Couch

Couch: (n) a piece of furniture for seating

Although I am just as guilty as the next man or woman of what we shall call “greedy” prayers—those wishes and supplications we make to God and the universe to improve our bank accounts—I am also fully aware that some of the best times of my life transpired when I was funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
unencumbered with the desire for finance, and found great joy in simply trying to survive.

There were many aspects of that process. Let me boil them down to three categories:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Escape

When you’re poor, every day there is the need to find something to eat and also a safe place to sleep and something that is more comfortable than a cardboard box to rest your bones upon, and then, to have the intuition to escape creditors, family members, critics and anybody else who would try to “guilt” you into a lifestyle that mirrors their own.

Now right there, friends, is a full-time job.

If you do not have money, finding enough to eat, a place to sleep, and a way to escape the scrutiny of your adversaries will keep every child of God busy until morning’s light.

I learned the simplicity of finding change and turning it into a couple of dollars which would buy enough bologna and bread to make a meal—if I slipped out into the woods and picked myself some wild blackberries.

And I certainly knew how to circle a neighborhood and find a discarded couch which was heading for the dumpster and had nothing wrong with it except some dirt and recent rain that fell while it sat awaiting its execution.

That couch was fair game. It was rejected, left alone and on a public sidewalk. If I could jump out of my beat-up van, lift it in, and take it back to my location of rest, I could have a place to sit and sleep. There were times I broke out in tears over discovering a particular sofa that was so comfortable that it literally “couched” my aching muscles for many weeks.

I was amazed at what people will give away, throw away or discard because in their opinion, it got old too fast.

I was also astounded at how many doughnut places took their mistakes and day-old product and dumped them out every morning at 8:16 A. M.

And I was careful to swoop in at just the right moment, taking as little time as possible to procure a couch or a beat-up box of rejected doughnuts.

Poverty is an adventure in exhaustion which receives no applause for ingenuity.


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Cherry

Cherry: (n) a small, round stone fruit that is typically bright or dark red.

Rhonda wanted to impress me.

Traveling on the road, feeling young, my hair down to my shoulders, in a beat-up van, with a few songs I had written and dreams of
greatness, Rhonda had bought into my whole delusion and was along for the ride.

Our relationship was an interesting mingling of respect, lust, spirituality and availability.

One day Rhonda went to the store.

It was rather ironic that she was there because we didn’t really have any money. I had given her just two dollars–one to buy some bologna and one to buy some bread and mustard. (This was back when you could buy bread, mustard and bologna with two dollars.)

About forty minutes later she was back with the entrees, but also with a huge bag of cherries. It seems that she had arrived in the produce section just about the time that the manager was ready to throw away a whole bunch of cherries which he had over-ordered for the appetite of the community.

She saw him heading for the dumpster and she asked if she could have the sweet treats. I guess he must have looked at her bell-bottom jeans, hemp blouse and long, stringy hair and felt sorry for her.

He gave her the whole bag.

There were probably three hundred and twenty-eight cherries in there (not that I counted.)

We ate bologna sandwiches and cherries until we could eat no more. Some of the cherries were old and grumpy and others were soft and too mushy, but most of them were deliciously ripe and ready for consumption.

About an hour later, after eating all these cherries, a volcanic rumble began low in my belly, and crept its way up to my chest. Rhonda too.

We both were in horrific pain from a cherry juice hangover.

We needed to go to the bathroom, but there was no real indication that anything would happen.

So we rolled on our bellies all afternoon with a mixture of pain and gratitude over such a cherry experience.

 

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