Tag Archives: getting off drugs

A Surge of Protective Love

So wearing my other hat I travel from time to time on behalf of Southwest Virginia, representing as a business owner and a healthcare worker its many complexities and subtleties.

Those complex subtle bits tend to flatten out like mountains blasted for coal when you get into posh hotels full of suits and go-getters, but at this two-day event, regional break-out sessions brought rooms of despairing people together, and the Phoenix emerged.

Phoenixes rise from their own ashes, you know, and I’ve always thought that was a great metaphor for hope. Hope is born when despair leads to combustion. When you have nothing left to lose, you start over.

That’s where a lot of us feel we are in our little rural areas, trying to keep the population healthy, the younger generation at home, the older generation from having to raise yet another one on their own. And it all comes down to drugs.

Yet it comes down to something more, we agreed, as the law enforcement officers, social workers, doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, and administrators sat around looking at lists. It comes down to those of us willing and able to be part of the change we want to see in the world.

We talked about the need for recovering addicts to have clean housing, a place where they won’t be confronted with others using as they try to stay clean. One doctor said she thought rather than opening a halfway house, people in churches could open their homes and take in one person, one at a time, to better effect.

The city people in the room giggled, but those from rural areas nodded. Because we get it. Plenty of changes have come from outside to make it worse – hi, TVA and Big Pharma and a few others. But who makes it better?

That comes down to an incredible surge of protective love for the place we call home. Because the facts of life in our region are, nothing has ever changed for the better except when those who live here changed it.

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

The Monday Book: A STREET CAT NAMED BOB by James Bowen

bobOf course I was going to love this book, because 1) it’s about a cat and 2) it’s an insider’s ethnographic account of a lifestyle most people don’t experience but think we know a lot about. I like almost any book that tells a story about a lifestyle I won’t experience naturally, so long as it’s done without anger or proselytizing. This book did not disappoint on its promise to deliver my two favorite types of non-fiction in one read…..

As an added bonus, Bowen has a nice turn of phrase; he well-read and puns every once in awhile in a fun way (like the title). He also has a great story to tell: how he found Bob on the streets of London, nursed him back to health, and realized he needed to be a responsible adult because he loved something that needed him.

Pretty straightforward things follow. Bowen gets off drugs, takes a job, ups his musicianship game, and sorts out a few loose ends in his life to do with relationships. One kind of expects these, and his simple explanatory prose in their telling made them accessible for those who don’t engage life in the same way. As in this quote:

“I don’t know why, but people seem to be fascinated to learn how some members of society fall through the cracks. I think it’s partly that feeling that… it could happen to anyone. But I think it also makes people feel better about their own lives. It makes them think, ‘Well, I may think my life is bad, but it could be worse, I could be that poor sod.’ ”

But the story doesn’t end with “happily ever after” once Bowen is clean; the things that happen AFTER his re-entry to adulthood (more or less) are as compelling as his cat-induced act clean-up; I was particularly taken with Bowen’s stories of getting moved around because of Bob jealousy from other Big Issue sellers, and also the do-gooder who pretty much insists she is going to take his cat away from him, for his own good- which is a great ending story in a book about how this cat saved his human’s life.

Throughout the story, Bob runs a silent yet larger than life orange character whose personality drives the narrative. A couple of times I swear I felt Bob’s fur brush against me as I read.

A happy book without being sentimental – read it on the beach, read it for a sociology class; it fits in both.

 

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Filed under animal rescue, book reviews, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, reading, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch