I sit at the red light, and I see her again. I had just left the bank to make a deposit before going to work. The bank is in a little shopping center near my house, the “Los Altos” area of Long Beach. I’ve seen this woman many times over the past few years. As I watch her cross the street in front of me, I wonder how she became homeless. She holds her head up high. Her appearance is immaculate! You would never suspect she was homeless except for the wagon she pulls. In it she has, what I’m guessing is her life. It’s packed neatly in a nice suitcase with a few other odds and ends. She has a little sheltie dog that is with her and wearing a little pink doggie jacket to keep her warm. She use to have two dogs, and I always feel bad knowing that something happened to the other one, meaning these dogs are her only family. There is a small local library in this neighborhood where the woman often goes and gets books to read in a small area, similar to a park by Bristol Farms. I see her at different times sitting outside of Bristol Farms with her dog, drinking coffee and reading. She is a proud woman, you can tell. Brande and I always would like to give her money, but are afraid as we wouldn’t want to offend her or make her feel less a person. Where does she sleep at night? Where does she bathe to look so neat and proud each day? This world of ours has put a different face on the people that have become homeless in today’s world. Why am I writing about this woman? She is always a reminder to me of “positivity” as she proudly walks down the street with her head held high. You can just tell that she takes life a day at a time with a positive attitude.
I've written about my mom before, and how her life wasn't always easy. She was born in Lubbock, Texas and lived there as a young child. Her life was simple, filled with challenges, and her family didn't have much. But she never looked back at her childhood negatively. As a young teenager, her family moved to Temple, Texas. Things were a little bit better for awhile. Her mom worked as a waitress and her dad drove and oil truck. But, like many things in life, stuff happens. Her dad committed suicide when my mom was fifteen and her mom died of breast cancer a few years later. My mom ended up moving to CA and marrying my dad. My life growing up was pretty simple. My dad worked for Edison, my mom worked part time for awhile when my sister and I were teenagers. But the one thing I always, always remember about my mom was that she was such a positive person! Living through everything she did, including the Depression, she was a positive person. As a child she would sing all the time, stupid little songs. She always sang the song, "High Hopes", think Frank Sinatra recorded it. Never did a day go by while growing up that she wasn't singing happy, positive little songs. My mom stayed positive her entire life, even right up to the time she died. Never complaining about her pain, she just accepted life. Her love of music was passed on to me, and I try to pass that on to Riley & Morgan as well. Music and those that perform and write it is the very best dose of positivity I could ever ask for. I'm a big fan of American Idol. There, I admitted it. I like it obviously because of the music. But also love to watch it because it is about young people working as “positively” as they can to make their dreams come true! As I watched ldol the other night, I was really thrilled to see Danny Gokey come back and perform his new song. For us "Idol" fans, I think you remember how Danny had lost his wife at a young age. But instead of choosing to let life pass him by, he turned it all around. His positivity took him on a new path in life. And his new song, “My Best Days Are Ahead”, is so uplifting and positive!
There is no doubt that life is tough right now. But if you get up each morning and swallow a good sized dose of positivity, you just might feel a whole lot better. And I think I will muster up some courage and positively walk over to the woman and her little dog and just smile and hand her an envelope with some money and say, “this is for you”. Sometimes just knowing that people care about you can make the biggest difference in others lives. Maybe I’ll now go see if I can download “High Hopes” on to my computer.