These are the people in your neighborhood...
A few weeks back Dale mentioned having a drunk land on our doorstep. Here's what happened.
I was putting the kids' socks away in their room, calling to them that when Max & Ruby was over we would go for a walk before lunch. I heard some thumping against the back door. Who's that? It can't be Shelly with her leg; maybe Kazz or Brisan for something?
I came around the corner and saw long hair blowing. Is that Leanna [another neighbor]? Why did she dye her hair black?
I went to the door and realized this was a complete stranger in my back yard, sitting on one of the Rubbermaid tubs on our deck, petting my dog. I joined her to investigate.
"He killed my cat."
"He killed my cat, the son of a..."
"Um... You realize you're in my back yard, right?"
[Belligerent] "Yeah, I know that!"
It occurred to me that this woman wasn't right. Whether she's nuts, stoned, or drunk I couldn't be sure; this conversation could take a while. I retrieved my pullover from the house. When I returned, she was lying down on the deck.
"I want to go home," she said when I got her sitting back up. "Will you call me a cab?"
"Where's home, honey?" I was on one knee looking her in the eyes. She was plastered and utterly lost. She managed to mumble an address one street over and a half mile north. I didn't know about this calling a cab business; how long would it take? Where would she wait in the meantime? Who would pay for it? If she couldn't, would they come to me?
"Okay, sweetie. We'll get you home."
I went back in and called Shelly. I would really rather not be tooling about with this drunk and my kids, but God didn't give me that option. I got Shelly's machine.
"Kids, get your coats and shoes on. We're going for a ride." They'd already noticed the strange lady in the back yard. Everyone got shod, the dog got boxed, the kids got buckled in. I put her bag in between the front seats then went back for her.
She could barely walk. How she'd gotten in our yard and not let the dog out remains a mystery.
While we were in the minivan, she asked, "Why are you doing this?"
"Jesus would want me to."
I couldn't find the address she told me. It dawned on me to check her bag; turns out the address on her driver's license doesn't exist, either. Third time being the charm, I found something else with an actual address. I pulled into the driveway as her neighbor was coming out of her own house.
"Do you know these people?" I called over, pointing to the house. "I think I have one of your neighbors in my car."
The woman came over. "Oh, my goodness. We can't just leave her like this. She needs to go to the hospital."
My frustration started to spill out. "Ma'am, I can't do that. I've got my three little kids here with me and I don't know anything about this lady. She just showed up in my back yard and I'm just trying to get her home."
Turned out she did live there. Eleanor (that's the neighbor) opened the door; it had been unlocked. I got Heidi the Drunk into the house while Eleanor watched my minivan and her own front door. Heidi flopped onto the love seat, then said she needed to go to the bathroom. I got her in there and closed the door.
On the porch, Eleanor and I agreed to leave the door locked. I introduced her to the kids and she cooed in the appropriate grandmotherly fashion.
We came home and went for our walk.
I've wondered what I was supposed to take from this situation; what lesson God was trying to teach me. I've realized it wasn't about me. If Heidi had wandered into anyone else's back yard, she would have been chased off as far as she could stagger. Shelly can't drive with her leg; Joe wouldn't have had the patience for her; Linda doesn't drive; Marie would probably have called the cops. I drove her home.
We were caught up on school and were going out anyway. Any ideas for which corporal work of mercy it might fall under?