Monday, August 16, 2010

A veggie tale.....

Sunday, is a working day for us working folk.

Housecleaning, laundry, cooking, and of course the dreaded grocery shopping.

My God, I hate to grocery shop.

Especially since I've decided that we aren't eating healthy enough around here and I know what that entails.

A closer inspection of every damn thing that goes into my cart.

A closer examination of all the crap I usually feed my loved ones.

Hauling around extra healthy bottled water and a heart filled with guilt makes the trip even worse.

It's sooooo much easier to just throw in a bag of cookies, a couple of boxes of mac and cheese and call it a day.

Anyway, I was feeling out an avacado when I heard someone say something to me.

I looked up and in front of me was a young man who I recognized, but couldn't place.

A friend of Sweet Prince Buttercup's??? Bears??? Someone Googie knew?

"How are you Beth?" he asked me.

Who who who who who the heck are you? I thought.

And where do I know you from?

"I've been doing fine" I said. "how bout you?"

When he began to talk more I suddenly remembered who he was.

A kid from my program.

But wait...something had happened.

This was the face, the voice, the smile I remembered.

But gone was the dingy raggedly cut long black hair.

Gone were the seven (or more) rings that used to hang off his ears.

The stainless steel bolts that pierced his eyebrows, with skin and hair and perpetual redness around them...GONE.

Gone was the thick black ring that he wore in his lip.

He used to twirl it when he got into trouble.

It made my stomach hurt to see it go round and round.

He was always in a lot of trouble.

Gone were the angry chains and spikes that he used to wear around his wrists and neck.

And in a funny twist, gone were the grungy black shorts that he wore all winter, instead in this muggy August heat he wore a pair of light colored jeans.

And an American Eagle tee.

And his God, you should have seen his hair.

Light brown and cut in the most current "handsome young guy" look.

"Still on probation?" I asked.

He'd been taken out of our program when it was determined that he was not going to cooperate. He was not going to behave. He was not going to stop endangering himself and others.

He was the only kid our visiting chef ever almost laid his hands on.

He caught him eating raw stewing beef off the end of one of our butcher knives and chef came unglued.

He backed him against a wall and yelled like I've never heard him yell.

Jared was good for that kind of stuff.

The shock value of any action was his motivation.

The more outlandish, the more outrageous, the more he liked doing it.

To the other youth he was a Day Treatment hero.

To the staff, he was a mighty thorn in our sides.

A 6'4" inch thorn.

"Yeah, still on probation" he said "for another six months."

Obviously "placement" had been good for him.

"I'm on non reporting" he said.

I asked him about what his court order said and what the judge had him doing.

"Working and eventually going to college" he said.

Awesome, I thought to myself.

We talked for a couple more minutes and then I swear I wanted to reach up and give him a big hug...I was soooo proud of the new and obviously improved him.

Instead I offered a closed fist.

Which he bumped with his own.

"Take care kid" I said "and stop by school when you're in the area. I know the other staff would love to see this transformation you've had."

"We love to see our kids all grown up."

"I will Beth" he said "see ya around."

I don't remember much about the rest of my mundane Sunday grocery shopping.

I do remember catching people looking at me.

Probably wondering why this crazy fool woman was skipping around the fruits and vegetables.

Whistling and giggling.

And shaking her head.

Witnessing a miracle will do that kind of stuff to ya.

EDITED TO ADD....Don't anyone go getting their bloomers in a bunch..I have nothing against long black hair, spikes, piercings, tattoos, grungy clothing, etc etc etc, honestly, I don't...I do have something against angry, self destructing teens who make the world an unsafe place for themselves and others.

I try never judge a book by its cover.


  1. My bloomers are unbunched, I loved reading this. Your pride and pleasure shone through your words. Thanks for sharing, I have a smile now too!
    PS I roared with laughter at your label "A miracle in the produce section" :)

  2. Dear PPB: Along with loving your writing and the way you make me smile, laugh and or cry....I also LOVE the work you do...That one moment with that "thug" as you call them, makes up for all of the "other" things you have to put up with. I am so very proud of you !!!!!! Your Marmie


Some bloggers write "gimme me some love".... as far as I'm concerned, I'd love some love, but I'd even take some hate, some expressions of your disgust, your outrage, mild irritation, sheer joy...whatever, I can take it, honestly I can. Just please (please) leave a comment or two and let me know what you think. Merci.