Monday, April 25, 2011

Trey's Days No. 10


She awoke covered in blood. For a minute she wondered if it was her own or somebody else's. It was her own. She had walked into a bar to have a few drinks after work and ended up in a strange place with strange people not sure how she got there. As she became conscious the evening slowly came back to her. She remembered meeting the two “coke whores.” They told her that if they went with these guys they had just met they'd get some coke. She didn't want coke. She wasn't like them, she told herself. She just wanted to have a couple of drinks to take edge off. Now here she was lying in a motel bed covered in her own blood, raped and badly beaten. And this was not the first time.
Memories like this prepared her for what was next. Today she is a forensic nurse who helps women who've been raped by gathering evidence that might convict their assailants. She also carries the message that if you think you might have a problem with alcoholic there is a solution. You don't ever have to drink again. Having been a drunken coke whore lying a pool of her own blood she knows there's a way out. She ends by reminding us of Palm Sunday. Jerusalem's streets are crowded with people waving palm branches cheering Jesus. “What if the donkey thought all that was for him?” she asks. And she concludes “I'm just the jackass who gets to carry the message.” That's Springtime in the Ozarks.
The sun had finally come out and it warmed up. Sitting outside at Local Flavor we had a great vantage point for watching people. Bikers rumbled by. Some strollers waved and called up to us. An old friend was our waiter. We were sitting in a sea of friends. With dogwoods blooming and the warmth of love and sunshine life is pretty sweet at Springtime in the Ozarks.
The stone antique auditorium has wooden seats. If they were an inch narrower my wide behind wouldn't fit. Down front standing up talking animatedly to the people in the row behind him is the muscle dude we called John. He had on a tight “John 3:16” t-shirt. His porcelain skin shown below short black hair gelled just so. His pecs and arms clearly were not an accident but the product of many hours in the gym. But it was his friendliness and joy that I noticed above the muscled physique. He clearly had found a way out of the dilemma that plagues many. The fresh peace and happy laughter that he exuded was even more attractive than his gym honed body.
The lights came down, the audience hushed, and the Serenity Prayer was said by 1,000 people in unison. I feel at home. To the stage walks a man from Shrewsbury Mass. In a South Boston accent he tells a tale of loosing himself in the “High Life.” He tells of being taken to meetings by a friend who was eight months pregnant, through the Boston snow, driving to help her friend find what she had found, a way out. His spontaneity as he shared his love and deliverance with 1,000 strangers, his courageous sharing of gruesome pain,his ready laughter at himself, were contagious.
It was 9:30 before we got out and we hadn't eaten. In the tiny town of Eureka Springs nothing much is open at that hour. Between McDonald's and Subway we chose Subway. We were not the only ones. About 15 people had lined up suddenly and there was only one poor fellow working there. It took forever to get our food. Now one would expect that at least someone would be impatient. I was struck by the calm kindness with which all the waiting hungry cheered this lone Subway worker. We waited patiently and one woman noted that we all seemed to have been at the same place doing the same thing, getting a dose of serenity we could then pass along. That's Springtime in the Ozarks.
Tall and lanky with dark wrinkled skin that shows his Indian blood and a life in the desert sun make him look tough. But he warns, “I'm a crier so get over it.” As he relates a saga of running, marrying nine different women, “hostages” he calls them, the tears flowed freely. Over more than a quarter of a century of a different way of life he has found what he was always looking for in a whiskey bottle, in Las Vegas bar rooms, in nine wives. His tears now are tears of joy, joy he shares with us as he freely cries in front of a room full of people from all over, people he doesn't even know.
Eureka Springs is a town of just a little over 2,000 people, and we were a visiting group of 2,172. As the weekend progressed I had the distinct feeling that I was not just among friends but family. Just like me, they all had felt what we all feel, had done what we have all done, and now together we have a common solution. We were everywhere in that tiny beautiful Ozark town, surrounded by love and springtime sharing our solution.
From Belfast a Catholic man tells of being burned out of his house at age 12 by the opposing paramilitaries. He tells of living a life after emigrating to New York that revolved around a bar full of toothless hopeless people. He said once a beauty queen with three teeth came in and stopped the chatter, even the juke box went silent. Relating the unfeeling environment in which he was raised, he said once there was an Irish man who loved his wife so much he almost told her. Feeling unloved and unlovable, he nearly drank himself to death. But even he from his hopeless state of confusion and depression found a solution.
As we drove down out of those green and flower covered mountains toward home my companion and I agreed that if life never got any better than this it would be just fine. We had been reminded not to confuse peace and contentment with boredom. We were assured that the safe warm sea of love and friendship is open for business 24-7-365 and it's free for the asking. All we have to do is surrender. If this is all the resurrection I ever see it would be enough. From what I hear there's more where this came from and more will be revealed. As my eyes and heart slowly open I see resurrection all around me. That's Springtime in the Ozarks.

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