Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Bonin Walkers

Bonin, a road that divides as much as the Rio Grande divides. One divides a clean, middle class neighborhood from a trailer park that, among respectable folks, also houses drug addicts, thieves and ner do wells. Unfortunately the undesirable are the ones remembered from across that Bonin divide. That divide is a paved road that delinates one section from the other; the upper middle class neighborhood and the area of poverty as much as the Rio Grande divides that third world country, Mexico  from the land of the USA.

There is always someone walking The Bonin Ride. One can see them dressed in their fast food uniforms. They walk the mile to their jobs in the heat, the rain and the cold. I always offer these people a ride.  Occasionally a bike will be seen on that road which is a dangerous ride on a bike. There is no shoulder on the road. The automobile driver must be alert. Most times the 'walkers' will be out at night dressed in black making it difficult to see then until you are upon them. I've had my heart drop many times from almost hitting one of the walkers on this road.

Seeing the walkers, who sometimes are carrying bags of groceries, I slow down, roll down my window and ask if they need a ride. I think back to the days when I worried about having a vechilce to drive. My big fear living away from family was being without an automobile. How would I get to work? How would I shop for the things we needed. As I watch the 'walkers', I'm empathetic  to their plight.
I've blogged on Mary#1, one of The Bonin Walkers. Mary, the mother of two sons was seen, barely though, walking toward her home off Bonin Road. She walked slumped forward, head down, hair long and straggly in disheveled clothes carrying a bag of groceries in each hand. Her son, the younger of the two she had, walked along carrying his own burden of supplies. I slowed down and turned around and drove back to ask if they needed a ride. Gratefully they accepted. A mile or two down the road, we swung down the street into the trailer park. Mary shared with me she did have a car but it was in the shop for repairs. Apparently the older son had caused some damage to it and it was towed to a holding yard. She needed to get a ride the following day to pay the charges and get it moved from that yard. Money was tight. She was a heroin addict that was off heroin but on Seboxon, a drug used to help people kick the "H" habit.  I offered to pick her up the next day and take her to pay bills and to pay for storage on that auto. She gratefully accepted.

As time went along, Mary shared her story and how she ended up being a Bonin Walker. The story wasn't pretty nor did it put her in a good light. Drugs and lots of them had caused Mary to walk down a narrow road into desperate times.

Thanksgiving approaching, I made a trip to the market. All the Thanksgiving dinner supplies, I bought and delivered to Mary and her sons. This was the first Thanksgiving they had together as a family in years. Usually she would take her two sons to a food line for their meal. This year she had no vehicle. Christmas came and the same thing we arranged. There is much more to Mary's story and in a prior blog I have went into detail. I'm moving on from this Mary.

The next Mary was a woman standing on Bonin, a Bonin Walker. She hailed me down as I pulled up to a stop sign. She asked if I was going to Walmart. I said I was and offered her a ride although I was headed to Home Depot in the opposite direction. I'm not in a hurry; nothing pressing. I have time to do 'a good deed' today. Again a story of her car in the shop and she was waiting on getting it out. Mary looked to be in her late sixties. She worn a long brown skirt, a loose cotton blouse and a very long scarf that wound around her head, around her neck and draped down over the front of her ending very close to the hem of  her skirt. TURKISH! As we rode along, she shared that she was from Turkey. In the short distance to Walmart, she shared tidbits from her life. She thanked me effusively as she stepped from my car to the parking lot of the bank. She really wasn't going to Walmart but to the bank that was next to Walmart.

I waited until she returned to my car so I could return her back to her home on Bonin. Mary was a political refugee who had left her country because of religious persecution. She told me there were no churches in Turkey and there hasn't been any since the 1800's. All of them were destroyed years and years ago and Christians had to be very careful in their worshiping.

Mary is going to be another Bonin Walker that will be interesting getting to know. We traded phone numbers and I told her I would call to see if she needed a ride to Walmart when I had a trip planned

My friends chide me for my reckless ways and the rides I offer. I say a good deed never goes unappreciated. I try to be selective in my offers. Mary#1 casually shared with me that she had killed her husband by stabbing him to death. As we rolled along during this admission, I slid my eyes sideways to look at her. It was self defense! No worries! The Bonin Walkers are interesting.

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