THE REASON OF THE SEASON -
BSC, CA – This story is barely three days old but it finished yesterday, the day before Christmas. It involves two other people besides me, in belief, one a Mormon and one a Muslim. Both religions believe in Jesus and both start with the letter 'M', but is that the parting line of reality for the two? The following is a real event and you, the reader, have seen this story develop here in the last few days. A homeless man who was known in the neighborhood died a few days ago. That story was a second embedded in the Keenwild music review of their new album release, FATE.
The spot where the man was last, whose name was known as 'Lee' but was longer in the actual French version, stayed on the front lawn by the donut shop under a huge shade tree. He had moved there when they viciously trimmed 90% off the tree tops at his former spot, which was by the tire shop at the opposite end of the small plaza mall parking lot. The donut shop lawn is between another small outdoor two store building area. The donut shop lawn was the site of a balloon release on Saturday, noon, December 22rd. I went.
It must be noted that this balloon release wasn't a funeral, but a celebration of Lee's life. I had seen the flyers attached to the trees around his present lawn spot so I made a special note not to miss this gathering. It wasn't that I really knew him but it also wasn't like I didn't know him. He called me 'Reverend' and I knew him as Lee. I had his cell phone number and we talked usually when I walked by, unless he was asleep. Obviously Lee wasn't like the majority of the homeless that you see, if you notice them, and you do if you walk or take public transportation.
Saturday rolled around and I walked down to the spot not really knowing what to expect. Gathered around were about 15 people plus several kids, mostly black but also with several whites in attendance. As we joined hands in a circle after taking the first color balloon, blue, people started to talk and share details about a person I knew in the last few days of his existence. He was 46.
Lee had shown much promise in his early life, even attending college where his major was pre-Law. In those days he had been a beacon to his close peers and a brick in his family's foundation. Then came the onset of schizophrenia and that changed everything. Mostly, he was left to medication since no one knew how to reach out to him in his family.
But Lee managed his own finances, ordered food sometimes, usually balanced his own budget, and took care of his own welfare. His conversation may have strayed to things imagined but he always had a course he was following and a smile for those he liked. There was also something about him that no one could explain.
Lee knew one woman in the circle who worked at the nearby Health Center by her family nickname and called her that. How did he know when no one else locally had such information. He would ask kids what they learned in class and they liked to tell him. Some people he would leave a message for. Other people were helped by the wisdom he gave them. All these stories circulated around in the circle to degrees of emotions. Even the young guy who called the paramedics was there and spoke.
Then the strangeness started. The blue balloons were released but one, Lee's?, was captured in the thick branches and leaves of the big tree. It is probably still there but you have to look for it, because it is almost hidden. Later the white balloons were released. And that was Saturday. I was probably home by three.
Sunday I looked out back and saw this.
Monday the home owner came by with supplies so I asked her if flowers were nornal in that spot and she said 'no'. I told the story of Lee and asked her if she thought it was a sign of Lee. She said 'no' again. She is Mormon.
Later that day my Muslim friend came by before his Christmas vacation and we had lunch. I told him the story and the appearance of the flower, which by the way, smells great. I asked him the same question and without blinking an eye, said 'yes, it is a sign.'
I think everyone knows which side I am on. RIP, Lee.
Merry Christmas, Everyone. BSC & Me