Harry With the Hole in His Neck


I have met some interesting folks along the way, trust me!   Working in a church affords someone quite a few interesting experiences and I was definitely not exempt.   One of my tasks in my last position was to help assess and administer our Compassion Fund.  Mainly we gave out gas vouchers because that was something that no other agency in the area did and sometimes having $10 of gas made a difference.

One day I met Harry.  Harry and I had a relationship over the span of several months and I came to look forward to his visits.  Often folks who come seeking help at a church have an interesting story and Harry was no different.  When I first met him his neck was bandaged and he could only whisper.  Seems he was in an altercation where he was robbed and ended up getting shot in the throat.  When he first showed up he still had his hospital bracelet on—evidence that he found us because of our close proximity to the hospital and our beautiful carillon which drew folks in.

Harry was well versed in the Bible.  He put me to shame.  Here I was the “church lady” and he knew way more than me.  Harry and I had many adventures and even though I imagine some of my church friends worried about me when I was helping him I never felt in harm’s way.  I helped him get stuff out of his car and store it safely since he was homeless, I provided cleaning items for him to clean the still blood stained steering wheel and dashboard and yes—I even gave him a few meals.

One of the more memorable experiences was when he let me in on the secret that he was a police informant.  He was staying at a home in the area helping the owner do some renovations in exchange for a place to stay.  He told me he needed a ride to the police station as they were going to pay him for information.  Having no clue how this stuff usually works I went along with that story–after all—I felt he hadn’t lied to me yet.  So I drove and on the way he asked me to stop at the home he was staying at to get something.  I obliged and he returned with a sweatshirt.  We were driving along –destination police station.  I stopped at a stoplight and Harry hopped out of the car and I was perplexed until he hopped back in completely clad in sweatshirt with hoodie up and drawn tight.  It was hot out and I wondered what the heck that was all about and asked him and he told me he had to hide his identity when he went to the station in case someone saw him and recognized him.  Okay…….I admit now that maybe I had not used the best judgment but hey—-we were going to a police station, right?

When we got to the police station he went in the back door and I waited in the car.  I called the secretary at the church and told her if I didn’t come back to come find me in the police parking lot and we had a good laugh about that but she made me promise to call her if anything went weird!!   Harry came back out shortly with no money and I dropped him back off at his place.   He was not forthcoming with what had happened but I guess it wasn’t anything worth paying for.

Harry disappeared after some time and I wondered what had happened.  Every once in a while he would call the church and update us on where he was and how he was doing.  Life was not always easy for Harry but I still think of him today and wonder if he remembers me at all.  He made a difference in my life and I hope and pray that life has gotten easier for him.  Did you ever meet someone like Harry that you couldn’t forget???

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Comments

  1. Awe poor Harry. I haven’t met one of my own. It breaks my heart that some people just have hard luck and can’t get things going. Obviously I don’t know a lot about him, but I get a sense that he’s pretty decent. I hope for the best for him and I hope you two meet again on happy circumstances.

    • He really was a nice guy though I know he made a lot of the older folks “nervous” because they just had not talked to him. He was definitely one of the calmer folks that came in–and I hope that life has gotten easier for him. Thanks for the comments!

  2. What a great story. I hope Harry is somewhere basking in the sunshine, happy and healthy. No doubt you made a difference in his life just as he did in yours and I’ll bet he remembers the nice “church lady” who took him to the police station with his hoodie pulled tight! ♥.

    • I still laugh when I think about my reaction when he suddenly hopped out of the car at the stoplight!! He was not that much younger than me but had lived a lot more life than I had at that point. I obviously still think about him years later!

  3. Becky Miracle says:

    Our “Harry” was a young man named John that we met when the cruise ship docked at Roatan Bay. We went on our own for a tour with this guy charging on his own on the dock (a definite NO NO we found out later!). Donald and the boys and I get in this beat up station wagon and he took us all over the island and showed us sites we would not have seen on a regular tour. The true way they live and what they lack. It was the most humbling experience and still our favorite stop of all our cruises and all these years later. The station wagon was without AC, totally beat up and I had to wonder to myself if we would make it back to the ship alive! He was very well educated and had a degree in accounting and had family in Miami and was so into our upcoming Presidential election etc. we so enjoyed our time with him and wonder often what has since happened in his life. Amazing how a brief encounter with someone touches your life and heart forever.

  4. Great story. I don’t think I’ve met anyone that memorable. I think of different people that drifted through my life and wonder what they are up to now. Some people no matter how short they were in your life will have an impact one way or another!!!

  5. I don’t think I’ve met anyone quite like Harry, but I agree with bocafrau, memories of some people will remain with you no matter the length of time they were in your life.

    • Patti–you are right! I think that is why I value friendships so much because people have such an effect on me and I want to maintain those relationships–where real or “imaginary”!!! 🙂

  6. Helen Brown says:

    I think you told me about Harry but never this! You probably did not want to worry me. Being the wife of a minister, I met some interesting people. The one I remember (but not his name) your dad brought home one day for a meal. He was a bum who rode the trains, etc.

  7. Oh Beth Ann…. I have met so many Harry’s I cannot count them anymore. I want to believe that we touch them as much as they touch us!

    • Brenda–I thought of you when I wrote this because I know you have a heart for ministry to the homeless and not everyone understands that, do they?? I thank you for all that you do in that area—not everyone is gifted with the ability to do that–it makes most people uncomfortable and nervous and they just can’t handle it gracefully. It is people like you who get it!!!

  8. Beth Ann, I must say that I do not have Harrys. I’m afraid that shows exactly how sheltered my life is. Good for you to open yourself to someone in need!

  9. Christine Grote says:

    I’m not as brave as you. I glad it was a positive experience for you.

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