Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Cave In


I went to The Cave, after waiting in Bienville Park for about an hour past the time that had been specified, until "the van" arrived and I was whisked off to that place. There were about 6 souls in the van, total, but it was to return for more. Christian "heavy metal" music was playing on the van's stereo.
I had waited until 2 pm. before imbibing in my first beer. I was drinking it when the van arrived and up walked Charlton, who was the guy that invited me to The Cave on Thanksgiving day, after giving me 20 dollars.
I felt that I should at least check the place out, after he had made that gesture. It didn't feel like I had sold my soul, and Charlton didn't flinch at the sight of a beer can in my hand. He offered us riders cigarettes on the way to the place.
Simulation Of Corrie
Upon arriving, I was greeted by a lot of friendly people, some of whom I already knew, only a couple that I regret knowing, and one guy named Howard, whom I hadn't seen in a while. When I last saw him he was falling-down drunk and so persistent in begging me for whatever I had, that I distanced myself from him. Yesterday, though, he seemed sober and was calm and pleasant to be around. He must have had some kind of change in his life; perhaps the people at The Cave have helped him.
Then, I was greeted by none other than Corrie and Billy, who sat at my table as we ate what was my 4th Thanksgiving meal, consisting of turkey, stuffing, gravy, green beans, sweet potatoes and a roll. Chocolate ice cream cake was the finale.
Corrie refused it, citing a hatred of cake. It was suggested to her that she could eat the ice cream and leave the cake alone, but she was certain that some of the cake flavor would have seeped into the ice cream, and she held firm.
The Cave is a place where most of the people there have recovered from drugs and alcohol and riding with outlaw motorcycle gangs, doing things worse than drugs and alcohol. They assured us that they have "been there and done that," and that we could certainly be saved if they could be saved. Corrie became upset when Billy was prevailed upon to approach the altar and be prayed over, but she wasn't. "That was rude," she stated. I told her "Just bring your soul up there, anyways!" She decided to hold out in protest, though, and went unprayed over, (at least publicly).
Sleeping In, Under
This morning, I woke up at 10 am. under the trolley, crawled out and then went to the Shell for an energy drink.
It was too late then to get in touch with Jeff The Potter about going to the morning service at his church. I had run into Taylor, his oldest daughter, and her boyfriend, the night before. It was after I was dropped off by the van from The Cave.
The Cave men had been trying to talk me into checking into a shelter, because of the forecast for freezing temperatures. They argued that there would be hardly any people out, due to the conditions. There were a goodly number of people out, Taylor and her boyfriend included, and I made enough to cover expenses, which was about 3 more cans of  beer and a pack of cigarettes.
I was able to talk to Taylor and ascertain that the reason that she hadn't given me a sip of her wine, when I saw her at Serda's, was because she is a bit of a germophobe. I told her that I understood and felt a lot better. I asked her if she had seen me the night before at The Music Box, and she said that she hadn't. She asked me if I was playing my guitar onstage that night. Apparently she hadn't seen the band, either.
She must be blinded by love. I hope she isn't doing any heavy partying, as that would also explain that kind of "blindness."
First Baptist Church
So, after my energy drink this morning, I was in the vicinity of The First Baptist Church, on Government Street, I saw people entering that edifice. I remembered that the church had been recommended to me by Porsha (the ambulance driver) as being "a good one." That was about 4 months ago, and she never mentioned it again. I figured that she had left it in the hands of God, (who is long suffering,)  to lead me there. Porsha wasn't there, herself.
The men at the front door were well dressed. They could have been financial advisors, or undertakers. The look on their faces as I mounted the granite steps, leading up to the door where they were posted, seemed to say "We need to do something about that 'All Welcome' part of the sign out front," but they didn't voice anything of the sort, nor did they exactly invite me in, even after I dropped Porsha's name. They told me that Porsha was often on duty Sundays, and wasn't a consistent attendee. I guess they thought that they had satisfied my curiosity and that I would leave.
I Know You're Not Supposed To Start A Sentence With "But,"

We ask you to please remove your hats, crowns of thorns, etc.
But, I went in and they had a very nice choir that sang some very nice music. The people were overly friendly, in that manner that I have become accustomed to, whereby the people say something like "It's nice to see you," but press no further out of fear that they will be at a loss for a rejoinder should you mention that you slept under a trolley the previous night. "That's nice," one of their staples, wouldn't quite do, they would suppose.
It was a good experience. The preacher talked about how John, the apostle, went around in ragged clothes and with some part of a camel as a garment and a leather belt. I wondered if he threw that in for my benefit.
When the collection plate came around, I had my choice of envelopes to stuff my 50 cents into. One of them was earmarked for feeding "the needy." I figured that dropping my coins in one of those would be like depositing it, only to withdraw it the next time I ate at their soup kitchen. I put it in one of the other envelopes to go towards their "deficit."
As I sat there after that, I had a daydream that after the service, someone would make a comment like "Boy, that 50 cents that I heard rattling out of the homeless guy's pocket is really going to take a bite out of the deficit!" and a billionare, who was just visiting the church, being just passing through town, would hear him and quote the scripture about the lady who gave all of her farthings as being the one who gave the most out of anyone. He would then take out his checkbook and saying "I will match the contribution of the homeless guy with transmission fluid in his hair 10,000-fold," would utter a check for $50,000.00 and the day would be saved for The First Baptist Church. One of the men who were standing at the front door would say "I had a good feeling about him," and the other would say "So, did I!"
That kind of thing happens all the time, in my daydreams. Soon, it was time to stand up and sing, and I snapped back to "waking consciousness," as the Hindus would say.
I was invited to return "every Sunday," and couldn't help thinking that it was like when people say "We'll have to get together sometime," and then never do. Of course I was also invited to eat there on Wednesday nights at 5 pm, which is the same time that Jeff The Potter's church meets. It's a "dog eat dog" world in the soul saving game...

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