Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Uncle Buck

We all seem to have one in our family: the crude, loud relative that makes you hide when he comes around or not even answer the door when he is on the otherside. But, my Uncle Buck wasn't like that. And yes, his name was Buck, although technically he wasn't my uncle. It's kinda like a friend of the family that your parents don't allow you to call them by their first name, yet they don't want you to call them "Mr." or "Mrs." So Buck had me call him Uncle Buck. Buck was the father of my best friend, Cat. I met Cat, 13 years ago. We both lived in Greenville, SC and at the time of meeting, she was dating an ex-boyfriend of mine. In his odd attempt to make me jealous, he brought Cat over to introduce us (this was during Clinton's inauguration speech.)Little did he know then that we would be best friend's way after their relationship ended. Eventually, I met all of Cat's family and just kinda 'fit in' along with them.

Even though my Daddy was still alive, I saw Tommie-Jean (Cat's mom) and Buck as parental figures. They became my parents locally, since none of my family lived in SC. Actually, I think I talked to them about personal problems more than I did my own parents. They helped to see me through many crisises and shared many joyous events in my life. Moreso Buck than Tommie-Jean. Buck was such a sweet man with such a great sense of humor. Of course he had his moments when he could be stern, but that was the dad in him. Buck was such a hard working man and tried so hard to take care of his family (and trust me that wasn't an easy task with Cat as a daughter!)

I have so many great memories of him! One of my 2 favorites was at my wedding night to my last husband. My whole family came to SC for the small event. But even though they traveled so many miles to come, I was mostly happy with my Daddy and Buck's presence. I guess by this point Buck had become so much like a father that I would have been crushed if he didn't show. After dancing with my Daddy, who struggled since he had to use a cane to walk due to being diabetic, I asked Buck to dance. I was kinda shocked when he accepted, but with our glasses of champagne in hand, we shared a special 'father/daughter' moment.

A few months after Geoff and I moved to Williamsburg, we drove by to SC to visit. Buck heard we were coming to town and wanted to meet for lunch. He was so eager to hear more about the ministry and our efforts to assist the homeless in Williamsburg. Cat at this time was away in the military (in Iraq)and it seemed to give him a connection to her, being so far away. The lunch seemed so short, although we spent over 2 hours together talking, eating, laughing and getting 'fatherly advice.'

Shortly after Geoff and I moved to Chickahominy Haven, Cat called me (around Oct/Nov) to let me know Buck had liver cancer. By this time, it had progressed to far and all they could do was some chemo treatment and keep him comfortable. After his first treatment, I waited a few days for him to get some strength built up and called the house. He sounded so weak, but he made sure to chit-chat for a few moments with me. I just wanted to make sure he knew how much he meant to me, something I didn't really get to share with my Daddy before he passed so unexpectedly.

Tonight, Cat called once again. (Even though we still remain to be best friends, our schedules make our phone calls far and few between.) As soon as I heard her voice and the tears, I knew...Buck died today. I couldn't cry while she was on the phone because I knew how upset she was as she was saying, "I didn't want to talk to anyone, I just kept thinking I needed to talk with you." I re-assured her I would be coming for the funeral, somehow someway (money is very, very tight right now and I don't know how we can afford for me to make the trip, but God will find a way.)

Currently, the only comfort I can find is that he is out of pain and in a better place. I will cherish the time we had together Uncle Buck and remember how you took me into your life as if I was your daughter. Rest in Peace and find comfort in God's kingdom. I love you!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sometimes, I can't figure out where all the time goes. Other than the newspaper routes and the ministry, I guess I have no excuse for not keeping the page updated. (Maybe somewhere in there I need to include sleeping.) But, actually we have sooo much going on: my computer crashed in Dec. and I am having a hard time transfering everything over so that is taking time, I am getting everything together for taxes and our 990 (even though we aren't required to do one, I feel it is best to do it anyways), filing papers for our "Homeless Night Under the Bridge" event March 31st - April 1st, and planning our first ever Annual Meeting. I am so excited about the latter two. The "HNUTB" Hadyn and I have been wanting to do for the past 3 years.

Currently, we have about 20 people interested in participating in it (and some from Kingsmill and Ford's Colony!)This will give people, for one night, a true experience of being homeless. I have set the groundrules. 1) We will meet at the local bus station and walk to the by-pass bridge (a little over a mile) 2) Each person can bring only 1 item (other than medication) so I have told them to choose wisely! (cigarettes count as one a lighter as another) 3) They must eat dinner before hand because they won't be eating again until breakfast the next morn 4) They must find the places or businesses that will allow them to use the restroom (yet I will go before hand to the local 24 hr places and tell them not to allow it) 5)If they choose to bring a sleeping bag (how smart they would be), and they smoke or want a snack, they must go bum it off of somebody or do odd job to get money to buy ....Get the picture? Yes, we will have a couple of people with us for security (hired security guards) just in case. I think this will be a totally eye-opening experience. Heck, people forget the "Night in a Box" and try this. It is more of a reality! I know Capt. Shannon can brave this out, hmmmmm I wonder if people from United Way can? That's a challenge I am offering. Actually, I will donate $20 per United Way staff, director and/or I/R person who can make it through the night! And, I will go as far as to designate the donated money they earn to go to Dennis Grannan, who has a ministry for the homeless here in town.

Our first Annual Meeting will be at the Hospitality House on May 3rd from noon-3. Tickets will be $25.00 a person and that includes a very nice buffet style lunch. I am so excited!

Well I will blog more later about our campers and vehicles that are being donated to the homeless.