Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To the Rescue!

Meet Frankie: Eagle Scout, high school graduate, son. Always a nature lover, he's the one you want to be with if you are lost in the woods.  Not that I'd actually sleep in a shelter he'd built from sticks, but he has an innate sense of things that I trust.  When he was young we'd walk together on the trail that runs through the woods beyond the orchard.  He'd listen to my prattle about nature spirits, fairies and legends as long as he could carry his latest self-crafted spear.  (The day his spear was tipped with a twine-fastened shard of pottery I had a feeling our walks wouldn't last much longer. I was right.) 

A hopeful Frankie.
During his last year at school it somehow got into his head that the Job Corps might be a good path for him to take.  Now the Job Corps, which is a government program, is supposed to offer training in various careers in centers all over the US.  It operates in a para-military fashion, from sending out recruiters and giving free transportation to the recruits, to the barracks-like living arrangement in the centers.  Frankie ended up in a center in Kentucky.  He left in early August; it was his first plane ride.  He was hopeful.  We were all hopeful.

Unfortunately, all of the bad things you hear about government programs, or even the Job Corps itself seemed to be coming to pass, fairly quickly once he got down there.  In our first couple of conversations I found out he was not allowed to have a pen to drop me a line or two on the prestamped, preaddressed post cards I'd sent along, because a pen could be used as a weapon!  And they don't mean that prosaically!

Believe it or not, the reports got worse each time we talked, and we haven't been able to talk that often!  Maybe five times in all.  If he could, he'd borrow someones cell phone to call me so I wouldn't have to call the barracks where he would have to talk within earshot of someone else.  They keep putting off the training; he is basically spinning his wheels down there.  He's frustrated as all get out and says he thinks they try to put people off so they end up staying for a year or more.  At first he said he'd stick it out until Christmas and see how things were going, if they were moving along at all.  But then other things happened.

 The worse thing that has happened to Frankie is really too much.  He has been bitten four times-- four times -- by what might be brown recluse spiders, while he slept in his bunk!  The first time he was bitten so badly he now has a hole where the infection was.  I can't think about it...  He was bit just last week for the fourth time.  He said this time he raised hell and they gave him three big shots.  How nice of them to take care of my son!  If I could get him right this minute I would.

So, before any of this, Karen and I planned to go visit Frankie at the center after our workshop in West Virginia.  He was excited about us coming and we were planning on getting him for the day.  The last time we talked he asked if we were still coming down.  I said we were, and that unless he was crazy now, we were going to bring him home with us.  He said he needs the week or so to get things taken care of and he'll be ready to leave with us the minute we pull up.  Now I can only hope and pray he stays safe until we get there!

All of us here are impatient.  We want him home now!  We can't wait to hear all the noise that follows Frankie through his day: his singing, his mandolin, his stomping big feet.  He makes us laugh and we've missed him so.  And just so you know I'm not painting him as perfect, I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures of him. :)
And your little dog, too!

1 comment:

  1. Has he told them yet that he is going home?
    I won't relax until you have him in the vehicle and have driven out the drive and onto a "real" road!