In my last post, I left you with my sadness of seeing the vagabonds being towed away behind my neighbor’s vehicle. I wanted to find out where they ended up, but, when I knocked on their door later that day, there was no answer at my neighbors house.

The following morning, I saw my neighbor come out of the house and so went over and said, “I feel like I know the first start of a story, but not the ending. Where did you end up towing them?” He said he told them he was willing to tow their car, but told them he didn’t feel safe crossing any busy main streets. They had asked to be towed to a nearby parking lot next to a local park and that is where he left them.

I asked if he knew how and why they had moved their car across the street the night before. He told me they had just pushed it over and he really didn’t know why. All I could surmise came from they had told me a couple of times. “We’ll get the car out-of-the-way as soon as we can. We don’t want to cause you any trouble.” I guess they just felt they needed to get their car away from in front of my house even thought I told them that it didn’t matter to me. Maybe they just didn’t want to be seen as a bother.

I decided to try to find them and see how they were doing. I gathered up more dog biscuits, the 50-dollar bill I had put in my pocket the day before, and a brand new tin of Almond Roca (a gift to us that neither of us should be eating). Thinking about it now, giving them these things seems kind of odd, but hell it was Christmas Eve.

On the drive over, I had decided that I would read them the riot act as I had done more than a few times when I was a Park Ranger and had to deal with broke down vehicles (and broke down people). I was going to tell them, they just couldn’t sit here in this snowy, freezing parking lot for the rest of the winter and, whether they liked it or not, I was going to call someone who helped people in their situation. If they didn’t want to let the volunteers assist them, then they could tell them so.

I drove up to the park and saw their Buick parked in the lot where the dog walkers park (lot of “parks”). It was the only vehicle and with its frosted over windows, the car looked extremely forlorn and depressing. I drove up to the car, got out and, although the dog was inside, both of them were gone.

I left and went home, but drove back a couple of hours later. On the way over, I saw that another neighbors’ truck was at his house and since he was a cop made a decision to talk to him about checking on them when he was on patrol in the area.

That never happened because when I got back to the park, the car was gone. All that was left was an old glass mug like you used to get from A&W Root Beer and a few scraps of hamburger wrappers from some fast-food place. It also seemed that where the car had been parked there was a sort of dirty stain on the packed snow—I assume it was decay and residue from the dying corpse of the car.

As I drove home, I thought about what more I could have done. I had considered taking them into my home, but my long ago law enforcement senses had said that was a bad idea. At the time, I justified not doing this because the grandkids were around during this time, their dog would have to come in and try to adjust to my dog and my golden retriever to him, I would never put my wife at risk of strangers, and there was just some, justly or not, low-level fear of doing this. I thought, I could have paid for a motel room for them, but that had not dawned on me. I could have just called the cops and let them help, but I had broached that with them and they just didn’t want that. Hell, if it was a life and death situation, I could have given them a thousand dollars to help them get out of their predicament. But I didn’t think their situation was that desperate and I know they certainly didn’t. Still, after all of this, maybe I just didn’t value these people as much as I should have and now I had missed my chance to help.

With Christmas being the next day, maybe I can be hopeful that they spent it somewhere other than in their car. They say this is a time of good tidings and maybe a miracle or two.

All of this will eventually fade from my memory (these days faster than I want), but I’m afraid it will always be a part of my “Christmas Experience” from now on. There was probably a reason this all happened, but I be damned if I know what it is.

Hell of a Christmas—Part II

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