Thanksgiving 2016

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I slept 5 hours, so am up pretty early.  I’m historically not a early morning person.  I have gotten way more stuff done late at night in my life than way early morning.  That being said, maybe I am a morning person now, which is just how it might be.  I have a couple pies to make, so I guess I’m going to accomplish something other than gathering knowledge.

I really like Thanksgiving.  I’ve spent the day in many different countries, but in reality, think that being home is probably the best way to do it.  We historically take a pretty good ride today, but I can’t this year, which I understand, but don’t like.

I looked back upon some other posts that I’ve written over the years on Thanksgiving.  It is hard to explain the holiday better.  I like it.  It is my favorite.  Eating good food with a bunch of friends and family is a hard holiday to out do.

I have this house in Central Topeka.  Central Topeka isn’t the best place to live in our country.  I bought it years and years ago and the neighborhood has deteriorated since.  It isn’t a very safe place to call home.

Since I’ve been out of commission for 5 weeks, I went by there to make sure everything was okay.  I saw that a new lock was on my garage and knew something was wrong.  I have my first car, a 1964 VW pickup truck in the garage and was worried about it.  So I came home and got a pair of bolt cutters and a new lock and heading back to see what was up.

I got there and the lock was off the door and it was standing open a crack.  I opened the door and there was a woman standing there.  I said hi and asked her what she was doing there.  She told me she was living there.

It was a little cold, in the 40’s and wet out.  I told her that it wasn’t a good place to live.  I told her the weather was only going to get worse over the winter and that it we had a great, warm fall, but it is going to be cold.

The woman was nice.  She said she was from Arkansas and explained some of her problems.  I talked to her for maybe 15 minutes and said that I’d try to help her find a safer, warmer place to live.  I told her she could stay in the back of my pickup truck, which she had made up like a little nest with blankets.

I went home and called around.  I found a shelter which would take her.  They would let her live there and feed her.  But she had to agree to come between 1 and 3 pm.

She said she was going to the library,  I drove by and the lock was on.  So I drove to the library to find her.  No luck.  I searched around for a couple hours, but couldn’t find her. My window, 3 o’clock passed, so I realized she was going to have to spend another night there.

I went by again at sunset, a little after 5, but the lock was still on the door, meaning she wasn’t inside.

Now it is Thanksgiving morning and I feel distraught.  I feel like I should go there as soon as it is light and make sure she is alright.  The shelter told me that she couldn’t check in today, so she has to spend Thanksgiving homeless.  I guess that is correct.  Probably many people throughout the world wouldn’t call it homeless, but here, that is the case.  I think I’ll go over to and check on her this morning and see if there is anything I can do for her.  I’m going to explain the shelter situation and see if she might be good with that.  If not, I’m going to have to come up with another alternative.

I think all Americans should realize how fortunate we are being born here.  No matter what your economic situation is, we’ve already won the lottery compared to many places on this planet.  Even this woman staying in a garage is potentially better off than the majority of people in certain places like Africa, China, Central or South American.  It is sort of sad, but the truth. We should focus more on what we appreciate and less on our shortcomings, so we can be a more cohesive society.

Anyway, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I appreciate my luck in life and even more appreciate my friends.

Today, Stacie and her family are driving her from Louisville.  They started yesterday and are going to be here this morning.  We’re going to ride indoors, then eat later this afternoon.  Keith and Catherine are going to Kansas City to have Thanksgiving with Keith’s family.  I’m going to go get Catherine’s mother to have Thanksgiving dinner with us.

Tomorrow, most of my cycling friends and such are going over to Keith and Catherine’s for a post Thanksgiving gathering.  It is supposed to be pretty nice weather here, so I’m sure there will be some rides scheduled.  I’m just gonna stay inside and take it slow.

Anyway, have a good day, enjoy the day and the food.  Don’t take it for granted, it is special.

Brian and Michelle stopped by yesterday for breakfast on their way back to Colorado. I miss those guys.

Brian and Michelle stopped by yesterday for breakfast on their way back to Colorado. I miss those guys.

This is Jenny, the homeless woman. She is very nice.

This is Jenny, the homeless woman. She is very nice.




29 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 2016

  1. SM

    Steve, you are a hell of a nice guy with a huge heart. Most people would have reacted quite differently after finding someone squatting in their garage.
    Thanksgiving is a great day of family, friends and food. Enjoy your day!

  2. Mark

    what a great post. This really helps put me in the proper mindset for this special holiday and you are absolutely right. Its all about friends and family & helping others that might not be as fortunate. I hope you connect with Jenny and are able to help her out,but you are doing all you can and that is all anyone can expect. Also sounds like your healing is progressing well ( finally ) God bless you and your family .

  3. Katie Lindquist

    Happy Thanksgiving Steve, Kent and I are wishing you and the gang, and Catherine’s mom too a love-filled and tasty day. We are hoping for some food shots and will share some of ours too, HINT: pies are always good to look at and we are curious what you will bake!

    Ole is wishing Jason, Mena and Tucker good vibes to be in on a gizzard or two today as well.

    K and K

  4. Mike

    God Bless you Steve. Sometimes our best help is with prayer in belief. I believe it’s your invitation to pray for Jenny. For HIM to do what we cannot do for ourselves. I surely do appreciate hearing of your progress in being able to get the rest you have been in need of. I used to fight the newness of my very early morning wakening. I now embrace it and do a lot of reading and listening. It’s good.

  5. Russell

    We read your note as a family as we often do. We couldn’t have had a better start to the day. Looking forward to pictures. Happy thanksgiving.

  6. Emil Gercke

    Steve-This might be one of your toughest Thanksgivings. Enjoy your day and look back on your progress with renewed hope.

  7. LD

    This is exactly the sort of post that draws me to your blog. Sure, I love the cycling history and stories, but the depth of empathy and compassion you show for others is a true wonder, particularly given the widespread animosity of late. Thanks for the reminder of what’s important in life. And enjoy the pie!

  8. H Luce

    There’s a house attached to that garage, it’s not exactly an income-producing property. You could put her up in the house – she’d then have an address, which is a first step towards getting back in the normal swing of things. This is what they did in Utah to solve the homeless crisis – they gave their homeless homes to live in:

  9. Jim Erickson

    Steve –

    You have a very kind soul. I remember the one time I rode with you I could feel it then.
    You are healing up and will be back to normal soon. Don’t rush it.
    Have a great Thanksgiving and very appropriate post to remind us all what is important.


  10. numbnuts

    happy thanks giving America – may you all be close to family and friends … don’t forget what America was built on, family and friends getting together to enjoy the fruits of America (farming and good fresh food). Don’t forget to thank a farmer! (not the big corporate types, but the local mom & pop types that work hard)

  11. RW

    Steve, if you felt it was appropriate you could do a GoFundme page and the homeless person would have a couple thousand dollars in a few hours. What poor people need most is generally money.

  12. paul boudreaux

    Goosebumps. Steve, you’ve got huge heart on the bike and even more so off it. After all you’ve been through (and are still going through) over the past few weeks, to see you put a stranger’s problems before your own is pretty cool stuff. When it’s all said and done maybe this Thanksgiving will go down as one of your best.

  13. Choppy Warburton

    I’ve dealt with these kinds of situations before.

    Every experience is different but in general what I’ve learned is that one can only do so much for these people. We all have that dream of being someone’s ‘savior’.

    You can give them a place to live, help them find a job, they only need a little stability for a while and everything will be alright. I’ve done it many times. I’ve tried it over decades of my life. As far as I know I’ve failed every time.

    They disappear like this one did. They show up drunk or high or violent.

    In every case, what I forgot behind all my hope and good will was that there was something underlying that got them there and until they are willing to address that, change that, all if the kindness and generosity won’t help them until they are ready to help themselves.

    We see them as we see ourselves. just a little bit of help and kindness and they’ll be alright. But inside their minds, over the years, framed by experiences we can’t imagine, they’ve wired themselves differently in way we can’t understand.

    It’s worth a try. Always worth another try. But don’t get hooked up on the results.

  14. Mark

    First time I’ve ever agreed with one of choppys post. Love and generosity is the way, but peoples choices determine their destiny.

  15. caliracer

    I have to agree with Choppy. Having dealt with homeless people for many many years there is rarely any of us can do. There are typically large underlying issues you won’t solve giving them a place to stay and a little bit of money. They prefer to live by their own rules and are “wired” differently than most people (as Choppy mentioned). They are also very good story tellers which often turns out to be a series of lies to gain some short term sympathy.

    I don’t know legal tenant issues in your state, Steve. However, I would caution you to not let her stay there. Tell her to leave today. Many homeless people know the laws very well and they know what it takes for them to be there just long enough where it’s not easy to evict them. In the process you’ll discover your property being damaged to the tune of lots of money in repairs while you try to get them out. I’ve seen hundred’s of thousands of dollars in damage happen in situations just like yours.

    Where one homeless person goes, others follow. If you allow her to stay you can bet she’ll have “visitors” there permanently. This isn’t something you should be dealing with given your injury.

  16. Alicia Bair

    Great post Steve. You’re right. Most, not all, but most of us haven’t had to worry about a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. Glad you’re slowly getting back to normal. Head injuries are nothing to fool with. Glad you are respecting it. Long time since Dr. Rotz’ Physics class. Some of my fondest memories are from that class and how much fun it was to be your lab partner. Really admire your passion for cycling and where it’s taken you. Keep taking care of yourself. Alicia Bair

  17. Choppy Warburton

    Those things too. When she needs to relieve herself, it will be in the garage. When she is cold she will set a fire in that garage. When she is hunger she will scrounge and steal. When she is lonely she will bring others to the garage. They will also relieve themselves and set fires and scrounge for valuables.

  18. barb

    people aren’t like that (steve letting her squat in his garage) in southern california. 🙁 They look at how you’re dressed and turn their back. If I could afford to move, I would.


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