This is my first attempt at voice texting a Blog. I hope the words on the screen will be the words that I said. I will do my best to review the written content.
I went into Philadelphia today and up to my now favorite Wawa store on Aramingo Avenue. Almost immediately I found Mike. Mike is approximately my age, maybe a little bit older. As I've already told you he's a professional welder and according to his own testimony rather skilled in various forms of home and building construction. We started chatting for a while in my car and he volunteered some interesting information. Prior to being homeless he was living with his adult daughter and her family in Garnet Valley Pennsylvania.
For those of you who don't know, the town and zip code of Garnet Valley is a fairly new phenomenon. I won't bore you with the details other than to point out that Garnet Valley is basically where I live. And so, this man who I have been getting to know for the past 5 weeks or so was fairly recently, let's say 6 weeks and earlier, more or less, my neighbor. He went so far as to give me his daughter's home address and her name.
Now let's stop to think about this a little bit. Of all the people I could be getting to know as I am involved in this homeless Ministry, one person who I'm getting to know has lived extremely close to me until becoming homeless. I'm not sure where this particular storyline is going to go but I find it interesting. As much as is appropriate and without breaking confidences, I will share the story with you.
After visiting with Mike for about an hour as he sat in my car and enjoyed the air conditioning on this extremely hot day, I set out to find Mickey. Four hours later with some Bible reading and driving around her normal path I returned home having not seen her so much as one time. This is reason for concern because that is not her pattern at all. She has been one of the more easy people to find hence all the stories that I have about her. So if you are reading this through the night prior to me getting up there in the morning to keep looking for her, I'd greatly appreciate it if you would say a prayer or two or three or even four for her and my search to find her. I do pray that she is safe.
There was one moment in my search for Mickey that I thought I had found her. It was when I rounded the corner onto the bridge on B Street. This is the bridge that goes over the tracks section of Kensington. As I've mentioned in earlier blogs, "the tracks" are the most devastating region in and Kensington for the current drug pandemic.
As I rounded the corner I saw who I thought was Mickey standing on a Ledge about 3 ft above the sidewalk and dangling there, not in a hanging from the neck kind of way but in a leaning very far forward extremely wasted kind of way. I pulled up to her and called "Mickey Mickey it's Chris get down please." She was completely incoherent and so I pulled the car over to the curb on the bridge and got out. And so here I was directly above the tracks getting out to help Mickey who turned out not to be Mickey but another woman approximately the same size and approximately the same if not more malnourished than Mickey completely wasted and incoherent but standing. As I said, she was standing on the three foot tall ledge that separates the road from the sidewalk on that bridge. I tried to get her attention to guide her down but was unsuccessful. At that same moment a young couple was walking across the bridge and they helped to guide this young woman, a child of God, to relative safety on the sidewalk where she continued her stand and incoherence.
I've seen this same pose before on different people in the few months that I have been doing this. They just stand there and some of them are leaning way over without actually falling to the ground. For some odd reason we knew that she would be essentially safe as long as she stayed on the sidewalk. The young couple and I went our own way.
About an hour later I made my rounds again as I was trying to find Mickey and I wondered what I would find when I rounded that corner up onto the bridge again. And there was the woman very responsive and walking across the crosswalk of the road just north of the bridge.
A man standing on the Street corner gave me a very suspicious look which told me this should probably be my last pass on that road for the day. I would certainly never want to Typecast anyone but men standing on Corners in that area are typically drug dealers.
I made my way back to the area of the Wawa store and just parked for a while in hopes that Mickey would find her way to me rather than me trying to find her. I never did find her. As I said before, this is very unusual and it is reason for concern. I will do all I can to find her in the morning and if I cannot, I will start asking people who may know. If I am not successful, I will probably file a missing persons report. It needs to be understood at this point that as far as I know Mickey has virtually no one really looking out for her on a day-to-day basis. While I would never hope this to be true, in theory she could be one of those people who disappears never ever to be seen or heard from again.
Please do pray.