mema holiday

left for galveston early friday morning, 07 august 09 ... right outside of hammond, louisiana i picked up a hitchhiker ... his name was michael...

michael had lived a long time, more than his years ... and was very sick, the smell of unwashed body was evident, but what was more noticeable was the smell of death.

as i drove and michael talked, his life unfolded ... he wanted to return to texas. that was where his happiest times were, in texas with his father.

michael had dropped out of school in the 7th grade, and went to work with his dad, escaping an addicted, abusive mother. his father had died 12 years earlier and michael buried him in their hometown of bogulousa, in louisiana. now, michael just wanted to get to texas... and i know, he knew his time was short ... he told me he expected it to take at least 2 weeks to get across louisiana, and was so happy when he found out i was going all the way to galveston... so happy he cried.

i've been told all my driving life "don't pick people up from the side of the road," by everyone...

when i am too scared to help my fellow man, i will cease to exist, i will no longer be michelle ... and i'm not ready to give up caring and kindness ...

he told me of his travels all over the world, of the kindness of strangers, of the love of his father, never once speaking ill of those that passed him by or left him to walk in the southern heat. the only negative he ever mentioned was his mother, and that was only in passing, to explain why he left school, and left home to travel with his father around the world.

jobs were closing to him, the new TWIC process was beyond his financial capabilities, and death was close, it was in the smell, from the odor i guessed lung cancer, with the jobs he had, possibly mesothelioma ... what ever it was, he was measuring life in days.

i dropped him off at a public library and got someone to help him get online so he could find a shelter in the area... and went on to galveston, feeling that day, i was blessed having met michael.

too often we pass people in our lives, people that if given the chance, remind us of just how beautiful life is, people we would otherwise never meet. open your heart, open your eyes, life is waiting.

i made the trip across louisiana in record time ... it's easy to do when you're holding your breathe ... thankfully i wasn't stopped for speeding