Mar 26 2006

Sweet Home Alabama

Posted by J. Craig Canada in Alabama, cleanliness, shelter, sleep deprivation

I’ve been out of medicine for week. Out of money. Out of cigarettes.

And all I can think about is the land and money my father left me. And how I might have stayed in Alabama and had a roof over my head and a place to live if it weren’t for my mother. If she hadn’t ran me out of the state.

It was after I was busted, in 1996, my mother called me, hysterical (as usual), begging me to come home that my father had died and they wouldn’t let her ‘up there’ and Pat was going to be his executer if I didn’t come home. After the trial was over and the verdict in I made plans to go back, and rest, I hoped. I planned to be there for a month. They said I could stay in Taylor’s old cabin where father lived until he died.

And then, 3 days before I was to leave, they changed their mind and said I couldn’t stay in Taylor’s old cabin, but I could stay in my mother’s mother’s old house. Well, I almost cancelled the trip then, and I should have.

When I got there the stove and refrigerator were gone. And I don’t think there was any electricity or phone. Mother’s husband told me my mother had sold the stove and they’d just taken it out and damaged the gas line and to be careful. Well, not only was there a gas leak, but the sheets in my grandfather’s bed were full of rat poison. After sleeping there a couple of nights I was groggy and my eyes were practically glued shut. And the Hell mother raised when I didn’t use the window-unit air-conditioner but instead opened the windows to get fresh air in the house, and when I gave up sleeping in my grandfather’s bed, in the bedroom next to the kitchen, and instead slept in my grandmother’s bed, at the corner away from the kitchen.

And when I put the porch swing up she told me not to do that. And not to trim the rose bushes (which desperately needed it). Even though grandma tried to stop her by telling her to let me do anything I wanted.

I told her I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted from the orderal of the bust and the trial, but she wouldn’t leave me alone. Do it for me, she kept saying. Well, I never got to file the appeal thanks to her, and now I have two felonies that might have gone away if she’d only left me alone.

And she put a battery in father’s old car and presented me with a bill for it, and I guess she and her husband drove it down from Tennessee so I would have something to drive. Turns out the car had no brakes and it cost me more to fix the brakes (so I wouldn’t hurt her feelings) than it would have to rent a car.

I can’t remember now what the last straw was, but I don’t think it was two weeks before I took a hammer and smashed the cassette recorder and coffee pot (the only things in the house that were hers) and left for New Orleans, only to come back a couple of days later and rent a motel and try to settle my father’s affairs.

I’ll never know if I could have stayed in Alabama, if the California penal system would have let me do my probation there. Nor, I guess, will I ever see that land again. After mother got through with me I was convinced there was no way I could live in Alabama. My mother would manage to get me arrested and jailed no matter what my friends and the rest of my family there did to help.

I just spent 4 hours getting a shower; walking to the shelter, waiting and waiting and waiting while 8 people showered ahead of me, and walking back to the library. I’m at the library now and I keep nodding off as I sit at my computer.

I got more than eight hours sleep last nite, even if it was in a sleeping bag on the hard cold concrete.

I’m $6,000 in debt, so I can’t afford to go anywhere or do anything. I will probably die homeless on the streets of Santa Cruz.

I keep thinking about the land in Alabama, how father’s friend, Jerry Ford, offered to help and how – if it weren’t for prohibition I would have twenty acres, and a home.

I often wish I had the guts to kill myself.

I’ve made a big hit on the local newspaper’s forum. They accuse me of whining and scream “Get a job.” They gang up on me and sling mud and

They’re probably all growers making money off people like me.

I keep falling asleep. I’m beginning to dream again, nightmares, as the THC levels in my blood deplete.

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