at all, it reinforces the little big word “Honesty.”

1 Way Out Of The Heat Is Hard Work And Determination:

I suppose the burning question is, am I Out Of The Heat Now, I am, do I have a home of my own?  I do, and I consider myself blessed, I am now living my passion, I write, take photographs, and have be blessed to have, some of my articles and photographs published.  Do I still offer and hand up to those whose shoes I have walked in?  I do without hesitation, I have been blessed to walk through hell, and emerge on the other side, and I hold myself accountable to share what I have learned, to give hope, and a helping hand, to those that need it most, it’s who I am and it’s what I am compelled by my Faith, in my God who saw me through, to do for others what he has done for me.  Oh I said I was in a home of my own, you saw what my home was at one time, this is what I call home today, by Grace.

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Quite cry, from the photograph above, it was not an overnight change, and I remember the many Ways To Get Out Of The Heat well.

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A real closet, for my few clothes, in lieu of plastic shopping bags!

 

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Ironically what the majority of folks, who are Out of The Heat, take such simple things as these for granted.  Life for all of us happens in an instant, and what we have in the morning, is not guaranteed, to be there when we return home.  Take it from someone that knows, how quickly, life as we know it can, and for someone, as I complete these last few sentences, it is right now.

1 Way Out Of The Heat But I Should Have Worn A Seatbelt, is a true story, that was inspired by a story wrapped up as a Sermon, you can find Pastor Jon, in the link that says “a place to get out of the heat.  I will leave with this thought, how many “frogs” have you walked passed today?  Be Well!

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