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Dogwood Ramblings

If you aren’t totally put off by last week’s column allow me to share another memory tidbit from my prison work in California in the 1970’s.

Part of the time at this prison I worked in the psychiatric unit which housed 65 women in individual cells and had a fully functional kitchen, recreation area, therapy rooms, etc.  We also had three padded cells in a separate area right across the hall from my office.  The psychiatrist’s office was just behind mine, with entrance through my office.  I could occasionally hear some noise from what we called the “quiet room”.  One day I could hear screaming so off I went to see what the problem was, entered the area to find one of the inmates hanging.  I yelled for the only guard on duty at the moment and grabbed the woman about the ankles, holding her up until help came to cut her down.  She survived.

Another woman in this unit walked about with a cane, claiming to be blind.  But, I knew better as I had seen her looking at things.  One day she made some nasty comment to me and I let her know that I knew she could see.  Thereafter, she would follow me up and down the halls, her cane swinging back and forth on the floor.  This delightful woman and her husband had murdered and mutilated a couple from northern California to acquire their property, and buried the two bodies in cement in the basement of their home in the San Francisco area.  Not the type of person on whom you want to turn your back.

Yet another disturbed woman over a weekend had broken the side windows of my office climbed in and hid in there.  When I came in early on Monday morning and entered my office I walked right in front of the two file cabinets where she was hiding.  Once I reached my desk and saw my predicament, I calmly (my heart was pounding!!) talked her down and to going and locking herself in her cell.  This woman had once attacked the prison warden with a pair of scissors, wounding the warden.  Such an interesting place to work!

A few years later I took a job in Springfield at a Christian Counseling Center.  The patients there were not violent but some were equally disturbed.  Not all of them of course.  In fact, I met some really nice people there who were just trying to get their lives in order and are now functioning quite well in society.  They turned to our Lord for the help they needed.  Help is always there if you’ll just look, just ask Our Lord.

OK!  Enough for this time around!  Be well, be safe, pray for our nation and look out for your neighbors.

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