Category Archives: Arhonda Luman

Children Don’t Belong in Plastic Bags! by Arhonda Luman

It was a day like any other. I was at work styling hair and giggling with my customers, until one man, who was patiently awaiting a haircut, remarked “OH! That scared me!”

He had all my attention. I jerked my head around so quickly it nearly spun off my shoulders. His face was ashen, but a smile slowly appeared.

He was not the type of man to be easily scared. I tried not to panic. Cautiously, I asked him, “What happened?”

 

He grinned a bit more but the smile wasn’t quite to his eyes yet. He was trying to recover his senses. mannequin  Quiet stalked the room like a lion does it prey. Every eye was upon him.  The room full of people waited for his response.

He looked into the room next to where I work and said, a little sheepishly, “I thought there was a child in that plastic bag on the floor.”

I had to go look at the scene because I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. When I entered the room, I knew what had happened.  The child wasn’t a child at all. It was a mannequin head that is used for practice. It had been packed into a bag to take to State Board when my granddaughter went to test for her license.  My little boys, who are akin to a hurricane, had made a spin through the room and knocked it off the table without my knowing. Ha!  It was funny, but I couldn’t laugh.  I had seen the look in my customer’s eye and the stress on his face. He couldn’t believe I would have a child in a plastic bag, but his eyes saw something different. His emotions were torn asunder trying to decide what he should do. Clearly, if there had been a child in the bag, he would have contacted child protective services as fast as his fingers could dial. And he should have if that were the case.

I forgot this incident. It blended into the obscurity of a sea of episodes that one accumulates over a lifetime. Then, yesterday, I was playing on Facebook, and something drew my eye to a video. It was about a homeless man being a hero. It drew my attention as sure as it was a magnet and my eyes were steel. As I watched it,  everything stopped around me. There was no sound, only the caption below.  I watched in horror as the video revealed what is missing in the hearts of many people.

The city was a large one.  The day was frigid. Busy people brusquely walked to and fro. Some were shopping, others were trying to get to work. The little boy stood on the edge of the sidewalk holding a black plastic bag. He was begging.

I leaned closer to my computer screen. Bile rose in my throat as I saw people, waltz by him as if they could only dance to their own music. So lost in themselves, they could not hear the sound of the little boy’s distress. They were all bundled up for the day in their warm coats, hats, and gloves.  Gucci shoes clicked on the concrete. Men glanced furtively at their Rolex watches.  They never even noticed the boy wearing a t-shirt in freezing weather.

My mind furiously searched for answers to a thousand questions. Was this video staged? Why isn’t someone helping?  Can’t someone give him some warm cocoa? Why doesn’t someone go to a thrift store and buy him a jacket?  Who is holding the blasted camera??

Of course, it was a surveillance camera, In my distress, I almost missed that nugget of knowledge.

homeless-in-americaI screamed at the monitor screen, “Help him!”

The boy stood in the cold for over an hour. When he could not stand the cold any longer. He climbed into the large black plastic bag to shield himself from the wind. Only his head and shoulders were visible. Hundreds of people passed him. Still, no one offered help.

“Why?” I didn’t know. I cried.

After two hours, a homeless man approached the little boy. He sat him up so that he could look into his eyes. He removed his coat and placed it around the child. Though I couldn’t hear what he said, his actions spoke volumes. The coat was symbolic. By giving it, he offered the boy hope.

Again, I had questions. Why did the homeless man wait so long?  I shuddered. The sobering clutches of reality made its grand entrance.  I knew what he had been wrestling with in his soul. He had a front row seat in the arena of humanity and witnessed first hand, his own fate. If he gave up his own coat in the freezing temperatures, it would likely mean his death. It was obvious to him, anyone who did not have enough compassion to help a child, would never find enough in their hearts to help a grown man.

I was ashamed.

Have we become a nation that can ignore the cry of the little children? We, who live in the land of milk and honey, can we not spare a cup for the poor and desolate?  What are we to become if our bowels of compassion are locked so tight that all that is good in us dies.

Kindness is one of the cheapest commodities available. There is no reason it cannot be freely given. The homeless man set an example for us all. He, who used the frigid sidewalks,  to teach by example,  gave all he had, himself.  In so doing, he gave hope and encouragement to those not as fortunate as he. He might not have a college education or drive a luxury vehicle. He might not own anything but the clothes on his back, but he jeopardized his life to save a child. Even he knows, children do not belong in garbage bags!

 

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Halloween, then and now! By Arhonda Luman (based on true events)

The excitement was thick enough in the air, it was almost smothering to my mom and aunt. bunch-of-kids-and-old-houseNine kids were scurrying about trying to get their chores done. It was a special day! It was Halloween, and that meant “Candy!”   The kids could almost taste it. Having candy was a rare treat in those days. It took a massive amount of work and ingenuity to feed a family of seven, and now there were twelve. We always had plenty to eat, but we ate a lot of beans and water gravy.

Aunt Dee and my mom did not know if they could survive the barrage of questions that were fired at them. Those questions were like a machine gun, pelting them from all directions. They didn’t have time to answer one before another one was asked!

“Is it time to go yet?”

“Are we ready?”

“Is it going to be scary?”

“Can I sit in the back?”

Aunt Dee and mom took it good-naturedly. After all, they had  a total of  nine children, when you added them together, and believe me when I say, “We were together!”  All nine of we children slept in the same bedroom. That room always sounded like a barnyard fullgoats-playing of goats, jumping and running and playing.  We spent a lot of time outside because of the amount of energy we spent having fun! Oh, don’t get me wrong, there was a few hair pulling and knuckle knocking incidents too, but when all the anger left, we all loved each other very much.

We lived in a house that was barely habitable but my mother decorated it with so much love; everyone wanted to come.  Mom had five children. I was the oldest and at the time had just turned twelve years old. Her youngest was four years old. Aunt Dee had four boys ranging from six years old to a baby in diapers. Well actually, she had two in diapers.

Aunt Dee was having some hard times, and my mother invited her to stay with us until things straightened out. It required a truckload of patience on everyone’s part, but we made it work.

It was cold as ice,  the day of Halloween.  Mom saved her brown paper grocery sacks for old-pickupeverything from wallpaper to kindling. This time, they were used to collect the candy. Mom and Aunt Dee put all our coats on us and put socks on our hands for gloves. They set us larger children in the back of our pick-up with our backs to the cab and set the smaller children in front of us so we could hold them while we drove five miles into town. It was also warmer on all of us to snuggle together. The two babies rode in the front with the adults, and away we went to trick.

Every time we pulled up in front of a house, it looked like the owners were invaded. Seven little kids clamored over the side and tailgate of the pickup and raced each other to the front door. Everyone wanted to be first. Not because they were greedy, but because it

candy was a game and all in fun. We all knew when we collected all the loot; it’d go into a community bowl at home. Mom could make it last longer if she budgeted it, so all of us were ok with that!

It was so cold, our noses were running and our fingers were numb but we didn’t’ want to stop. Halloween only came once a year!  I carried the sacks for some of the smaller ones and let them warm in the truck  for a while, but they could not stand missing the excitement.  They jumped out and ran with us.

Too soon the night was over. On the ride home, the sun had gone down and the temperatures dropped even more. It was a cold ride home but we looked forward to pouring the candy in the big bowl to see how much there was!  We got to pick our favorite piece. I spied a popcorn ball right away. My oh my was that a wonderful thing! Homemade cookies and caramel apples lined the bowl.

I’ll be taking my grandchildren tonight. I will take them to something called a safe house, so they will not be served a dose of meanness. The time has passed when caramel apples and popcorn balls will be served. Now, only candy that is unopened in its original wrapper is acceptable.  The kids don’t know the difference, but I remember.

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Mythical Truth by Arhonda Luman

unicornWe live in the day of instant knowledge. The internet, with a tap of a button, can search for anything you can imagine, and plenty of things that are unimaginable. One can search  until they are blue in the face, and still, have a problem finding truth. Truth seems to be as elusive as a unicorn.

It has been said, that knowledge is the answer to truth. The problem   with that statement is, knowledge  fails to provide us with a mental grasp of every topic that can be thought of,  from religion to politics and believe it or not, every day living.

We base our truths on our heritage, environment, education, life experiences and probably a few more factors I missed.

In the name of truth, people on opposite sides have been killing each other  since the beginning of time. All of whom believe in their view of truth.

Oh, I know from personal experience that many of us think we are living in truth. I’m the first to be guilty of that.

When I was a young woman, I believed myself, to be honest. When someone who knew me asked a question, they knew they better have their loins girded up because I would tell them the truth. As an old woman, I have come to believe that the truth is; there are many truths to any given situation. As a result of that, now I can only say, “My answer is my truth.”

Every day of our life is a revelation that will eventually lead us closer to the truth. Sometimes I miss the interpretation because of being busy, or maybe I rob myself from enlightenment because of lethargy or denial, but it is ever-present and will reveal itself a little at a time to those who seek it. There are those who are exempt from learning. They are like the potatoes in granny’s bin, they have eyes but cannot see.

I’d like to share a couple of “aha!” moments that happened in my personal life that might give credence, and maybe a bit of sanity, to this muse. Perhaps it will aid someone else in their search for truth!cherries

One day a couple of weeks ago, I poured ice from a local establishment into my cup to make myself a soda. Just like I do every day,  I poured the soda over it. When I took a drink,
I shuddered. It tasted like it was flavored with cherry or some other fruit. It wasn’t awful, but it was not what I thought I was getting. My first thought was to check the can of soda to see if I accidentally picked up one with cherry flavor. To my amazement, it was not cherry flavored. My next thought was that the Dr. Pepper company had “Improved,” the taste again. I was aggravated and poured it out.

A few days later, the same scenario happened. This time, one of my children got the ice and I thought, they must have bumped the cherry button on the soda machine. I rolled my eyes and threw that concoction out. Three times this happened. Finally, I was determined to search for the truth. I opened my own refrigerator; a dorm sized one that I usually only keep soda and ice in, and discovered that my husband had brought me a bag of apples and plums as a gift. He did not tell me he did that, so I hadn’t discovered it. I blamed several entities, but the fault lay on my doorstep.

You would think I would have learned a valuable lesson. Not so. It wasn’t two days later that I was driving down a street and saw a house where someone had planted trees in their tiny front yard. The trees were cute last year, this year they are almost touching. I gasped.

Totally in disbelief, I asked myself out loud, “Why do people plant trees that close together. Don’t they know they grow? It won’t be long, and their yard will look horrible.!”

Exasperated I turned down the street my shop was on, and when I started to turn in, I saw a pile of garbage and limbs in my yard where my husband was clipping branches.  My yard looked horrible. Shame encompassed me like a vice. Again, I gave away blame, but I was more guilty than they were.

Food for thought.

In my quest for a deeper meaning, I did a search on, “Fault line.”  I was surprised but not shocked at the definition.

 

 

 

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If that was my child… by Arhonda Luman

I’d like to take that kid for a week. He would come home different.  If she would bust his rear end, he would not do that.  That is a horrible child and those are terrible parents!major-payne

Ever been guilty of saying or thinking those things about a child you saw out of control in Walmart or when you go out to eat? Maybe you’ve heard stories about the monster children at school who terrorizes other children. Did you blame the parents?  If so, shame on you and YES, shame on me because I admit to being guilty on all accounts.

While I will give credence to the fact that some children misbehave because they are not disciplined, I will also play the devils’ advocate and say, none of us are qualified to make judgements about other people’s children as to whether or not the child needs a spanking. The first reaction of seeing a child lying on the floor in the store, banging their heads on the concrete, screaming to the top of their lungs, not only makes people cringe, but it also sends a barrage of negative thoughts and emotions pulsing through their minds. I know this to be true. I have quickly exited stores and restaurants to get away from the chaos.

The shameful thing about this, is that I never considered the child had been reduced to that state because they were overwhelmed too.  I should hatempertantrumsve tuned in to a much larger problem than just a tantrum. Why would a child have that violent of a reaction to being told they could not have a toy or a candy bar?  There has never been a candy bar created that is good enough to injure oneself for.

 

Sometimes it is difficult to make a judgement call for your own child. When our babies are born, they do not come with an instruction booklet. If they did, each child would have to have their own because no two children are exactly the same.

\We are so proud and protective of them when they are born. How could anyone know, that our child would be broken when it was born? How could we even imagine they would be ostracized, made fun oppositional defiantof, banned from social events and yes, discarded by the very people who should be able to help? Rarely is the child praised for being wonderful or sweet. It is those intense moments they are remembered for.

I have experienced this within my own famiy. Well meaning people give me their advice on how to *fix* the problem. My parenting skills, or lack there of, are always being scrutinized. I have suffered through a constant barrage of posts on “Parenting done badly!” on social media and winced with every arrow that was shot in the form of an amen or a signature. I personally have been held accountable for the things they have done or not done and I’m almost ok with that. I totally get it! The first responsibility lies with me as a parent to find them help; however  there is so much more to it than that and help isn’t delivered under my pillow by the tooth fairy. Help and understanding is as illusive as a unicorn.  Most times help is achieved only, by blood sweat and tears.   There are those sweet moments though when someone actually *helps*.

As one who succumbs to being a drama queen to get a point across, I must ask this question, how many of you would spank a child to heal it from cancer?  spankingI daresay, none. With that being said, a spanking does not fix *broken* no matter the diagnosis.

If I may be presumptous for one more moment, I would like to encourage  you, the next time you see a mother who has a child in crisis, offer to help her open the door or push her basket of groceries or just smile at her and say something encouraging. She likely has little of that and her load is heavy. (and don’t be surprised if she wonders if there is an ulterior motive, I can assure you, she has not been offered support very many times by the people who are close much less strangers!.

I am enclosing information some of you might find enlightening and/or needful.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_processing_disorder

http://www.parents.com/health/kids-who-feel-too-much/

http://www.webmd.com/children/sensory-processing-disorder#1

http://www.sensoryprocessingdisorderparentsupport.com/

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When life overpowers Death by Arhonda Luman

When I was a child, I  found a little bird that had fallen, or was pushed, from its nest.  It’s skin was so thin and transparent, I could see its tiny heart pulse every time it beat. It’s miniscule eyelids were so thin, I could almost see through them. I walked gingerly into the house with it cradled in my hand. I was trying  to protect it. Being the natural born caregiver that I am, I told my mother I was going to save its life. My innocence had not allowed me to know, it was not always in my power to do that.baby bird

Life on the farm exposed me to many harsh realities, some of which, were lessons about the circle of life, specifically,  birth and death. I learned at an early age, that no matter how sincere I was, or how much I truly wanted something to live, even if I cried all day and night, sometimes the answer was no. . . .

For nearly nine months I had looked forward to my fourth grandchild. When my daughter went into labor, we were thrilled. He was nearly here. July 14, 1998, my grandson Mark, fought his way into this world.  Of course it was love at first sight and already my heart had wrapped its loving  arms tightly around him. Perhaps, I even loved him harder for that moment, because I knew it was possible, he might not stay with me. Life had taught me to give him all the love I could, in the time we had, because there is no promise of another minute for any of us. baby in incubator

As I helplessly watched his chest convulse, trying to gather enough oxygen to keep him alive, then quiver in an attempt to expel it.  I remembered the little bird. Their noses seemed to be cut from the same mold. They were sharp and long because  they were so gangly. His little lips did not look like they were big enough to accommodate a nipple. He was so tiny and frail, he looked like earth was just a place to visit but could never be his home.

I didn’t get to hold him. He was too weak and could not come out of the incubator. He needed a sterile environment.  One bad germ could be the difference in life and death for him. I promised him through teary eyes that when he got better, I would make up for lost time and hug and kiss him till he begged me to stop. Then, the helicopter took him away.  I ran to the whelicopterindow to watch the helicopter, carrying my precious cargo,  rise into the air and turn its nose to its destination.

That baby had a fighting spirit! He did the most courageous thing, he spent a couple of weeks in the neonatal unit at children’s hospital and decided to come home to us.

Sometimes, the answer is yes!

I’ll be telling a little more about his miraculous life in future posts! Watch for them!

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