Encounter in the Fellini Kroger*

Call to action

I headed up the aisle of my local Kroger’s to check out when I heard a woman (reaching in the beer case) berating a man, telling him to leave her alone, and as an afterthought, “You better not even think about bothering that young lady.” (a customer he was starting to approach.)

I asked her if she needed any help and she said, “He’s drunk. I mean, really drunk.” Which he was. She continued, “I use to work in a bar, still do every once in awhile and I know when someone is drunk.” I told her if she decided to pitch in on him that I would help.
She confided she would rather have me than some of the young thangs around here. “They wouldn’t know what to do.” “Amen,” says I. She said she wouldn’t go back to being young and I agreed. The ever alert,gray-haired,stout bouncer ended with, “I had fun. Didn’t you?”
“Yes, and I’m still having fun,” says I.

*where the unusual can be found and the different occurs

One Last Winter Blog

Bitter cold. Snow. Ice. That covers the weather for Knoxville in February. It inconvenienced many of us by temporarily interrupting power or making roads too treacherous to travel. It posed deadly harm in the form of single digit temperatures to the homeless.

Weather Cultivates Concern
One person posted on Facebook her concerns for a person staying under a bridge near her home. She took blankets to the individual, but as it became colder, she feared the person might freeze to death during the night. She says that she called the police department and they said they would go by later to see if the person needed help. Not satisfied she called 911 and an ambulance did come and pick up the person.

I saw a post by the Common Cause Thrift Shop asking for donations of coats, blankets, hand warmers which they distributed during this emergency. Two churches opened their doors to provide shelter: Park West Church of God as a Red Cross Shelter, and Redeemer Church of Knoxville because people came seeking shelter. These incidents made me wonder what is the best way to help during a time of extreme need.

Where to Look for Help
Knoxville has a number of non-profit organizations–Salvation Army. Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries (KARM), Volunteer Ministry Center(VMC)–dedicated to helping people every day of the year. I contacted Rev. Bruce W. Spangler, COO of Volunteer Ministry Center and asked him what happened during a weather crisis: Are rules regarding admission to a shelter relaxed at all? Is there a means of checking on those who usually don’t want to come to a shelter to see if they would now? Does anyone have the authority to make a person, i.e., police, to stay in shelter?

Rev. Spangler replied, “As to your questions, shelter requirements are loosened during the bitter cold. I don’t know about the ‘making someone’ stay in a shelter. I would say that authorities can strongly encourage but I doubt that anyone can make someone go into a shelter (it becomes one of civil rights).”

I spoke to Eddie Young, President of Redeeming Hope Ministries, and Executive Director of “The Amplifier,” who registered dismay over the lack of across-the-board acceptance of people needing shelter during extreme weather. “Although Redeemer Church was not set up to operate as a shelter, we did the best we could to care for some turned away at KARM.”

Communication During A Crisis
How do the people on the street know where to look for help during extreme weather? Young says word of mouth is simple and fast and workers or volunteers for a shelter also alert people and offer transportation. If you are a person worried about the safety of someone during such a crisis, 911 is the number to call.

After The Crisis
So the fiercest of the weather has passed and life returns to normal. I wondered if we had lost anyone due to freezing to death outside and called the City of Knoxville Police Department, Records & Accidents. Transferred to the Crime Analysis Unit, the message I received was that they don’t keep stats on deaths due to cold, but did not recall any in the month of February. Eddie Young knows of one man who died out-of-doors during the cold, but says it is difficult to say death was the direct result of exposure without an autopsy.

What is easy to note is how the concern dissipates after an emergency. This doesn’t go unnoticed by the homeless or by the professionals who work with them on a daily basis. Why this gap?

Spangler says, “Often times the bitter cold or extreme heat will bring about a desire to help. Emergency situations do require emergency responses. However, that mode of operating only concentrates on the problem and permanent solutions are ignored.

Our community, for the most part, perceives homelessness as something that good people do to help the less fortunate. Since the good people respond, civic leadership and elected officials need not worry about it. Therefore it is not a community problem, just a bad experience that someone else has.

Permanent solutions that consist of accessible and appropriate housing plus services are proven effective and cost efficient. However, it takes a public policy perspective to make that happen.It takes community support and political will.  At this time, the two are not on the same page. Until this happens, we will continue to struggle how to respond in momentarily incidents of inclement weather and ignore the issue the rest of time.”

Knoxville has many caring citizens who work through religious and other helping organizations to provide good “band-aids” for the homeless. It is time to push back this first responder, emergency mode of operation. Consistent, unified effort is the solution to lead the nearly 800 people of Knoxville’s streets to a home.

423 E Emerald Ave 005

To learn more about homelessness in Knoxville, go to the internet and search https://sites.google.com/site/kkchcoalition/.

My 70th Year – SeniorPeopleMeet.com

What I Did on my Snow Days

The snow days of February pushed me to another first, to check out an online site for the purpose of anonymously checking out people, choosing to speak to those I think sound congenial via the internet with the idea of eventually meeting and dating if you both consent.

After googling senior match and looking at the choices, I went for SeniorPeopleMeet.com.I followed instructions to provide basic information about myself–first name, age, email address, online name, looking for man or woman, and height–which got me to the second step of free registration

Now came several pages of fill in the blank of everything from have children ? to annual income. There is also a place to mark what you want in the way of a relationship experience from a match. Body type, instead of asking for weight, says a few extra pounds, athletic, disabled. Agnostic, Christian, Pagan, Hindu are a few of the religions listed. You can decide on the distance radius you want your match/friend to live in. They add the notation that broader distances will help get more quality matches and responses.

A disclaimer from me: I had consumed two and a half small glasses of wine when I started this. Then I considered my track record…70 years old, divorced since 1986, one semi-serious relationship over 20 years ago, last date 5 years ago. If ever I was going to do this, now seemed the time.

So I got this far because it was free up til now. I knew that I was not going to spend money from the beginning so my observations are limited. Although you do get a good size grab bag for nothing. I receive several emails a day letting me know who has viewed me and who has flirted with me.

I like the section called, “Who Do You Like?” Two pictures are showing with the age, location, and user name. I click on one and the other one goes away, all the way down the page. Then there is the new members in my area with a picture and user name, followed by who viewed me and a request to email that person or just notification of the number of profile views.

Down the side of this page are the mini profiles with pictures and a symbol saying if a person is online right then or not. Plus a flirt button you can click on.

User names are interesting: freeasaneagle, Coolmichael,Smokieshiker, Truestoryteller, and WildPatchie. gsalooking puzzled me a little. Is that just a looking, you guess?

At least daily I get an email that says these are my matches, I have 5 available and should give them a nudge. But I can’t do that unless I pay money just as I can’t see any messages someone has sent me. I am not sure how long this goes on, the free peeks.  One of my matches was female which was a surprise as I did mark male on my profile. Other emails tell me I have 3 unread flirts; 50% off subscription now; can use tokens(?) to Promote Me. The last one because my popularity is critically low.

My observations:

  • I think it can be as good a tool as any in today’s world for people to meet each other.
  • If you are cautious in your approaches it can be done with minimal risks although SeniorMatch does not conduct background checks on its members.
  • If someone has a photograph with their profile you would think it would be a smiling, happy face photo.
  • The match services do provide helpful hints and advice to people seriously interested in finding a date, a casual relationship or a mate for life.

As for me, I’m glad I checked it out, but not interested enough to go any further. Thankfully for all involved. Can you imagine me running amuck on a mate match service?