Where ya headed?: Travelers of FS
By Jeremy Gonzalez
Fast on his feet and an old hand at drifting, "O.D." has been living homeless for 21 years now. Stopping inside the local Burger King for some coffee, he said, "I'm a traveler but I’m not sure where I'm headed from here. I might go to Monahans, because I've never been there before.”
Walking back outside he continued, "Fort Stockton is an alright place. It's one of the better towns that I've been stuck in. The other day, I was asking for change to buy coffee and a guy walked up and gave me $13 to buy myself breakfast. Today, a guy in a truck gave me $20 and said 'Merry Christmas'.”
He looked down at his drink, and with a serious voice, he went on, "Let me tell you a little about this cruel world called being homeless. It's a journey out here and the younger generation seems to think it's all fun and games. One kid who was traveling told me that it was his tradition to hitch hike. I looked at him and said, ‘Boy, this ain't no tradition’. Nobody ever says, 'After I’m finished with college I want to be a homeless person'. You don't choose this life for yourself. I once had a house, a wife and a job, and now it's all gone. Kind of like that 18-wheeler that caught on fire here the other day. Tomorrow is not promised."
After walking a short distance, O.D. caught up with his traveling partner Janine Williams, who was formerly a business owner. Williams chimed in on being homeless and said, "The tragedy of all this is that 98 percent of the time the only people who truly help the homeless is the homeless.”
Handing over his coffee to Williams, O.D. vented, “She’s right. People need to know the truth about the Salvation Army. We call them the 'Starvation Army' because they'll starve you to death. What they’re really helping is their own pockets. From a $100 donation, the homeless will only see two or three dollars. It gags me every time I see that Christmas bell ringing, because they’re taking a big chunk of those donations for themselves. Just dress up like a homeless person and try to get help from them. You’ll be shocked with how greedy they are."
Jumping back into the conversation, Williams said, "The bottom line is this, we're both getting old and we shouldn't be out here like this."
"Hey, I'm not old," interrupted O.D. "Oh hush, you're Moses," laughed Williams. Cracking a smile, O.D. concluded, “If anyone in Fort Stockton wants to sponsor me I have the best chili recipe of all time. You can’t get enough of it. Trust me, the cold weather is coming and you’ll love my chili.”