MEMORY OF EGAN Read Count : 11

Category : Books-Non-Fiction

Sub Category : Biography
New to being homeless I walked the streets near downtown in Eugene.   That winter had come fast,  and the cold was the kind that rips through you.   I was freezing and tired,  finding no shelter I walked with my belongings until I could not feel my feet or my face.   I saw a light on a front porch stoop and heard voices, as I approached a guy said Hey sister you look freezing ! My face too Frozen to talk I nodded. He motioned for me to come up... his friend was telling me not to be afraid, that I would be safe there with them and he opened up his sleeping bag telling me that I'd better get in and warm up.  So I did, I was so tired that the normal thought process of being wary to climb into a sleeping bag with a complete stranger in the middle of the night on the streets of Eugene, somehow escaped me.   I slept- right next to that man- in his sleeping bag.   I could hear him and his buddy talking a little bit and he read out of a paperback novel while his friend lay there listening, drinking his beer.   sometime during the night I was awoken by shaking and cold water.  As I came to, I saw the friend with his hand on the man's shoulder,  steadying him as he tried to drink some water.  A couple of minutes went by, the convulsing stopped.  They were calm, and  apologized for waking me,  and for spilling water on me.  

    Then I listened to those men... They told  me about  why they chose to live this way.   How they were both victims of weapons testing and other drugs while in service with the US Military.   The cruel things they had endured left one-man permanently Afflicted with violent uncontrollable Tremors and a  speech impediment.  The other man had decided he would rather live on the streets happy with his buddy drinking beer than to live a conservative or normal life.  He had a pretty strong aversion to mainstream Society.  Ultimately they were happy just being in the moment. 
  Early in the morning I could see their bedrolls rolled tight. I helped them clean and tidy the steps we picked up cigarette butts and swept the porch. They both proudly wore  hats that displayed  the name of the business,  a local tattoo shop. The owner had made them official night Watchman and they were in charge of having the porch ready for business every morning.  They were both pretty proud of that!. After the porch was spic and span they invited me to breakfast. We went to a little store where the girl at the counter knew them by name, and she served us biscuits and gravy.  We talked over breakfast I thank them for their kindness and smiled... as I  walked away I could hear the sound of beer cans opening and some good-natured ribbing.
   I went on to get a job, become housed ,and did not give  much more thought about that night... until one day a couple of years later.  I saw in  the newspaper a headline about a man freezing to death on the streets of Eugene.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized who it was.  On the next page was a picture of him in military Garb,  younger,  handsome.  They had a flag folding ceremony for him.  They honored him in death.

 But where was his honor in life?  
his honor was in his heart. 
 He never needed anyone to tell him that he was a hero, but I am sure now that he is an angel. 
  Thank you for saving my life  Tommy Egan I know you lived and died the way that you wanted to.  
Homeless, and happy on the streets of Eugene. 
A true story
    By: Leah Veach.

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  • Dec 17, 2020

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