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Sunday, June 27, 2004

 

York

On the way out of Aurora, I passed a little girl out riding her bicycle. For some reason she asked my if I liked nature; and I answered with a somewhat tentative nature. She said "I don't. Not really". I thought that was a bit sad; childhood is the best time to learn that kind of enjoyment. There wasn't much I could say to that, so I went on.

I only got a few miles out of town before I got just too tired to go on, so I found a place and settled in for the night. Got up late the next morning, and went on through the smallish town of Hampton, in Hamilton County, where I was stopped by another County Sheriff's deputy. I went on into the next county, where before long I was stopped again, this time by a York deputy. He offered me a ride *through* the county, to the other side, apparently in accordance with department policy toward transients. I declined this invitation to move on through without stopping, and spent the next several miles pondering the attitudes of society toward transients, vagrants, and the homeless. If every square foot of land is already owned by someone jealous of its use, what room is there for those who have no place of their own?

I'm aware that homelessness has been an increasing problem in society since about the late 1970s. Many of the homeless do have more than their fair share of problems with drugs, alcohol, and mental illness of one kind or other. But the necessities and conveniences of life, such as cleanliness and grooming, that most of us take for granted demand considerable attention when does not have reliable shelter or transportation.
Then, too, I find that the very fact that I am a stranger with a backpack automatically makes many people suspicious: Even though I know myself to be harmless, it doesn't show on sight.

I got past another small town, Bradshaw, and a Hispanic family offered a ride the rest of the way into York. I stayed in one of the parks overnight, and was greeted by a trio of high school girls. I stopped to chat with them for a while, and they offered to buy me a hamburger (a couple of them) and a drink, which I accepted. (graciously, I hope). I woke up rested and in time to change clothes and go to Church.
York has a small branch which meets in a rented suite downtown; attendance was a little bit low, since not all the people who regularly attend were there, but those who were were friendly, although they seemed to take it for granted that I would be OK. Today was the anniversary of the death of Joseph Smith, so the talks dealt on that theme. They are a little bit behind schedule on their lessons, so we discussed the ministry of Abinadi (Mosiah 12-17 in the Book of Mormon), and for the Priesthood lesson, spiritual and temporal self-reliance.

There is a small college here in York I would like to visit, and I need to wash clothes, so I expect to stay here tomorrow and then head for Seward on Tuesday.


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