His Name is Vern …
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter
Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter
He was a homeless man we met yesterday when on the way to my doctor appointment. When I saw him … he was drinking a drink from a bottle. At first … I didn’t see signs that he was homeless … my mind was on washing my hands.
We stopped at a McDonald’s in Raleigh, NC to eat a fish sandwich (we do that sometimes to remember Tommy). We sat down next in a booth where a tv was … there was a waist-high partition separating the table next to us.
Three men were sitting at the table. I went to the bathroom to wash my hands just as one man got up to thank Skip for his service. He could see by Skip’s hat that he is a veteran.
When I got back to the booth … Skip and the man were engaged in conversation. Clearly the man was enjoying talking to Skip. I began to watch the tv … news … that was above us. I gradually began to listen to Skip and the man.
Two of the men’s friends got up, left. They said they’d see him later. The man told Skip he used to be in the military … he said he began to drink heavily while there. He was very honest about how it affected his military career. He was eventually discharged.
He told Skip his name as he talked. Vern … that was his name. He didn’t pay me a lot of attention. He was enjoying very much getting to talk to someone about something he knew something about.
He stopped talking … looked straight at me. He said that there was something he felt he needed to say to me … he didn’t know why … but, he felt he needed to.
His words were … “Fear not … don’t be afraid”. He went on to tell me what he meant … and that everything was going to turn out good. He hoped I wasn’t offended that he told me.
Of course, I wasn’t offended. You see … I believe we get special messages in unusual ways when least expected. That’s when I pay close attention. This man didn’t know anything about us … I hadn’t been talking … just listening.
I listened to him … my thoughts were how could he even know I was very worried about our life … finances. How could he know life was going to be very different for us than it has ever been? How could he know I was … really very afraid?
We are at ‘rock-bottom’ … I don’t know if we can come back up from this time in our life. Not only that … I’m afraid for something else I’m having to open my eyes to … I just didn’t know. I’m worried about someone I love with my very Heart.
I’m also, worried about our Camie, the little Australian Shepherd I rescued … she isn’t getting better. Yes, there is a lot in my life to worry about … her health isn’t the only health I’m worried about. My whole world feels as if it will fall apart. I just can’t write about it at this time.
I needed to hear this from the homeless man. I am still afraid, worried … but … Vern’s words keep playing in my mind … “Fear not, don’t be afraid … everything’s going to turn out good.” I smile when I think how much those words meant to me when he was telling me.
Then … I feel so sad. Vern, the homeless man … told me those comforting words … he was the one going back to the woods he lived in … not a nice, warm home.
He has emphysema … he told Skip when they were talking, that he didn’t have long to live. He seemed to have accepted it and was going on with his life. His life … he was a homeless man who had nothing. It breaks my Heart.
I watched him smile, talk … seem happy, have pride. We had to leave … we went our way, Vern went his. When we got to the truck I told Skip I wished I’d had extra money to give Vern. He never did, nor said anything about money. I just wanted to do something good for him. I couldn’t.
As we drove off … I waved to him as I saw him set off on his trek to wherever he was going. He didn’t see me. I felt very sad for him. His words … about living in the woods where it was safer than living on the sidewalks … played in my mind. He said when one lived on the sidewalks … they took the chance of being beaten up, killed.
Living in the woods was safer. He told us about a friend of his … he went into graphic detail of how his friend’s face was beaten in. He’d lived on the sidewalk.
If I happen to have extra money one day … I’m going to go back looking for Vern, the homeless man. I will ask around until I find him. I hope that I can do something good for him. He touched my Heart. I sort of have an idea ‘where’ he lives in the woods.
I see him in my mind’s eye … a tall, slender man with a beard, mustashe. He had an old cap on … and underneath his coat, he had another coat on. I paid attention to his face … I could tell he was a sick man. I could see it in his eyes. Yet … he sat there enjoying talking to Skip … then, to me.
I didn’t pay attention to the people around us … Skip said they were looking in disgust at the homeless man. I’m not like that … I saw him as a person who cared about other people … had feelings … a person who was sick, suffering.
He had to go back into the woods to live, sleep … and you know how cold it is. You and I would die from what he goes through. And … he has emphysema. Why would I give a damn what the people around us … thought?
I’m glad I didn’t pay attention because … in a nice, quiet way I would have reached out to them to … care. To just care … just simply care.
Oh my … try to imagine … it doesn’t matter how he ended up homeless … I just hope you will add him to your prayers … add this homeless man to your prayers that good things will happen to him. His name is Vern.
Note by this Author:
This is a true story that happened just yesterday evening. Today … Vern has been on my mind. It’s raining today … I pray he is in a dry, somehow … warm place. He is a very sick man. He will always be in my prayers … I may never see him again … if I do … I will tell you.
You never know who you are speaking to … angels come in all shapes … forms.
Photos/ true story owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter.