Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hey Y'all

I hear hey y'all on a daily basis. I only use it if it slips out, and then I feel a little guilty about it, like I've done something I know I shouldn't have. Some other gems: "I might could go to the store today." "Mmmhmmm" "I'm fixin' to leave." The proper term for any male is "bo". "You want some tea?" ~ not meaning, "would you like a hot cup of tea from a teapot", but rather "would you like a glass of cold tea with 3X the sugar of pop" I've accepted a few times and it was so sweet it gave me heartburn. I didn't know that was possible.

I had a "you know you're in Georgia when..." moment this week. I was out on a visit to see one of my guys that lives in a trailer set back off the road a ways. We were outside with his family playing baseball, when we hear this rumbling noise slowly getting louder and louder. I was puzzled until I saw an old man driving a huge backhoe come out from behind some trees. He pulled right up into the yard, turned off the engine and yelled, "whatchy'all doin' makin' all this here racket?!" Referring to us playing baseball, while his backhoe was causing the ground to rumble mere seconds ago. I have no idea who this man was. He started up his backhoe and drove away. He wasn't doing any work with it, the backhoe was simply his mode of transportation for the afternoon.

Work has been a whirlwind the past week or so, lots going on. I'm spending more and more time with my deaf clients, now that I've progressed somewhat with my sign language. I spent all morning with one woman, and I learned so much about her. She was so open and willing to share, once the communication barrier was gone. I learned all about her family, her troubles with paying her bills and her power being shut off. How she has no food. How she saw horrible, horrible things growing up. I can't even imagine... Starting Monday, I'm going to be helping her learn how to use public transportation so that she can do more on her own.

I also went to see my other deaf client this week. I met him at the Library in a small town outside of Savannah. We walked down the street to Burger King to get him some lunch, and while we were sitting there his mother stopped in to check on us while she was out running errands around town. Now, she had told me before about a deaf couple that lived in their county (there aren't many deaf people total in the area) who used to help her son, and teach him a lot. They fell out of contact a few years ago and she really wanted to reestablish a connection with them, but didn't know how to reach them. Guess who walked into Burger King, a few minutes after my clients mom? Yep. It had to be the work of God. Everything came together perfectly. I was there getting my client out and around town more, rather than sitting at home. His mother just happened to stop by, and the deaf couple just happened to go to Burger King at the same time. Without his mother there, I wouldn't have been able to communicate with them nearly as well - my signing is not great. As it happened, they exchanged contact information and said that the young man I am helping can come over to visit them anytime. They would be thrilled to help him with communicating and giving him some people to relate to. It was so cool to watch all of this come together. The mom was so visibly happy, and the deaf couple were eager to help in any way they could.

I also starting working on a life story project with a woman at the day center. She had a stroke many years ago, and has a limited vocabulary. She can think of everything she wants to say, but just can't get it out. But she will be the first to tell you, "Before, I couldn't talk! God is good, all the time!" I had to be patient while asking her questions about her life experiences. Sometimes she couldn't form any answers, and sometimes I had to do some detective work to figure out what she was trying to say. I realized though, that even if she couldn't verbalize things, I could see the memories coming back to her and making her smile. That was more important than me being able to write something down. Having said that, looking over what I came away with, I was taken aback by how much I learned about a woman who can only use a handful of phrases. I talked to Jenny (my boss) about it, and how a little patience can go a long way. She told me that one of the people in SOURCE was very skeptical about what I would be able to learn about this woman, because her speaking was so limited. Jenny responded that she'd seen me with deaf people and people who can verbalize less than this woman, and that she had confidence that I would come away with more information about this woman's life than one might think probable. It was awesome to hear these words from Jenny, that she had that confidence in me. More than anything though, I learned a lot about "being present" and taking the time to really get to know someone, even if it might appear difficult on the surface.

On a final note, way to go Irish!! We beat Pitt yesterday. ND now has a winning streak, and a favorable schedule over the next few games. Hopefully, we can make some good things happen!


  1. I believe the correct spelling is "beau." :) I have a weird obsession with southern culture. Can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

  2. Mike,
    Thanks for sharing your time with SOURCE. As a former volunteer there, 05-06, I can just see your interactions happening. Reading your stories makes me smile and remember how important it is to be present. Please give Jenny and everyone at SOURCE best wishes from me.
    Angie Carlton