It's all about people.

I lived in Fresno California for 18 years regardless of it’s reputation it is a well managed city with many city parks and a reasonable standard of living. I have lived in every part of California with the exception of Los Angelo’s, a city I have never understood; it doesn’t mean anything except I don’t understand it which is fair to say.

While living in Fresno I would see a man regularly walking on the main street Blackstone Avenue near Clinton. He was nicknamed “The Spinner.” While walking he would constantly spin in circles, spreading his arms wide and looking toward the sky it was then and still is impossible to know what was going on with him.

People got so used to seeing him that he became part of the city just another character. Outside of his spinning nothing seemed to be “wrong” with him, it’s not as if I could diagnose it. I’m not sure why I started thinking about him today it may be just an old man’s life slowly playing through highlights in the brain. I don’t know what became of him, hopefully he received some sort of assistance. Fresno has a great program for distressed people at the Community Hospital. They take in the homeless, indigent, mentally challenged, as well as people addicted to various drugs. It is one of the few large Cities in California to do so, that program has been used by many in the community. I hope the spinner received some sort of help, I like to think he did.

Christmas time one year twenty plus years ago we lived in the California desert, near Palm Springs. Mrs. Lebec and I pulled into a bank parking lot to access the ATM, she walked up to the machine turning around being met by an obviously man in need. She handed him a $20 bill, after holding it in his hand and looking at it he began to cry. I don’t know his circumstance but to receive that amount of money was greatly appreciated.

Living in the San Francisco Bay area I regularly would see a man with a long grey beard walking along the side of the road. He was homeless always on his way somewhere generally carrying a sack of his possessions. I now live in a rural area a distance from where I would see him, my curiosity had never been satisfied. While working in the garden one day 10 years ago he walked by down our lightly used road heading toward the dead end one mile further. I was surprised to see him to say the least, he had no idea who I was as I had never approached him. I saw him often over the next years one day I decided to invite him for Thanksgiving, I felt I knew him. We have a large family regularly having a crowd of 30 people sometimes more, family, neighbors, and friends. I invited him saying all he had to do was walk in and everything would be fine. He did not answer me, pausing for a moment he did look at me then turned his head bowed it toward the ground and continued walking. He did not come for Thanksgiving, I saw him for the last time about two years ago. I have no idea where he lived I suspect he passed away.

A homeless lady lives near our small (very small) downtown on the island. She attracts a lot of attention and is one of the reasons I no longer frequent Facebook. She has been offered a safe place to live many times over the years refusing each and every offer. People attempt to help her, cigarettes, money for whatever, and her other needs. She was taken by ambulance one night a few weeks ago to the hospital, the comments on social media were mixed, we have an island page. Some were compassionate, others were just cruel and vindictive. One man inparticular was ruthless towards her, he lived downtown until his passing a short while ago. Someone will have to explain to me why some of us in a more secure position in life have the need to castigate those less fortunate.

I’m distressed as most people are concerning this virus, but it ‘s not the virus itself which is obviously extremely challenging to those we elect to serve our best interest. That may be the reason I began to think about the spinner and the other people that have crossed my path, these are merely a few. As this illness affects each of us more every day, some ignoring, some panicking and others as I am accepting our responsibility to lessen the impact; I think of the people we may lose to it. Some will not make it through, others will contract it but weather the storm fine.

We have a tendency to under appreciate those around us, the further they are from us the less affected we are only remembering them many years after our first encounter. After the passing of my friend Mike last summer I realized I had never expressed my appreciation of him as a friend, I need to start telling people just how important they are in my life.

He told me two weeks before his demise that he was going to miss me, I didn’t appreciate what he meant until after he died. He knew he was near his end.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

2 responses to “It's all about people.”

  1. I’ve reached out to people in these last few weeks not knowing if we’d all survive this. And the homeless person who refused the help? I came to a realization that people have a right to live the life they want. Sometimes that means letting them refuse help. Everyone doesn’t want the same things even if it means great hardship and death. It’s hard.


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