Clyde: A fine mess you’ve got yourself into…

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2024

By Clyde

“There we sat, night after night longing for the morning, when we could again catch a glimpse of the blue beaming sky.”

— Salisbury Civil War Prisoner, 1864


“You make your bed, you lie in it.” Many a sleepless night lately, trying to find a way out of the mess we’re in. It’s not new. In the 14th century, they lived through “praedicamentum” — a predicament. Birds instinctively know how to “feather their nest,” yet unknowingly, a billion a year fly into buildings. What could they have done differently? Who could have warned them? Call it serendipitous or like our Presbyterian friends say “fatalism — God’s will.” You just step right into it, label it an accident and not even the pope can change it.

John Wesley in his diary in 1761 noted that during one of his sermons “a kind of gentleman got a little party together, and took huge pains to disturb the congregation. He hired a company of boys to shout, and made a poor man exceeding drunk, who bawled out much ribaldry and nonsense, while he himself played the French horn.”

Get me out of this situation. Sometimes, you are just stuck there and can’t leave. You could move, or go south, like Yankees, to be on committees and live at the lake. In the 1901 city directory, there were listed separately “Colored People” who lived “in the rear” on both sides of town.

Do you recognize any of your ancestors? Frances Clemons at 116 S. Lee, Samuel Cooper at 216 E. Bank, Norman Evans at 413 N. Lee, Cora Greer at 108 E. Council, Sara Hayes at 226 E. Fisher, Bertha Lynch at 210 E. Bank, Julia Miller at 128 W. Bank.

Nobody knows Mr. Hogan whose alley is named for him. Everybody can’t have a bronze plaque. Second-class citizens have built our country and keep it well-oiled and working. Forty percent of kids today don’t aspire to college. Service to our country or our community is unrewarded, a good day’s work is uncommon and hard workers are underpaid.

We do we go for help? Recent calls for help to 911, emergency medical technicians could be overheard to say to dispatch:

“Sixty-seven year old, had a migraine since Saturday.”

“Child locked herself in the bathroom.”

“Stove caught fire after breaker turned on. Be advised, a hoarder house.”

“Came from dialysis, unable to get out of car. Stage 4 cancer, not feeling well.”

“Choking on what appears to be gum.”

“Retirement center, two patients, one hit on the head with a cane.”

“Woodland Way, believe he is gone but cannot confirm same.”

“Been sick two weeks, no energy.”

“Eighty-year-old screaming with back pain.”

“Beatin’ Path to Forsaken Lane to dead end road cross streets. Having trouble getting his wife to wake up.”

“Thirty-nine year old female, caller advised she is losing it.”

“Rolling garbage can back and it started smoking and hissing.”

“Had surgery two weeks ago, also a stroke, body hurts.”

“Sixty-eight year old male, ran his wheelchair off the ramp in the garage.”

“Male in a ditch not acting normal.”

“Sixty-seven year old needs help, stuck between the bed and the wall.”

“Seventy-six year old female in the bath tub, can’t get out.”

“White male out of his mind.”

“Has a pacemaker. Wife pushed him off the porch. Now she wants him to be checked out.”

“White female approximately 5-foot-1 last seen heading into the woods.”

“Possible suicide. Fourteen-year-old daughter will be waiting out by the mailbox.”

The list is endless. Hear more on the scanner.

“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord / My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning” (Psalm 130, verses 1 and 6). Nowadays, we have Social Services, support groups and finally hospice. Until then, palliative care may help. From Latin, Pallium, a cloak used to cover or moderate the intensity. Imagine being incarcerated, home bound, severely handicapped or trapped in a life threatening situation. Making the best of a bad, perplexing or trying situation is difficult during hot summer days and humid sweltering nights. In 1877, the belief in meliorism came along to tell us to believe the world can become better and humans can help. Not many are jumping on that bandwagon still today. Where do you sit?

Exeunt omnes

Clyde is a Salisbury artist.