Today we worked demolition on a home damaged by the tornado. We first picked up tools and directions and a “foreman” at a local church. We headed out to what was once a thriving middle class subdivision. There were many other groups out there and many teams of demolition companies. Much of the debris was pushed aside for disposal. The home we started with was partially standing but almost all exterior walls were gone.
There was a huge tree in the middle of the pile of debris. This slowed down the clean up some. Our “foreman” was a guy named Jay, or Jimmy or something like that. He told us to call him the Wildman. I admire the fact that he lives off the grid. He said he skateboarded from New Mexico to Oklahoma. I am not certain I believe that, but he definitely boarded for many miles I am certain. He is a generous person who is genuinely helpful. I had mixed feelings about him, not because of his living off the grid, I admired that, but his personality rubbed me wrong.
I really wanted to genuinely embrace him, but found myself stopping short. There are just those people in your life who mean well and are well intentioned that you just find yourself trying to steer clear of. Maybe my feelings are based in the fact that he is living the way I want to, and had gone about it in a different route. Maybe it was the fact that I felt everything was a one upmanship with him. Whatever the case, he is an asset to the people he is helping. I gathered that he goes to disaster relief places right after a disaster and offers his services, which are greatly needed. He seems to live in a tent with minimal belongings and has minimal money, if any. He uses the same facilities as the victims of the disaster in return for his services.
It is likely my prejudice that I wish all transactions happened this way that pulls up a bit of jealousy. Whatever the case is, I hope he continues to prosper outside of capitalism. I wish I could achieve the same ability to let go that he has.
At some point during the clean up some of our group uncovered what must have been a child’s room. There in all the rubble I found a huge collection of My Little Ponies. There were many of the ponies, and a stable, salon and so many other collectibles that I decided to put them aside for the family if they came back. Some little girl is very sad about her ponies, and if saving them for her helps in anyway, I wanted to ease what pain I could. On the other side as the roof was being torn off I notices some framed pictures of beautiful little girls. I dug through the debris and grabbed as many as I could find. When I moved to Seattle, I accidentally left photo albums and boxes of photos at a rental. The landlady called my mother when she found them, but she never took the time to go get them, I lost years of photos. If I could do one thing to help ease someone’s pain, I would. So I saved all those photos, even though the frames were destroyed and took them to the church to see if a family would claim them. Those are things that can never be replaced.
After we left the worksite we drove over to the school location where all those innocent lives were lost. It was sad and inspiring. So many shirts were placed on the fence, we placed one of our own. Later that night, since I did not get enough soul searching, I went with Pete and Nadine to the OKC bombing memorial site. This city has suffered so much and it still stands proud and beautiful. I admire those that remain and make this city what it is. I would say this is one of the greatest cities I have ever visited, and I never thought I would say that about a place in the Midwest/South. The hope that these people carry is enough to inspire anyone.
All in all, this experience wrenched my heart and soul a bit, made me look into my own self and question my motives and my desires.