Sample article from the December 2000 Star Beacon

Christmas Magic

by Shari Clark

Everyone was finally asleep, and it was finally quiet enough to reflect on the events which had so thoroughly changed my life as I had known it. Looking out at the beautiful lights gleaming from the city below, I wondered how everything could be so beautiful and peaceful when I was now homeless. The contrast was so strange, like being in the center of two opposite universes.

All in all, we had found a place to park the car and van quite easily, almost as if we were guided there. I was still shaken by the discovery that I was not going to win, and it did not matter to the court that I was being cheated out of thousands of dollars. All that mattered was that the man who originally owned the house had a right to either receive money from me or I would give up the property. Actually, he wanted both.

I guess he was entitled to collect, as he wasn’t the person who had collected the money from me for eight years, telling me I was buying the property. We had a contract saying this was so, but at court the judge wasn’t interested in hearing about the contract, nor the repairs that had to be made in order to make the house livable, nor anything I had to say.

"Judgment for the plaintiff," he had said. "You will vacate the premises within five days and pay $2,654.00 for back rent, court costs and attorneys’ fees." Then the judge asked the man suing me if they were still on for lunch.

Oh well, that was now water under the bridge, so to speak. We had packed up as much as we could and taken it to storage, but the cruel day still found us with much to do. The marshal came and so did the owner and his son. They went through the house and started saying, "They won’t be able to take that refrigerator, the stove, or all this other furniture. We can get quite a bit of money for the things they will have to leave."

By this time I was hysterically crying. "Let me just get my animals out of here." I was trying to move as fast as I could. A man came and started nailing the windows shut. "Please make sure all the cats are out. I don’t see three of them!"

We were told to vacate the premises now. We got into the vehicles and left. I had to wait for a check my mom was sending me, so we found a place to park for the night. At least we had most of our animals and our vehicles, which were now our home.

After the money arrived the next morning, we headed out for Chico, a college town about 35 miles away. People had told us this was a good town where folks cared and fed the homeless. I definitely needed some tender loving care about now.

So, here we were, and it felt good to be looking at the lights and hearing the silence, knowing we were safe and warm... for now. In the morning we would be able to get some help. I fell asleep.

Since it was the 20th of December, five days before Christmas, I had so many mixed feelings, I couldn’t seem to sort them all. They ranged from fear to amazement to shock to anger and back to amazement each time someone helped us and assured us it all would get better.

We found a wonderful man who would come and give us gasoline for our vehicles, who put us up in a motel for a night, so we could get our bearings. He took us to a wonderful place for breakfast, where people volunteered to feed anyone who was hungry. These wonderful people provided dinner also, five days a week. On weekends there was breakfast at a church on Saturday and dinner at the Salvation Army on Sunday. The food was excellent all three places, and that helped so much.

On the 22nd of December, we were told there was a dinner on the 24th that we could sign up for. I was expecting people lined up to get their plate of turkey and all the trimmings. This was a wonderful thing for me, as we would at least have a Christmas. As we walked in, we were seated as if we were guests in a restaurant. There were real tablecloths, real silverware, glasses and glass plates with cups and saucers. People served us while the mayor sang Christmas carols to us as we ate. The decorations were so pretty, the music was grand, and the food was excellent.

We ate until we could eat no more. Then presents were handed out to everyone. There were blankets for all. So much wonder and beauty and love I had never known before. We were even able to have a motel room for the night.

This was the one time in my life I knew I was loved. I had always been caught up in the Christmas spirit, but this year I was not the one in control. This was my gift and I was so wonderfully surprised and grateful.

May the joy of the universe fill you and fulfill you in every way. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Much love and light to you all.

Shari Clark, the daughter of Arda Golden Eagle Woman, resides in Bangor, California.

Copyright 2000 Shari Clark

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