Backstory on “Encounter”

Yesterday I posted a piece based on an encounter I had at a Publix grocery store a few days ago.

I’d tried to explain the event in narrative form, but no matter which way I placed the words on the page I felt like I was misrepresenting the encounter. As I told one commenter, in my attempt to tell the story I came out looking either judgmental or saintly, and neither is accurate.

Let’s give it another go, shall we?

I’d met a friend for lunch at a sushi restaurant across town in Tallahassee. On my way home to Doright Manor in Havana, Florida, I stopped at Publix to purchase a few items. Normally I’d park well away from the store in order to increase my daily number of steps, but I’d hurt my back doing heaven knows what last weekend, so I found a spot on the row nearest the store.

As I got out of my car, I noticed an older model Chevrolet sporting sun faded blue paint and a cracked windshield. It was idling erratically, directly in front of the Publix entrance, and the driver had to keep revving it to keep the engine from dying. From the passenger side a woman emerged.

In her bare feet, the woman would easily have been taller than my 5’8″, and her stilettos added at least three more inches. Her sleeveless leopard print mini dress rode high on her thighs, and she tugged on the hem as she toddled towards the store.

I reached the door about the same time she did, and realized just how unstable she was on those heels.

“Careful,” I cautioned. “These floors are going to be tricky with the shoes you’re wearing.”

She nodded, and her long blonde hair fell over her eyes. “Great,” I thought. “Now she can’t see where she’s going.”

I hurried in front of the woman, at least as fast as my back would allow and suggested she borrow one of the electric scooters the store provides. She thought that was a fine idea, and I guided her to the nearest one.

After she settled into the scooter chair she looked up at me. There were tear stains marring her heavy makeup and mascara in places mascara isn’t supposed to be. Her eyes were unfocused.

“Is there anything you need?” I asked, fully prepared to give her money or contact someone who’d come pick her up.

“Would you pray for me?” She asked.

“Of course. Tell me your name,” I said, thinking she meant later when I was home saying my nightly prayers.

To my chagrin she struggled out of the scooter where she’d been relatively safe and stood, towering above me, swaying on those toothpick heels. She grasped my hands in hers and looked me straight in the eye. I was supposed to pray. Right then and there. Heaven help me.

“My name is Stacy,” she said.

I looked down to gather my thoughts, noting the not-so-subtle track marks on both arms. My words needed to be healing. Deep, even.

“Dear Heavenly Father,” I intoned. “Please forgive us our sins.”

“Hey. What’s goin’ on?” a male voice croaked behind me.

“Oh, baby, this nice lady just helped me. We’re prayin’ here.”

“That’s enough,” he said.

To me that sounded ominous. I pulled my hands out of Stacy’s grasp. “Take care,” I said, grabbing a basket for my shopping.

I left her in the hands of this man. It felt wrong, but I was really out of my depth there. As I went about my shopping I saw the two of them a couple of times at a distance. He was driving the scooter. Stacy was sitting in his lap, her head on his shoulder.

That night at home in my room I prayed for Stacy. I’d let her down. I can’t forget the feel of our hands clasped together during that aborted prayer. If I was her lifeline, I was a frayed one. I’d snapped and she’d floated away.

For all the Staceys in this world, I don’t know if prayers do any good, but that’s all I’ve got right now.

Peace, people.

Not an Option

Not an Option

By Leslie Noyes

Failure, under the spotlight, turned down a wrong road, dined at the bad trough, lessons learned.

Heartache, walked on the tightrope, fell into an abyss on the highway to hell. Seeking penance forevermore.

Trust, sought, but not earned, squandered in bushels, by deeds too heinous to tell. Forgiveness sought.

Grace, offered in buckets, washed in the blood of the everlasting lamb. Earnest prayers offered with hands raised in praise.

Guns in Church

Will we take our guns to church now?

Jesus take the wheel, but leave me my pistol

Dylan Roof opened fire in a South Carolina prayer meeting

Now more dead occupy the pews in Texas

Just wondering which firearm goes best with Psalms.

Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil,

For I am armed with a semi-automatic weapon.

No doubt lawmakers will offer meaningless thoughts and prayers

Their mantra sounding weaker by the hour

Who will answer for these deaths?

Who will offer a solution?

A Wink and a Prayer

Lead me not into temptation,

Refrain from encouraging my slide

Into passages of wild abandon

With a subtle wink and nod.

Hold me to much higher standards

Than those to which you subscribe

Hypocrisy is all the rage, my dear

Executive orders well describe.

Sauce for the goose, gold for the gander

Don’t let them catch you weeping

Heads we lose; tails we’ve lost

Prayers are all past keeping.

Considering Calamity

What if Trump wins this election? I’ve invested so much of my time, my sweat, and even my money to electing Hillary that I’m not sure how I will handle a loss, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t considered my options in case the worst should happen.

The first thing I’ll do is pray. I’ll pray that there is some substance to this man beyond the demagoguery and bluster. I’ll pray that he surrounds himself with intelligent and steady handed people who actually have experience in governing. And I’ll follow that up with a fervent prayer that he is capable of listening to them and of taking their advice. Thus far I haven’t seen that side of him.

I’ll keep on working for Liberal causes: health care as a right and not a privilege, a living wage for all working Americans, reproductive rights for women, affordable college that doesn’t burden students for their entire adult lives, racial and gender equality, LGBT rights, and compassionate immigration reform along with common sense gun regulations.

I still believe Americans as a whole are too smart to fall for Trump’s grandiose lies and hate filled rhetoric, but they’ve gotten him this far. No one thought he’d win the party nomination, but here he is. 

Friends, there has never been a more qualified, more experienced candidate for the office of the American presidency than Hillary Rodham Clinton. You don’t have to like her. You don’t have to think she’s perfect. But if you want an America that we can be proud of, one that values the rights of all Americans, not just those of white men, you need to get out and vote for her. 

Vote early if you can in your state. Don’t let anyone intimidate you. Just vote.

Peace, and common sense, folks.

The Elephant in the Room

(Caution–some strong language)

Picture if you will Mr. and Mrs. Republican. We’ll call her Jane and him Dick. The two have gathered with their 2.5 children (Dick Jr., Little Mary and a player to be named later) ’round the dinner table. 

Dick: Look at this fine dinner your mother has prepared! Little Dick, why don’t you ask the blessing?

Dick Jr.: Ok, Daddy. Dear God, thank you for this meal, and please don’t let that bitch Hillary Clinton become the president. Amen.

Jane: Little Dick! That was hardly a Christian prayer! 

Dick: Son, you can’t just say that word in a prayer. Er, (looking at Jane) or about a woman.

Dick Jr.: But Daddy, I heard you call her a bitch.

Dick: Yes, but I’m a grown up. Pass the roast.

Little Mary: Mommy, what’s a bitch?

Jane: (sternly looking at big Dick) Sweetheart, that’s what a female dog is called. 

Little Mary: Bitch! Bitch! Bitch!

Jane: Sweetheart, let’s not say that.

Dick: I’m sick of political correctness! Call a spic a spic, a coon a coon and a bitch a bitch. You know that dear. That’s why we’re voting for Donald Trump.

Jane: (covering Little Mary’s ears) Well, about that. Well, hmmm, I’m not sure I can support Trump.

Dick: (slams hand on table) For heaven’s sake Jane! We’ve always voted Republican, and we’ll continue to vote Republican. Now, pass the potatoes. Did I tell you Rev. Johnson stopped by work today?

Jane: Oh? What was he doing?

Dick: Well, he’s in charge of the county’s “Baptists for Trump” rally and he asked if I’d introduce him. 

Jane: I don’t know why our church endorsed Trump. Shouldn’t the church stay out of politics?

Dick: Not with that Hillary knocking on the door of the White House. 

Dick Jr.: Trump that bitch!!

Dick: (ruffling son’s hair) Now, Little Dick….

Jane: Little Dick, if you say that word one more time you’ll go to your room without dinner.

Dick: (winks at son) Best mind your mom, son. 

Jane: (frowning) Maybe I just won’t vote this year. 

Dick: (turning red in the face) Now Jane, remember the good book says you must submit to your husband. Your husband says you’ll vote for Trump and that’s the end of this conversation. 

Little Mary: But Mommy!

Jane: What sweetheart? 

Little Mary: Didn’t preacher say we need to be like Jesus?

Jane: Yes. Yes he did. 

Little Mary: Did Jesus say it was ok to grab women by their pussies?

Jane: Oh! Little Mary! We just don’t say things like that, and Jesus would never have done such a thing.

Little Mary: Then why does Daddy like Mr. Trump? 

Jane: I’m beginning to wonder.

Note: I started this piece months ago, but just felt it was too dark and too cynical to publish. Then Trump went there, boasting of having groped women against their will, bragging that they let him because he was a celebrity. Still, I thought, surely this will give those evangelical Christians who’d thus far supported him time to reflect and realize that Trump really is the antithesis of Christian love, respect, and humility.

Then last night I came across a video post on Facebook that shook me. A supposedly good Christian man was exhorting people to put their trust in Trump. Most alarming, though were the comments of people I know, groupie-like in their pleas for Donald Trump to avoid some trap the media had set for him–the trap of telling the truth.

Jesus loves Trump, but I’m pretty sure he would drive him from the temple with whips and chains given the chance. God help us all if Trump wins this election. Can I get an amen?

Check Mate

I think of you often

Considering the brief duration

Of our acquaintance.

Many nights your name

Drifts like a wraith between my

Amen and my dreams.

Some days I smile, thinking

Of words we once spoke,

Witty, yet inconsequential,

Odd bits to linger over

While I pluck weeds from

The courtyard out front.

It’s not like we shared a

Romance, more a 


Melding of minds.

Maybe you were the

Platonic soulmate foretold

By a palm reader 

At a small kiosk

In Baltimore’s

Inner harbor.

I don’t miss you as much

As I find places where

Your presence would

Be a blessing.

I hope you

Are well, 



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