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Count Your Blessings this Memorial Day

By Karl Priest 5-26-2014

Today (Memorial Day I helped a friend move from a two-bedroom public housing unit to a one-bedroom unit. The experience reminded me to count my blessings.

The friend, Rick, has had an interesting life, but to keep this report brief I will leave out a lot.

Currently he stays with a terminally ill lady most of the week caring for her for free. That is a story of Christian compassion in itself.

When he arrived at his apartment this morning a man was banging and kicking on the door of a nearby unit screaming obscenities. When I arrived I could not park my truck close to Rick’s door because a neighbor’s car with New York tag was there. It is a yellow curb, so people can only park temporarily for special reasons, but not legally park there otherwise. A young woman happened to come out to the car and I asked her if she would move it. I only needed a few feet to get in between her and another illegally parked car. She said she would have to ask her husband. I did not see her for a couple of hours and when I asked what her husband said, the answer was “No.” Rick was concerned that I even asked her, because he said people would mark anyone who they perceived as causing them trouble. That means, if not an outright physical attack it would be vandalism of a vehicle.

I grew up in public housing and it was bad, but there were a lot of residents raised in the country and during the 1920s-1930s who had traditional (conservative based) values. I stutter to think how it is not that non-traditional (liberal based) values are the rule.

I asked Rick if he had gotten to know the new neighbor who shares a hallway door. He said that he didn’t want to get to know the neighbors because most drink and use drugs. Rick is the most compassionate Christian I have even known. He gives of his meager assess freely and sometimes people take advantage of him.

When we came back for our second load two squad cars rolled up in front of another apartment in his building and three cops rushed to the door. Eventually they left.

The hallway leading to Rick’s new second-floor unit was filthy.

Rick’s belongings were modest, to say the least.

He is concerned that his apartment door only has one lock.

Count your blessings.

This move had a unique circumstance on this Memorial Day. I (a Navy vet), my son (an Army vet), and a friend of my son (a Marine vet) helped Rick (an Air force vet). Rick did two tours in Viet Nam. The second tour was to protect his brother who was in the Army. The military would not send brothers to combat zones. Rick got shrapnel in his ear going to the flight line. He went on to complete his job and did not report it. He could have had a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor and (unlike john kerry) earned it.

As I pulled out to head home, the lady whose husband refused to move his car, and a fat friend, came out of that apartment accompanied by two skinny, long-haired, thoroughly tattooed “men” and got in the car to leave. I had to bite my tongue. The two guys could never make it through one day of Boot Camp. What a contrast with Rick!

This was a memorial Memorial Day and I wanted to share it with you all.


The above was written for folks on my email list. Here, in no particular order, are some other facts about rick.

>He was a math major in college but dropped out due to emotional problems. He did not say, but it could have been war related.

>He was a knock out champion in Golden Gloves boxing.

>He worked as a coal miner.

>His wife left him and turned their daughter against him and he has never met his grandchild.

>He always worked at something from his own lawn care business to a print shop and finally in non-medical personal home care for the seriously ill.

Not posted

>He wanted a weight set, but donated his tithe instead. Someone gave him a set “by coincidence”.

>He would not take a share in his late parents’ home because he wanted other siblings to have it. They gave him his dad’s car.

>His mother caused him to lose an all-expense trip to Europe when he extended his tour in Nam. She refused to send his birth certificate. She hid his letters requesting it.

>Photo One and Photo Two of Rick in the evolutionism battle.