Saturday, November 10, 2012

With Unanimous Approval



Note to my readers: Two other warming stations, with much more
to offer me, will be opening soon: The first will open its doors on
November 15 and the other one will become available on December
1. They will both be operated, along with humane options during
daytime hours, in other cities in Oregon.
___________________

I am very tired. You can see the exhaustion in the photo that I took
of myself, this morning.

I shouldn't be this tired. Nor should I be sitting in downtown Pendleton, Oregon
at 7:30 am...wishing
that I wasn't so darn cold.

Many of the residents of this little city don't care if I am warm or not.
That is what I realize...that they
really don't care.

I bet if someone taped a conversation with some of the folks from
here in Pendleton, the residents would have plenty of negative things
to say about every homeless person in this community.

I don't want to be here. I didn't want to come here, either.

But the Pendleton warming station (they are referred to in different
ways:
"Warming Center", "Winter Shelter" or "Cold Weather Hot Spot") is
one of a very few that are open, Statewide, right now.

So here I am.

I am planning on leaving here, soon, however...because tomorrow is
Sunday and the next day is Veteran's Day. I have no idea where to
stay inside, warm, safe and dry...starting tomorrow morning.

The buses won't be running. The library will be closed. There is
no day shelter or drop-in center here. And no business owner or con-
gregation is going to allow me to hang-around their church building or
store, all day.

Even if all I want to do is...just stay warm.

I've been advised to contact the Salvation Army. But I really doubt
that the Red Shield people will offer me a place inside and out of
the elements, tomorrow. Not for all of the hours that I am going to
need it.

I won't be able to take a nap, or a shower, or wash my clothes, either.

No, right now, the only thing that I see is another image of me...
shivering and exhaling clouds of my own breath back into the chilly
air...while I sit on a cold bench in a local bus shelter.

I won't cut up carrots for soup, or rub furniture polish into rows of
pews, or practice singing Christmas carols with a
choir.

I will be ignored for the most part. After all, I am merely a "homeless
woman" with no intrinsic value and not worth a red cent out of
anyone's budget.

If I stay here, I might be warm, at night, for a few more days. But
every morning, when I am back out on the street at the dark and
freezing hour of 6am...I will be reminded of what the City of
Pendleton really wants to say, to my face: "GET OUT OF OUR
WAY, OLD WOMAN!"

-PHOTO OF DOWNTOWN PENDLETON
BY RUTH RADER-

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aw, Ruthie, you do look tired. I pray that you're inside and warm tonight. Want so much for you to find a permanent place for the winter. The hypocrisy of these people, the lack of awareness and caring. Then to get kicked out at 6 a.m. .. then what. Ruthie,i am sending warm wishes to you and want you to know that your friends out here do care. Your story is important, many people can't speak out. They are not the articulate and talented and strong woman that you are Ruthie and don't have your forum, here on the internet. Keep writing and speaking out Ruthie, your voice is heard by many of us. And as for you my dear, hope so much that you're able to find a safe, secure place as the crappy weather sets in this winter. Don't want you to be in places you don't want to be in. Look hard Ruthie, we need you to keep writing. We need you warm and safe!
Your friend and reader, C.

Ruthie Rader said...

Thank you for your word hugs. I will be interested in your reaction to my next post.