Friday, August 22, 2008

Ruthie On The Road, Update

"I don't have ten-dollars" I said.

"Well, then you might have a problem. I could contact the social worker on call and see if an arrangement can be made to cover your stay here."

I sat down. In front of the desk. And waited.

Everyone else drank juice and coffee and then enjoyed a fine Sunday dinner. I was left sitting in a chair in front of the desk, with my left foot propped up on my pack. And I got nothing. In fact, I wasn't even allowed to use the bathroom.

Forty-five minutes later, I told the staff lady that I am worth more than ten-dollars and limped out the door.

Then, I walked up highway 29 west with my thumb out and got a ride almost immediately.

A woman from out-of-State drove me to a convenience store and bought me a meal and some bottled water for the road. She also gave me a few capsules of Tylenol. For the pain in my foot.

I left there and got rides all the way to Utica, New York.

When my driver got there, she decided not to leave me until she was sure that I would have a decent, safe place to stay for the night.

I ended up staying at the women's shelter there for three days. I have taken photos of the place and I'll post them at the end of the month.

That shelter is VERY UNUSUAL. It's actually a HUGE house that was built over 100 years ago. Everything in it reminded me of a New England bed & breakfast.

The staircase is carved mahogany. The windows are tall and covered by lace drapes. Old china dolls and wreaths woven from dried flowers are everywhere. Most of the furniture is antique. And we got to enjoy our coffee while sitting in padded chairs on an enormous wrap-around porch.

I cleaned one of the bathrooms, cleared the table and loaded the dishwasher after some of the meals. But I never had to cook a thing. The shelter staff provided three meals a day. Plus a snack.

After a few days, I boarded a bus to Southern New York.

But I will remember the pleasure of watching the sun set behind the trees while I sat on that "shelter" porch...and smile.

Especially since I never paid a cent for it.

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