Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And…we’re back!

As I passed M2 in the hallway, her grumbling caught my attention. I asked why she was ticked off.

Last week she got a guy who has a six year sentence on a felony drug charge. He spent the last few months in jail awaiting trial. After he pled guilty and the jail released him, he came to see her for his initial interview. M2 went over the rules and regulations of probation with him. He was not impressed. He also told her he couldn’t comply with several of the rules because he’s homeless. Basically he told her she’d just need to adjust the judge’s order to fit his situation.

M2 explained that people on probation can't live on the streets. You've got to have a permanent parking spot, so to speak. He told her he'd see what he could do and would get back to her on that. Homeless Dude has some family in town but he doesn't want to live with them because they are just filthy. He'd rather live on the streets.

Homeless Dude doesn’t have much of an employment history, even though he's an able-bodied young man. However, there are some possibilities he’s considering, he says. Apparently the big-shot owner of one of the town's major agricultural businesses has tried to get in touch with Homeless Dude several times, so HD will probably deign to go to work for him in some capacity to be named later. Provided the work doesn't interfere with his burgeoning social calendar, M2 assumed.

Finally they got through the paperwork and she handed him an appointment card. He took it, looked at it disdainfully, and shoved it into a back pocket.

“I can’t really make any promises on when I’ll be back in,” he said. “It depends on a lot of things.”

As she explained that reporting in person is not optional or even negotiable, M2's blood pressure topped off somewhere around volcanic eruption levels. She made it clear that he would just have to make room in his busy week to get in here to see her. On the date and at the time specified.

Of course, didn’t show up. She managed to track him down by phone. He was across town, hoeing a piece of property for some extra cash. He told M2 he really didn't think he could be bothered to come see her. M2 made it clear that now would be a really, really good time for him to show up. If he wants to sleep somewhere other than the county jail, that is.

He showed up. M2 was headed to the waiting room to get him. I just laughed, amazed at the guy's chutzpah, and went back into my office. As I began flipping through papers I heard M2 call his name: “Mr. UnusualLastName”

'UnusualLastName?' I thought. 'No way...'

I watched the doorway, waiting for them to pass my office. Mr. UnusualLastName had his head down and sported a huge beard and walked fast to try to keep up with M2. Even so...

I sent M2 an instant message: "Is that JOEY UnusualLastName??!"

M2 replied: "Yes."

(She's wordy like that.)

I just shook my head. Joey UnusualLastName. My cousin, Joey UnusualLastName. I didn't even know he was still in town. I haven't seen him since our great-grandmother's funeral, lo these many years ago. I haven't heard anything about him since...well, since he learned to cook his own meth.

Yeah, my family is close like that.

I ran into my aunt at Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't seen her for well over a year. She updated me on their kids, one of whom moved to town about 3 years ago. I've not seen him since our grandmother's funeral lo these several years ago. I hear updates on him now and again from people on my caseload. They work for the same company. They love to come in and tell me 'I work with your cousin!' or 'Your cousin is my supervisor!'

Yeah. Close like that.

My brother lives in the same town I do and we managed to speak to each other about a month ago. I see him maybe once a month if we both happen to go to church on the same Sunday. He works for the university and said one of the advancement officers – fund-raisers - planned a trip going to El Paso for business. She asked Jonboy if our cousin Earl still lives there. Earl and our grandfather were cousins. The advancement folks like to keep tabs on influential alumni, especially those of the donating variety. Earl, a former state attorney general from New Mexico, fit the criteria. Jonboy told them that although Earl stays in an assisted living facility, he’s still a complete cut-up who would enjoy a visit from the university folks.

The next week, the development people were back at work. They came to Jonboy's office to thank him. 'For what?' he asked. They went to the facility to visit Earl. They asked for him at the desk and were informed by the management that Mr. Earl no longer lived there.

Or anywhere else for that matter. He died two years ago.

'No kidding? Really?' Jonboy said.

Yeah. We're close like that.

The week after he told me that story, we both managed to drag our sinful carcasses into church again. I nudged him and showed him the printed prayer list on the announcement sheet. I pointed to a name under the "Christian Sympathy Extended To:" column.

Jonboy was as surprised as I. Cousin Merline had died the week before.

Truthfully, I didn't even know she was still alive.

Close. That's how we roll.


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

Cause y'all are all newsy and gossipy and stuff.

I think I am the only one not related to you.

I am glad you are back. Even if you are from the wrong side of the tracks. ~snorts~

Anonymous said...

Close-knit: It's not all it's cracked/meth'ed up to be.


Cynthia Huddleston said...

Ack. I can't get notes from my iPhone and the husband is busy listening to his online lecture. (His schooling is getting in my way. Sheesh.) So I booted up my laptop and got busy reading. Boy, I missed that. I may write a poem or something. That iPhone is hard to compose on. I think I have been having a longterm affair with small devices and short words. Heh.

SpookyRach said...

I have been seeing 'small devices and short words' behind your back, Cynthia. But I'm trying to change my ways.

annieoddflower said...

I'm so glad you are back! No, wait, I am so glad you are here today (don't want to put any undue pressure on you to keep this up)!

SpookyRach said...

You're a wise woman, "annie".

DogBlogger said...

Thanks for the laugh to start my day!
(And lo, many years ago, I'm pretty sure I sent wedding invitations to a dead relative or two.)

jonboy said...

Speaking of relatives ... have you checked on mom and dad lately? Just thought I'd ask.

SpookyRach said...


(yells:) Hey Mom! Do you still read my blog?

Ester said...

Now see Spooky, you could not have written all this on FB, glad to be back HUH!

SpookyRach said...

That's true!

Presbyterian Gal said...

Like riding a bicycle! Or in your case, a unicycle.

Steve Hayes said...

A fouth cousin once removed once (actually, more than once) told me that some other relative said "families were so close, they traded roosters".

I've been wondering what that meant ever since.

Rev Kim said...

Yay, you're back! Maybe you'll inspire me to get back to blogging, too.

Crimson Rambler said...

Hi there! "Social Utilities" are great but I'm always glad when you spread your elbows in blog form!!!

Cindy said...

Yeah. We're close like that too!!!! Just reconnected with cousin's I haven't seen in 25 years. We don't even seem to make it to the same funerals! ha By the way, I saw your dad last week, he was fine!

Anonymous said...

y'all are too funny... i find out more about my larger family on fb than anywhere else - usually thru other people's updates... maybe it's a west tx thing

James said...

I'm glad your back.

Your posts are always funny - and a tad like my family for fun.

Here's hoping you post for a while to come