I admit I am slow. I like how my daughter’s best friend puts it about my daughter, “she’s on a five minute delay.” I’m afraid the delay comes from me, poor girl. I can come up with a come back, but it takes me awhile, most times a looooong while.
I do have a lot to say. I have a lot to say about a lot of things. I tend to be quiet or send my husband out to do my bidding for me. He’s much quicker witted than I am. I think that’s why we make a good team. He keeps me balanced and quiet when I just want to run my mouth.
Usually, I send Kent in to do my talking or work for me. Twenty years ago I had my oldest two kids in soccer. It was my son’s first year and probably my daughters. Kent Jr. was four so Makala would have been seven. I kept being told how the soccer tribe needed volunteers. I tried to volunteer and was told the position I was willing to help with was for seasoned volunteers and I should just volunteer for equipment manager.
I just wanted to help, and thought it would be fun so I did become the equipment manager. A week or two into the season, Kent’s coach had me in a circle with a group of other players parents. She said, she was not able to continue to coach, as it was going to involve more time than she had planned. She asked if one of us parents would take her place. I quickly volunteered my husband. He was apprehensive at first as he hated soccer and didn’t know anything about it.
He got some loving encouragement from his wife and went on to be an awesome coach. He ended up coaching both our kids and becoming the President of the Soccer Tribe. I laughed about that for quite some time after being told I didn’t have the experience to volunteer. A year later, we were running the entire thing. Hubby went to training conferences and learned all he could. He even led one of his teams years later to a championship.
The next bandwagon I got hubby on didn’t turn out so well. I got him to caucus for the first time in 2008. After caucusing, we thought it would be a great learning opportunity for our oldest daughter to go to convention. Kent and our daughter, Makala were going to go. The precinct captain came to collect our money for them to go. He mentioned that the person holding the representative office was going unchallenged. He said, “we need some one who knows a lot of people and has a lot of money. ” I laughed and said, “we know a lot of people.” Referring to an earlier conversation I’d had with my dad about him being in Kansas City and saw a company truck with Iowa Warren County plates. He had wondered if Kent knew them as he seemed to know everyone. I had told him, “yes, he knows them.” He said, “man, he knows everyone.” The rest of that story is history, although I refuse to believe its over.
Kent and I have always joked that I was Moses and he was my Aaron. Not that we have or ever had that influence, but that he was my mouthpiece. That was the only context in which we thought of ourselves, and I want to make that clear.
I have come to find that the correctional officers and a few spouses of other prisoners are reading my blog. This on first hand is a bit disturbing, as I have not been sending Kent my blog posts because I know everything I write is being read. So when I was told that they are still reading it I’m feeling a bit spied on. Its kinda creepy in a way because I’m not in prison, so what business is my blog of theirs? I realize its a public blog, but for them to let my hubby know they read it is weird. Got that guys and gals….its weird.
On the other hand the spouses reading it is intimidating as I know there are many people there that are much better educated than I am. I can say whats on my mind. I can correct my husbands and children’s grammar. I can even correct their papers and home school them to the best of my ability. But, there is always someone better. Someone smarter, someone quicker and someone more polished. I don’t know why, but I have to point out when I see something wrong. When I see an injustice, I have to say it. I happen to be a black and white person despite trying to be gray at times.
I am for sure not politically correct. I grew up in the mid west on a mid west farm singing to the bulls every night as I fed them. I only sang to the bulls, because I was alone and no one could hear me. I would be outspoken in a quiet sense, if one could be quietly outspoken…
I went for a visit a few weeks ago with Kent. The two youngest girls, Noah and I made the trip over. We grabbed the camper and found a spot, despite it being a holiday weekend. We were able to stay a couple nights pretty stress free. Friday evening I was able to surprise Kent and see him for an hour. He was totally surprised as I had told him I wouldn’t be there until Saturday afternoon. I left the three kids (Noah is almost 16) to set up camp and rushed to see him.
Kent was so happy to see me that he seemed to forget his circumstances for a time. The next day his “prison self” emerged. This person is not one I enjoy. He tells me about all the problems going on. Coming from the position he was in, I believe, makes him more aware of the injustices that are happening on the “inside.” He tells me of the different things the inmates are in for. The majority of them are on the downside of their time. They have been on the “inside” for years. They have a few years left relative to their sentence so they have been made eligible to be in a camp. There are not many that were sentenced to such short sentences as Kent was.
They have a lot of people on the downside of their sentences that are in for drugs. There are quite a few who are in for things such as identity theft or fraud and just a couple or maybe even two that are in for offenses while holding public office. Anyway, I see first hand how the government works.
You find yourself in a situation in which you’re being threatened and coerced. If you don’t cooperate with these threats the coercion may come true. So you make a deal. Then you go in front of a judge and they ask you when you plead, have you been bribed, coerced or threatened? You are bribed, coerced or threatened to give you answer, so you act in good minion behavior and say “no.”
This is literally the scenario that we found ourselves in. My husband was pleading guilty in a court of law, because they threatened that his wife, “me” would be charged if he didn’t cooperate. Our attorney advised us that the threats would be unfounded, but did he want his wife to go through the legal process? And we didn’t have the cash to defend both of us. So the story goes…
I sit with Kent for hours upon hours for our visits. I long to be with my husband, but in this setting its torture for an introvert such as myself. I sit and constantly pick at whatever needs picked at or I bite the cuticles of my nails. I fidget, despite my add medication, not knowing what to do with myself or knowing how to handle his mood changes. Not knowing how to handle the observations of the prison workers and wondering which ones are “spying” on me.
I’m told that the Super Max Prison is set to start getting prisoners in the next couple of weeks. This should be good as there are over two hundred guards for 120 inmates that are pretty self sufficient. The guard to inmate ratio is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money at this point. And while I’m pointing out wasting money its a total waste of money having these hundreds of inmates in camps such as these. If they are reliable enough to be in a facility that they can at anytime walk off the premises they should be able to be trusted to be under house arrest. And that would save millions of dollars.
Then there are inmates that have been there for so long and really want to improve their lives. One inmate from Honduras that is in with Kent, was so excited to learn English as his second language in prison. Then he found out the reality. Our government doesn’t want to teach him English, the prison just wants the extra money they receive to act like they are teaching English. He goes to a class once every three weeks. And they teach from a Walking Dead Comic strip. I’ve been told that cartoons are an excellent way to teach English, but it can’t be every few weeks. It has to be on a regular basis. So I am sending some home schooling curriculum for Kent to work on with him.
Another inmate is from the inner city of Chicago. He’s in for being a drug dealer. He sits and reads the dictionary all day long. He told my husband he wishes he had his vocabulary. I had to laugh out loud when Kent shared that with me, because my husband was raised by parents from the farm in the back woods. Sorry all you relatives of Kents still living down there in Missouri, but proper English was not a strong suite. A strong suite they do have though is caring about other people and that is way more important than they way they speak. My point is, Kent told this man you need to move your family out of Chicago, but this is all this man knows.
One more thing and I will be done with my rant. Ministry…there are no ministries coming into this prison. How many prisons are there no ministries. No one comes to visit these men on a regular basis to teach them anything. They truly are forgotten and it breaks my heart. I realize that this is why God told me Prison was in my future. He told me this at least twenty years ago, I only shared that in the past with two people. I know people hate when people say, “God told me.” It was not an audible voice, it was just a “knowing.” And I have to believe sometimes God does just let us “know.” Had I grown and tried to mature in that “knowing,” I may have been able to avoid my husband actually going to prison and been able to make a difference some other way. But God knew and I know I am in his hands.
As I write all of this, I hope that I am not being conceited in that I hope God will bring good out of the tragedy that has happened in my life. I am holding on to his promise that he will complete the work he began in my life. And that all will turn out according to his purpose. Glory be to Our Father in Heaven. Amen!!