Thursday, September 03, 2009

Picasso's departure and the death of Willie Nelson

Tomorrow morning one of our park residents his van camper are headed into town.

To have to ask someone to leave your park when they are loud or disruptive or violent, is one thing ... but to have to ask someone to leave because they simply refuse to do what it takes to live in community (the basics: showering, laundry, etc.) ... well, that sucks.

This gentleman has always lived this way. To love and serve people, you HAVE to get to know them - well. So, we have spent the last month, every single day, getting to know him. My kids love him. They can't get too close to him, but they talk his head off and love to hear his stories. We take him food. He is very kind. We had to know his story, and understand if his condition was a choice, or if he simply needed someone to help him in some areas of life. And by "choice," I mean ... he simply doesn't have the developed skills push through and make a change for his health.

I got what I THOUGHT was my answer, only to have another conversation and realize that he was talking me in circles and would rather spend an hour pretending to do what is asked than actually doing it. Now, having children from a history of trauma, I know and fully understand that people find comfort in what is familiar, even if that familiarity is repulsive and disgusting to others. It doesn't make this man gross. It just makes him who he is, living a life structured around his journey and his history.

Yet, he has to share public facilities out here, and because of his condition ... well ... it takes a good hour before anyone can be where he has been - for a variety of reasons. We have these very open and frank conversations with him, and they are showered with a lot of "We have grown to love you" and "We care about you" and "We respect you" - because it's true and he is a good and kind man.

That's where it really sucks. "We love you" and "you must go." Granted, he needs to be in town. He does not have a car. He has to pay for rides or food runs. People DO take advantage of him and charge him extra for things. I've seen it. We have located a place for him where he can walk to a variety of food options. He will have more things to do. He will have more control over his life. That is ultimately what he wants. He has made that very clear. He wasn't okay with the things we were asking. It was just too much for him. At his new place, he can have some more freedom, and won't have to be sharing facilities quite so much.

So, tomorrow morning we say good-bye. Although, we know right where he'll be and we will certainly be stopping by for visits. He is very, VERY appreciative of how we have worked with him. I don't think he has ever been treated so fairly and so lovingly. It's a hard situation, but we're all smiling and we all really do care about each other.

Which leads me to the ring leader in getting this whole move organized. We have another fellow out here at the park. He has lived here about four years (just he and one other couple are "regulars"). People call him Willie. They say he looks like Willie Nelson. I say he looks like Willie Nelson died ten years ago and is still walking around. :) And yes, I say this to his face. We have gotten to know Willie quite well. He is extremely weathered from a very difficult life (much of his own choosing). He has just about the worst case of smoker's voice I've ever heard (of course, now all seven of us can understand him and translate to others when necessary). He is starting to make some improvements to his life ... quit smoking for a whole week ... paid $20 for a bike and rides it daily now, and says it really does help with his leg pain. I can correct him if he's too loud, and he lets me (usually just because he can't hear himself). If his language gets colorful, I can cut him off and he lovingly accepts my reprimand. We can say, "Dude, DO NOT greet new people when they drive into the park! We've got it covered now, and you scratch where it itches without thinking twice, you crazy old coot!" He laughs, and in his gravel voice says, "Okay, okay, okay."

Willie lives on his government checks. While he played hard throughout his life, he also worked hard and doesn't mind telling you so. He's like a gossipy housewife. That's his job. He toodles around in his little truck. He checks in with everyone. He doesn't mind helping out/getting in your business.

Sometimes that can be a very good thing. For instance, we started the process to get our other resident moved. We were waiting for final details so we could help make phone calls, or whatever else was needed. Well, Willie walked up this morning and had everything taken care of - EVERYTHING! He loaded up our friend yesterday and drove him into town. He found the number at the RV place and got him on the phone with the manager to make those arrangements. He drove over to a friend's house to make towing arrangements. He chose a 10:00 am move time in the morning, and announced it to everyone.


I love that old coot. He grows on you.


Cammie said...

Wow! Just wow! I am still praying!

Jennifer said...

You amaze me! Never know what I am going to read when I jump on here in the morning!

Mama Drama Times Two said...

I love that you find beauty in all you do and everyone you encounter... God's Grace is truly at work. Almost makes me want to buy an RV park. I said ALMOST.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, yet sad, yet wonderful.

Lisa said...

So glad you found somewhere for Picasso that's more suitable. I love you for loving people where they are in life. It speaks volumes.

Hillary said...

Ok, so I read the title and immediately googles Willie Nelson to see if he died! I'm such a nerd.

I love the ministry you've found in your park. I'll pray God blesses it over and over! :)

ldw said...

I loved hearing the stories of your tennants while we were there. I love the way you handle them with honesty and love. You are truly a shepherd of God's sheep.

sandwichinwi said...

Wow. Glad you are not my "friend!" LOL I hat to think what you'd say about me!

Really, you are amazing people and full of grace and blessings.

Hope I can come to Texas someday and visit an RV park (yours, specifically)


Brenda said...

I love this post.

Dia por Dia said...

What an amazing heart, mind and soul you possess! I continue to be so inspired by your passion and compassion! So glad Picasso is in a place that is better for everyone.

Laura Staum said...

I think maybe after a few years of this, you will be ready to write a book. :) And I will definitely want to read it!