the Cabin…

The structure that became our house for several years when we first came out here in the woods was origanally a green house frame. I paid 200 dollars for it with out realizeing that for that much money I could have built the same thing and more…but I was not anything near being a carpenter and must say my nail bending skills far exceded the ability to saw a straight line or measure a board correctly-the builders square quickly set aside for an ‘eyeball’ square. The roof was an old canvess tarp. The place was 12 feet wide and 16 feet long. I managed to salvage enough 2×8’s to frame in the floor-dragging that stuff home from the water tank company’s landfill. I had to take apart the green house twice and rebuild it twice-once when I bought it and got it moved out here and the second time to put it up on the frame-now sitting level on pillars and pads. But the place began to take shape. One of the guys at the water tank company sold me this Ford station wagon that had no brakes but the back of it was filled with wood frame windows. I used the windows and they still are in the same hole I put them in nearly thirty years ago-the car long gone…but I did drive it with out brakes for a while but it scared the day- lights out of me and I sold it to another guy and he put brakes on it and the car lasted him for a long long time. Like that old Dodge-I did’nt have a clue about how easily fixed some automotive things were only learning later as a truck driver that mechanic’s was’nt much of thing at all except for busting your knuckles and getting sand in your eyes.

I had a 1954 Chevy that had a bad master cylinder for the brakes-but because the plug to access the master cylinder was under neath the brake pedal inside the car I could keep several bottles of brake fluid inside the car with me and usually at a stop light could replenish the fluids and keep brakes. That did’nt always work like you wanted to and sometimes the ride got pretty hairy and sometimes questionable as to where you would be going to get to where you had to go because if a light turned red and the brakes were down you had to make a right or a left with out much planning ahead-and sometimes I had to jump across lawns and go through corner business lots. It was crazy but it was the 1970’s and there was’nt as much traffic as there is now…I could’ve never pulled that off today. But it was training because one who has to drive automobiles that have after factory extras like bailing wire to secure a muffler and duct tape to keep in a tail light never knows the condition the brakes or radiator really is in- and brakeless driving training is a must.

Its sort of an amazing thing the way all of this has come along all of these years. Its funny how people don’t realize that when you hit the pit and you found rock bottom that it is a place where as you try to climb out the gravel and loose dirt under your feet keep busting loose and rolling out from under you and you keep trying to climb out but your footing keeps spinning and spinning. I have learned how to swallow spit and meditate on something other than food to keep from being hungry and found out that a dollar can make you feel rich-if at least until you swap it for a bag of Buglar’s or a quart of beer. It was what I had to do every day when I walked out of this place to get to work -swallow spit and pride with it and do what I had to do to take care of my two kids.

Eventually the Cabin became a comfortable little arrangement with a wood stove for heat and if you could stand the wait-to cook. The water tank company uses some kind of sheet metal to core line the tanks before they gunite them-and they gave me all the scraps I needed and I used them to form a roof-and used old form material for the sides and covered that with several layers of tar paper to keep the place dry and with the windows from the station wagon the place became fairly liveable.

About a half mile from where I built it the corner property came up for sale and it had a well and electric pole and I was able to get that five acres and sold the land I was on to work out that…and payed a house mover to come pull this little Cabin down the hill-it held up on the ride down which meant as a wood butcher I was’nt too awful bad. The place still stands-I use it now as a wood shop. I bought this mobile home I’m in 16 years ago for a thousand bucks…it was shot then , ain’t much better now-but its better than what I had when I first set foot out here and I’ve seen folks in places that make me feel ashamed sometimes that I have it so good.

Those mornings having to walk out of here did something for me. A few weeks ago I thought I needed to borrow some money and do some things-finish fixing up the end of the house….was going to borrow against this place. I got this back when Florida land could be gotten cheap…now it has a nice value-I guess I’m pretty well off on paper,though cash poor. I’m starting to see houses go up around here nearby that dwell over what my little gathering of buildings are. But I could’nt bring myself to do it-borrow the money and ‘sell’ this place out into a mortgage like that. I came here homeless-literally homeless…and it grew me and molded me and did something for me-strengthend me and it made me say that this situation was never going to happen to me again no matter what-if the house burnt down…it would not matter. This place was mine-is mine…and the lessons from having to gety up every morning and walking all those miles to work my ass of to pay for this to assure I’d never be homeless again…well , it sunk itself into my head-and I got scared and I am NOT going to put my place on hock…I’m going to do what it says in the Bible to not give worry no matter what the situation…be content. Theres this picture on my kitchen wall by the micro wave that I got out of a national geographic of a russian guy in a soup kitchen somewhere in Russia. Its hard to tell-he looks my age-but he’s so haggerd its hard to tell…and he’s looking across to something and he’s holding this piece of a roll and a spoon and theres this bowl of soup. It is his hands that catch my eye-they look like my hands…he looks old,but he’s not-you can see by his hands. I just am glad to have that picture because it keeps me in touch with where I came from to be here today…gripeing about how cold it is on the very first ‘cool’ day of fall and I need that guys picture to keep me in line and in focus…I can do this again (winter) and forgive me if I ain’t smiling about it but hear me that it is good that I still have drive to be able to grit my teeth and do it. Can’t get soft now !

2 Responses to “the Cabin…”

  1. Mike E Says:

    Yeah, funny how brakes are ALWAYS the last thing to get fixed — it is crucial that the car Go. Hell who need to Stop with a deathwish & a monkey on your back?

    Dig.

    Oh, and you should be proud of that decision about your land.

    Smart move dude. Never again means never homeless agian!

    Keep On.

  2. melissachickie Says:

    The last time Oscar raped me, I waited till daybreak to runaway from his home. I packed the cab with all my belongings, all that I could take, and told him to take me away from there. The cabbie drove me to Social Services. I was homeless at that point. I didn’t have the courage or the energy to tell the Case Worker or the Police what happened. So I took the vouchers they gave me, and I lived with a crack-head named Zola in a beat up little roach motel just outside of Ft Meade. I was ashamed of living there, but I didn’t want to goto a shelter for domestic violence or be processed as an object through the rape kit. All I wanted was to have a place to live and not be afraid that I was going to be raped repeatedly and blackout from the beatings. I got back in touch with my family, who did want me and paid for me to come back home (something Oscar had led me to believe was opposite). What I am trying to convey is that I look back at those days at that roach motel and am thankful for the roof over my head, and I honor what I needed to do to survive getting away from Oscar and on my feet. I praise you for making yourself a home and giving God thanksgiving for all He has provided thus far.

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