Zen and the Art of Homeless Shelter Maintenance

And so it happened that the 1974 classic by Robert Pirsig was sitting right there on the library shelf, the green and black binding catching my eye when I didn’t know I was looking for it.  But that’s how some of the most striking moments in life happen, isn’t it?  It took me three weeks’ […]

Throw the Bums Out!

It took me more than 65 years to bother to check out some reference to the phrase “red herring” (in other words, I just now looked).  One source cited the possible practice of using a kipper (smoked fish) to try to divert hounds from staying on the trail of a rabbit.  My own history with […]

Where Have You Gone?

Where Have You Gone, Joe Dimaggio? (Credit for and apologies to Simon and Garfunkel) Where have you gone, Devon Dominar?  We hope you’re safe, wherever you are. Imagine growing up having to come to terms with the facts that you have a major mental illness called schizophrenia and finding out that your parents adopted you.  […]

A Privilege of Class

I happened to read two different obituary notices recently that got me thinking about the Shelter and people experiencing homelessness. Richard Spinney (Dick, to us) spent some years with us on Main Street as a volunteer.  With a sense of humor drier than a martini, Dick came up with stuff that was distinct and all […]

Finding the best of us, like the times of Sputnik

It was a Friday night in October of 1957.  I was eight years old.  The “whole neighborhood” (4 or 5 families) was gathered together on our quiet street, necks craned, excited, silence interrupted by respectfully hushed questions of “Is that it?”  Eventually a small crescendo of “There it is!” and “Yes I see it too” […]

Anger is not an Investment

“Mitch” has been in his own apartment for about three months now.  To my knowledge, he’s still able to receive methadone daily as a part of the little backpack of supports that are helping keep him alive and responsible.  He’s also participating in group and individual therapy and working whenever the temp employment agency has […]

Howard

Howard moved out of his apartment today.  He was successfully placed into a residential setting that offers supports for elderly people with special needs.  The program is much better for him at this point than was the efficiency owned and operated by the Shelter.  But why put this story in print? Howard came to the […]

Holidays and Luck

It’s official!  We’ve fully entered the Picasso-esque holiday season with its cubist arrangements of gorging, restraint, clamor and thoughts of others.  Seems the older I get, the less I like loud noises and audio clutter and fast paced things—I’ll take the more reflective, thank you.  I prefer “Little Drummer Boy” over “Jingle Bell Rock.”  And […]

A Few People

“I read the news today, oh boy…” (Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, “A Day in the Life”). I read in the news today that Commissioner Mayhew (DHHS—“the Department”) was lobbying Maine’s congressional delegation for support in fighting welfare fraud, particularly regarding food stamps.  I know I see things with some bias—I have spent close to 20 years […]