Forward Momentum

Step Into the Light

Journal Entry 12 – November 30, 2022

By Steven Maisenbacher

Well hello again. November has been one hell of a month and a lot has gone on for me. It started with a bang with these people running out of my insulin. The obvious results of that fiasco you can see if you check out Chapter Nine, Who Cares?.  

Other significant things have happened since then – some wonderful, some not so wonderful, some just a pain in the hind end. The best part is I’ve finally been given a little more freedom and that makes me happy. The other day I was allowed to go to the post office to mail some Christmas gifts that Leontien, my wonderful sister in Europe, wanted me to send. It’s about eight blocks to the post office from here, so I decided to walk. I took the smuggle buggy (my walker) and proceeded on down 11th Street south to Monroe where I took a hard right and proceeded down the eight blocks to 4th Street to the post office.

While walking down Monroe it occurred to me that a very big building across the street looked hauntingly familiar. This federal courthouse is the same building that I was sentenced in and sent immediately to prison from 24 years ago. So I thought this would be a good time for me to take a break, sit down and reflect a little bit. I decided to take a couple pictures with my phone too.

After all, this is the first time I’ve been on this side of that building without being in a van, shackled and handcuffed, with a police escort on my way to a court appearance. I was free and I was doing a normal person’s business in a normal way. What a wonderful feeling! The people in every car that passed me had no idea of my tie to this building or the past that created that tie. To them I was just an old man with a walker heading somewhere. I’m okay with that.

I’m also okay with the fact that while sitting out front of that building across the street, I knew that I had done everything that building required me to do and now it is time for me to get on with my life and the everyday things that make that life worth living, one of them being sending something beautiful to my adopted sister, who’s a caring and giving human being herself.

After taking care of business at the post office, I turned to walk the eight blocks back to 11th Street. Along the way I stopped at the Cafe Moxo and ordered a Diet Pepsi. It occurred to me there as well that these people have no idea what I think or what I feel. To them I’m just another passing customer, perfectly entitled to be in their place of business for no other purpose than to buy something, and it felt damned good to be somewhere amongst people that didn’t know my past and didn’t care.

I happened to look towards the back of the restaurant in the cook’s area that’s open to the front and saw one of the guys that lives over here and is in the same program I’m in at the halfway house. I yelled back to him, “Hey, it’s about time you did something worthwhile.” He laughed and waved; I waved and went on about my business. On the way back to my domicile, I cut through the courtyard of the old State Capital Building, now a National Historical Site, and stopped to visit with an old friend and his family.

Now this was before Thanksgiving that I had this little walkabout to the post office. Then on Thanksgiving Day the Creator truly blessed me again, letting me spend time with my family. These are people I hadn’t been able to celebrate a holiday with in more than 25 years. To be sure, this fact wasn’t their fault; it was mine. But now it was my greatest pleasure as well to be there with them, to eat, to laugh, to see how they’ve all grown up and some of us old – well, old-er – but we’re not going to talk about that.

I have to say, Babs, that was the best day I’ve had in 37 years and it was all because of you! You kind of forced me out of my shell, my own self-imposed exile, worried that I really wouldn’t be welcome, or that my presence would make the whole day uncomfortable for some of us. But it wasn’t that way at all. Once again, you showed yourself to be the matriarch of our family and I thank you for that!

The food was awesome too and I wish I could have taken some back. But guess what? There’s going to be lasagna at Christmas! Some of you may not know, but my sister-in-law, Babs, makes the best lasagna in the universe and over the decades I have often dreamed of her lasagna. That dream will come true when I get to spend Christmas with my family.

One person will be missing on that special day, but that too is about to change. Since our long-distance reunion, things have progressed so far and so fast, but not fast enough. Janice, I can’t wait to hold you in my arms. But you already know that and I know you feel the same way. So I got to go to Thanksgiving and I came back and we moved on.

Now, I’m not griping about anything, which is somewhat rare for me. Well, not really…what a lot of people think are complaints are just my pointing out the simple truth. They just sound like complaints cuz sometimes the truth sucks. But it’s not bad, the truth. Maybe my delivery isn’t always the best, maybe it’s a little bit blunt. Maybe it’s because I love the Creator more than deception, I love my walk on the Red Road and my belief in my spiritual betterment more than I do candy coating anything.

So this morning, I was scheduled to go out to the college to keep two appointments. Late yesterday I was informed by staff that I had a follow-up visit with the doctor this morning. So I went in and raised hell saying that it’s obvious that if I fail this semester it’s because they’ve managed to keep me from going to college to learn how to use a computer and do the most simple things to submit my homework assignments every week. The powers that be then allowed me to reschedule my trip to the college for tomorrow. So I go to my doctor appointment this morning only to find out I had come a day early. Yes, staff had mistakenly given me the wrong date!

Now, long story short, my morning was shot but staff did give me a pass to go on out to the college in the afternoon. But while I was waiting to leave, the best thing happened. . . I called Walmart and was able to talk directly with the HR lady to ask why a pre-arranged phone interview for yesterday never happened. After we talked a bit she asked me to come on in tomorrow for a personal interview. She sounded very positive and I’m holding that thought. Then on the bus headed to the college, I had a call to come for another job interview. So for sure, things are looking up on the job search – and I really, really need a job.

On another front, since “the accident,” which is what they are calling what happened when I was getting back on my insulin after they failed to provide my doses for 5 days, they knew I had been seeking a personal injury lawyer. I just got an email from the attorney asking if I received her letter in regards to “the accident.” Surprise, surprise. . .no I didn’t. So I told her that and she’s now sending it again certified registered return receipt requested with my signature only. Smile, looks like somebody else sees the fault in things that have happened.

So after I raised hell about not getting to go to the college yesterday and having to cancel appointments, and another snafu this morning, these people were gracious enough to allow me to go this afternoon instead and I appreciate that. I was able to get some things done out at the school. Everyone was extremely helpful and understanding of my situation. I know they will do everything possible to help me succeed with my goals. The job front looks promising as well, so I can’t complain. The only thing I know for sure is November is almost gone. Today is the last day and I got to share that month with everybody that gives a damn about me – my friends, my family, and you, my beloved Mitiwan.

A very wise person told me just this morning things are going to be what they’re going to be. My interpretation of that is: it is what it is – no more, no less – the Creator has my back, so let’s get on with it. Some people here can’t really get anything figured out in regards to me but that’s okay because I’m going to keep pushing and that’s what I need to do if I want to be able to continue to look you in the eyes or tell you in this matter, I am Walks On The Grass and I Will Never Surrender.

Published by Sings Many Songs

I'm an 80-something child of the great depression and WWII. Throughout my life I have been a seeker, an outsider, never quite belonging anywhere, still always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A lifelong student with many interests and a love of writing and editing, my elder's path led to encouraging and assisting some remarkable people to write out their amazing stories. This calling became the magic elixir that keeps me growing, keeps me alive.

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