Meet the Humans of the Keys

Meet the Humans of the Keys

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Jack Enslow ~Update~

HOK final update for a while on ~Jack Raymond Enslow, Jr. ~ Born 8/31/1940, Chicago, Illinois, Marine, Shopkeeper, Machinist, Fisherman, Feeder of Feral Cats~

"As most of you know Jack moved in his RV Friday afternoon. He was so happy the first three days and reveled in taking hot showers. He told me that was his favorite part.

Sunday afternoon he rode his bike down to the shopping center to feed his beloved cats. I was at Dillons watching football when he arrived. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon I think.

He was showing everyone his tricycle, tooting the horn and laughing and talking like I had never seen him do.

Late in the afternoon he was still there. Yesterday morning he was still there. When I went to lunch at Dillons, he was still there. I sat and talked to him for a while and he was hot and tired and said he had slept there. I didn't ask him why, I just listened.

As I was leaving, he asked me if I could do something for him and I said, yes, of course.

He said, " I got some more of my things out from under the bridge and I wonder if you could drive me home to take all of it, so after I feed the cats in the back, I can just ride home and not have to haul all of those bags."

I pulled the car up and he loaded his things. He asked me to drive slow. He asked me where that lime place was that was his landmark to cross the highway and head home and it dawned on me. He didn't know how to go home or at least wasn't absolutely sure how to get there. That's why he had been on the bench for over 24 hours.

I carefully pointed out all the landmarks for his turn home and we unloaded his things and I took him back to the bench.

He talked all the way back again. He said that if he got more organized maybe he could actually have a life and do things besides feed cats. We talked about all the possibilities. Simple things like finishing up feeding the cats in the daylight hours so he could go home and sleep and eat. We talked about the upcoming Caring for Cats venture and how they could work with him on cat feeders and other things to lighten his load and shorten the amount of hours and locations it took him to feed the cats. He said that'd be good, really good.

He asked me if I would have time to go over some of the gadgets in the RV tomorrow. Twenty years ago when he went outside there were only simple knobs on things and now everything is digital.

It hit me all at once why he had resisted this move even though he wanted it. He did want to get out from under the bridge, but, he was afraid he could not succeed inside. It was fear of the unknown. He was afraid that he couldn't operate the things in the RV. He was afraid of traffic and the tricycle. He was afraid he couldn't do it.

I would have felt the very same way under the circumstances. For the first time I really thought about how it would be to live outside without electricity, or plumbing, or TV, or radios or anything for almost twenty years and suddenly move in a place that had all those things.

I finally got it and was so ashamed for having gotten frustrated with him.

So, I will hang with him until everything becomes natural and normal to him living inside.

I was coming home from a business meeting last night about 6:30 and there he was whizzing north on the bike path. He was passing Snappers. I went to the Key lime gift place, pulled off and waited for him.

When he saw me standing there, his face lit up. He asked me, "Are you waiting for me?"

HOK: "Yes, I am. Follow me. And we made our way across US 1, to his home."

HOK: " I sat in the chair and talked with him while he locked up the bike and secured things outside."

Jack: "Well, ok, I'm going in now to shower and all, and have a cup of coffee and something to eat. No more cats today."

HOK: "I remembered how it all started on that bench all those weeks ago. I suddenly remembered what he said in the beginning."

Jack: those weeks ago: "I try to imagine what it will be like to go inside a home, lock the door, take a shower, sleep in a bed, and make a fresh cup of coffee. It'll be a game changer."

Jack: "I made it didn't I? It was easy and now here I am, home."

HOK: "I couldn't get words to come out, so I just hugged him and told him, I'll see you tomorrow."

Jack: "Sure thing, and thanks about, well thanks."

HOK: "I heard the lock click, the simple act he had longed for, as he went inside, and my heart soared for Jack Raymond Enslow as I drove away."

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