The School I Wish I’d Learned From

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 110 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Well, we all know I want to go to school, and sometimes as I’m lying in bed thinking about the days to come once I leave this iron house, I imagine myself walking into the community college, on my way to a class in sociology. I’m deep into the semesters I need to get certified to mentor or counsel the youngsters or addicted people who need to know there is a way out of addiction, there is a way out other than spending 37 years in prison and walking out an old man.

It’s really simple, pay attention and I’ll tell you, crime don’t pay! No, actually it does, it pays the people who guard the people who commit the crimes. Period. You may think that it’s all good to make a thousand dollars on some dope, but if you get caught, divide that money into the amount of time you will get or the cost of the lawyer if you can get one, or the heartache to the mother, or wife or sister or whomever. See, that’s what you’re selling your life for, a couple dollars and a whole lot of heartache and shame to those that care for you. I feel positive that there is always someone who cares! Hell, I care! I care enough to want to spend the rest of my years going to school so that I am qualified (academically) to tell you what to expect and to offer solutions to the problems or the situations that are so fundamental in making people make the mistakes I made and thinking they are going to get a different result.

I see myself sitting in those classes, where the students are all 40 or more years younger than me, trying to make it to where I want to be, where I can make a difference, or at least try. I see me with a backpack full of books and a laptop after a full day of classes, knowing I’ve got to study for a big test to come, and an even bigger one in being able to help someone. That’s the biggest test, all my bit for these past 22 years since I decided I was going to be part of the solution, not the problem. And if I have to wrack my brain I’m willing to do that. If I’ve got to be looked at by a bunch of college kids as a weirdo old man in the class, ok there as well. I’ve lived thru the B.S. that causes us to end up in here, I’ve been thru it and I can sure as hell speak on the fact that nothing is worth a life in here!

I can see me standing at a bus stop waiting for the bus to take me to the college, and I can see me walking to the halfway house from the same stop at the end of the day, knowing I still have to take care of my personal things like laundry and a shower, and studying for the tests to come in the weeks to come. All these things I think into my life; I literally am living thru this to get to that. I’m walking thru each of these last days, considering the tasks to come and living their needs and planning for the eventualities that I can foresee. At the same time I know full well that there will be just as many speed bumps in the way, just as many trials and tribulations in getting to what I have set as my life’s goal. If I have to work part time in order to eat, so be it. I’ll go to school full time and work part time, but I will do what needs to be done in order to fulfill my dreams. These are the very things that have given me the will and the fortitude to go through the past decade’s worth of hell.

I have a dream as well as you; I have wants and needs and desires to succeed just as you do. I don’t know why I had to go down the road I went down in order to get here, but I am here and I am capable of speaking on what it means to be here at this juncture in life. I am capable and qualified to talk as an expert on the beauty of wanting and in doing the right thing, as well as the hell of being the horrible person I once was and how to NOT be that! I can speak about how to be a success and finally, give testament to just how resilient we as humans really and truly are. What we can accomplish is amazing! What we can overcome is monumental, and what we can see when we look in the mirror after it’s all said and done is someone the Creator has loved enough to help see the error of their ways and to change.

So yes, I’m afraid, and yes, actually, I’m scared to death of you and your world. I don’t know the problems I am facing, but I assure you I will prevail and I will be at that bus stop, in that class, and finally in the solution to someone else’s problems, because I care enough to face the fear and just get the hell on with it. No one can say I’m a coward; scared, o.k., but not enough to not make my dreams come true. I will help. I want to help, and I will do whatever it takes to do that, even 37 years in prison.

PS – Sure hope there will be a bench at the bus stop…

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: