There was a time a few years back when I didn’t have a safe place to sleep. My 2nd husband and I were homeless. We had no place to go, we were on the street. My 2nd husband has a mental illness which resulted in both of us being homeless for five days. Regardless of how we ended up in the predicament, it was a learning experience for me. I had never been homeless before and I hope I am never homeless again but I had a lot to be thankful for. We were on the border of Washington and Idaho and we were very lucky. I had lost my employment but we were lucky because he had Social Security payments. We had something to look forward to. He was resourceful and he had a truck. We used what little gas we had to find a place to camp in Washington right off the river. Our first night was rough because we didn’t have a tent and some people went there to drink and made lots of noise. We didn’t get much sleep that night. The next night we met some people who were camping under the best spot under the trees and they needed to eat good food. They were eating cold can food. We had a small box of food, a cast iron skillet and camping coffee pot with the fixings for coffee.

We didn’t have much but we made a campfire that day and I made coffee and some food. They shared their camp spot and there was an extra tent that we were able to stay in. We had sleeping bags so we were lucky that we now had a tent and a sleeping bag and I could cook over a campfire. We went to the local food bank and got some more food, enough to feed them and us for a week. There were several people who passed through. There was a young couple with a little boy about 10 years old. None of us had a fishing license but the boy was young enough to fish without one. We all pulled our resources together. The boy was proficient at catching fish and my 2nd husband was proficient at cleaning them and I am proficient at cooking them. Together we fed the entire group. We were right off the river so we had a place to bath and it was summer so the river was warm and we could get clean. Wash our bodies and our hair. We were lucky that we could groom ourselves and when we had to go into town to apply for emergency benefits and for my 2nd husband to cash his check; no one could tell we have been homeless for a week.

We were lucky because most homeless folks don’t have it so good. Although I was grateful for the hotel room that helped me gain employment because I now had a phone, a shower and a soft place to sleep, I was thankful that my week of being on the street was so comfortable. Sure there were two bees nests at the campsite and the trees were so infested with spiders that we had to run for cover at dusk because they would all fall from the trees above us. It wasn’t great or absolutely fun but we definitely had it good for being homeless. We ate good food and the tent was a Blessing. We left the tent for others who are passing through to use. It may not be perfect but it did keep most of the bugs off of us throughout the night. We met a lot of interesting people being out there on the river and it was a great learning experience. It taught me to see my blessings and to be thankful for what I have. Everyday I take a hot shower I am thankful and every night I sleep in a soft bed I am thankful. I am thankful that I have a door to lock and the internet to use. Every meal I eat I am thankful for the food I have because I know in a heartbeat it can all be taken away. For those five days I was homeless and thankful.

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