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| Category: || Romance Fiction |
Posted:|| August 4, 2020 Views: 43|
Chapter 12 of the book on wings of eagles
Maxi coaches Phoenix, explores Denver, and sees the homeless
"Who is my neighbor?"
Maxi goes on adventures with friends she's met at The Father's House in Denver. She writes a personal memoir for the Denver Colorado Lifestyle magazine and becomes a voice of hope.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The darkness is being exposed as the presence and glory of God moves about the cities and the mountains through His revivalist children," Maxi spoke out loud as she changed into her one piece red competitive swimsuit in the locker room.
She walked towards the deep end of the indoor public aquatic pool. "Phoenix, the best way to get in is to cannonball jump, you get all wet at once, or you'll freeze if you go in inch by inch." She jumped into the deep end and made a huge splash at the Five Points Aquatics Center.
"I'll go for the inch by inch chill in the shallow end, Maxi." He walked into the pool, then bent down to get totally wet.
"I love the feeling of being in pool water." Maxi swam in the deep end towards Phoenix. She swirled her arms from her sides to the center of her body and back again. Phoenix followed her lead.
"Now move your arms left to right, reverse back to the left, and repeat slowly and then faster. You can do this in figure eights too."
Phoenix stopped to take a hand full of water, stepped closer to Maxi and threw it at her face. "How am I doing?" He stepped backwards, laughing.
She smiled and swam closer to Phoenix, gathering water in both her hands. She lifted the water up and aimed at his head, "Great. I think you need to try something harder with your legs. Seems you are bored, so let's run in the water. I'll race you from one side to the other."
"You're on." Phoenix charged full speed, pushing the water with his hands.
Maxi stood in the pool at the other side. "How did you get here so fast?"
"I was born to swim. This was one of our swim drills my dad did with us. Water has lots of resistance, so you have to become one with the waves and move together. Let's try it again, together."
"One with the waves." Phoenix laughed as they ended up tied at the side. Closely standing by Maxi, he looked into her brown eyes and moved the wet hair from her face. "Thanks for getting me in the water, and showing me a part of your world. I'll show you a touch of my world afterwards, Maxi." He leaned closer and gave her a gentle kiss on her watery lips. "I could go for seconds."
Maxi swam away, "Time to try a few new moves. One is called the rocking horse. You lean on one foot backwards and then you rocked forward, then switch legs and repeat." She urged him to try her technique. "Great, Phoenix. Now two feet up and hop down like a jumping snow rabbit."
"I have one for you, jumping jacks." Phoenix counted to ten as he jumped. "Am I done, Maxi?"
"We can swim some laps with a kick board. You hold on to the board with your hands and kick your legs. You'll find it relaxing." Maxi demonstrated and counted his laps."
"So much for relaxing, Maxi. Are you buying me lunch after this?" Phoenix kicked his legs to the end of the pool and turned around for another lap.
"Do you like hamburgers and shakes from Shake Shack or chicken burgers and salads from BirdCall?" Maxi held the board close to her chest and paddled with her arms, watching her private student.
"Whatever you desire, Maxi." He relaxed and became one with the waves.
"Phoenix, I brought you some shampoo and a towel. We'll meet each other at the lobby and then get some lunch."
"Perfect, can't wait." He grabbed the shampoo, her teal green and white stripped towel, and headed for the men's locker room.
"Here's a bottle of non-scented body lotion for your face and body, Phoenix. I forgot to get an extra one so use mine."
"Thanks, my face is super dry from the pool water." He grinned a smile at Maxi while using her lotion on his face.
Maxi observed him apply lotion onto his muscular arms, leg quads and calves. "I can tell you have a runner shape."
"Out of shape runner right now that needs some food. Hey, I'm hungry, please lead the way." Phoenix opened the door and watched her walk with her lacy shirt, short skirt, and strong swimmer legs.
"Let's try BirdCall. We'll sightsee along the way," said Maxi. "Did you know that the RiNo Art area started as a grassroots movement for local artists? You'll notice large painted murals on the brick walls on the buildings. The neighborhood includes Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points and Cole with art galleries, historic warehouses, factories, jazz bars, outdoor music fests, restaurants, retail shops, and unique restaurants."
"Sounds wonderful for the tourists to see everything here, shop, and try the food. But I'll show you another side of the Denver neighborhood that is dark and needs to change. Maybe we can connect with the Colorado Dreammakers, and pitch them some ideas to give them hope."
"What are you talking about?" People on racing bikes drove past them on the street. Maxi took his hand as they heard Jazz music. The older brick buildings had brightly colored art murals on their sides. A warehouse was converted to an art gallery selling woven baskets, crafts, candles, cookware, and watercolors. They dodged the sightseers as they walked past the shops to BirdCall.
"Come and see," Phoenix said as they walked down the Denver streets towards Lincoln Park, the Golden Triangle Art District, and the State Capital with its huge gold dome.
"I think we can cover more territory renting these city bikes, Phoenix." Maxi used her debit card to cover the cost.
"I'll show you the darkness in the streets. Follow me towards Lincoln Park." He sat on the bike, waited for Maxi, and led the way.
People stood next to the entrance of the park protesting while the garbage men, police, and social workers cleaned up the homeless camp. They pitched black garbage bags, chairs, sleeping bags, and tents into large garbage trucks. Maxi heard people crying and grabbing their bags before they got tossed. Several people fought each other in anger, yelling until the police stopped them. Outhouse smells filled the air. Maxi covered her nose.
"Where are you going?" Maxi asked a homeless lady wearing several colorful layers of clothing walking with her young child past an older guy sleeping in a living room chair next to his tent.
"I'll find another park," she said. "Many of these people are my friends. We take care of each other." She stuffed bags into her hand, her only treasures.
Phoenix grabbed Maxi's hand. "I worked with some friends that lived in these camps. They told me there had been about 600 tents, all families that lost their homes when their hours got cut. Some of them got sick, and medical costs knocked them down. Others gave up with life, chose alcohol, drugs, and isolation. They need counseling, happiness, and love."
Maxi spotted an older man with gray hair picking up his sleeping bag on the lawn. He rolled it up and approached a policeman, "This is mine."
She thought he had a hard time talking out loud, but looking closer at his mouth showed her that he had no teeth.
The police officer said to her, "We offer a school bus to take you people to St. Francis for a place to stay. They have beds."
Maxi and Phoenix noticed the people moved around like ants on an ant hill. Someone's belongings became unwanted garbage, and people got moved into the buses while others left for a smaller homeless camp.
"People need help," Phoenix spoke softly. "Denver Metro City has money, they need to build community centers and create jobs. No one is a throwaway person. Let's make this a neighbor-hood with neighbors loving one another."
"We'll have to brainstorm some ideas with Pastor Sam. This is so sad, Phoenix." Maxi shot photos on her cell phone. "Denver Metroplex needs to fund homes, give them jobs, and activities to do. Neighbors helping neighbors, inspire change, and lean on each other in love."
"They have to help them, now. People are getting abused, depressed, need beds, food, jobs, and mental health counseling. Many want to work, but they have no addresses. Maxi, I've been there and it feels like a pit with no way out."
"With God's love, the light can shine in their darkness and bring them hope." She watched young children walk around with dirty faces and clothes. "Did you want to go home, Phoenix?" Maxi was shocked to see so many needy people inside a Metroplex.
"Let's go, I'm getting tired, we can brainstorm with Pastor Sam. Thanks for a wonderful day." They rode their rental bikes back to The Father's House in Five Points.
* * * * * * * *
Two weeks flew by with Maxi and Phoenix's swimming therapy lessons, True Colors fashion show fittings, and packing for the Memorial Weekend Flying Eagle Ranch event.
Maxi sat in the back seat next to Phoenix. Linda sat shotgun while Terry drove Pastor Sam's 2010 Chevy van. Maxi held her journal, writing notes with her colored pens. "What are you grateful for, Phoenix?" She looked up at him.
"I'm grateful for swim lessons, friendship, and being rescued from the homeless camps. What about you?"
"Phoenix, I'm grateful that you've become a strong swimmer. I appreciate how you like to explore Denver with me."
"Thank you for the wonderful lunch dates and picking up the tabs. I'll make it up to you once I'm working, Maxi."
She laughed, took his hand, and glanced up at his sweet smile. "I'm glad we could try out so many different restaurants, Phoenix it's my treat."
"What are you all doing back there?" Linda looked back at them. "Terry is driving on Highway 36 past Broomfield, then Boulder, and into the countryside. Joshua's family cattle ranch is outside of Boulder, south of the Arapaho National Forest, and near the White River National Forest."
"Have you been on a ranch before, Linda?" Terry glanced at Linda. "Joshua said he's making time to take us on a trail ride this weekend. It will be a busy weekend with the True Colors fashion show and Joshua's Southwest Horse sale."
"I've never been near a horse before, but I'm looking forward to the riding. I'll need a gentle horse and some lessons."
"Same for me with the lessons. Do you know of a couple guys that would help us?" Maxi laughed while touching Phoenix's leg. He put his warm hand on top of hers.
"We are your guys. We'll give you personal riding lessons." Phoenix leaned over and gave her a kiss. "I rode horses on the reservation."
"Terry, how was your three day camping adventure at the Garden of the Gods with Maxi? I couldn't make the event since I put in extra hours at LoDo Restaurant. They were short handed."
"I love the starlight in the night sky and the people singing at the campfires." Terry kept his eyes on the traffic. "The food was terrific."
"Look over there at the deer running in the field. Is Moni following behind you?"
Phoenix looked over at Maxi. She was writing notes in her journal. He suddenly became sad thinking of Terry and Maxi camping. "How could she?"
"Yes, she's driving with Annie, shotgun. Destiny and Zoe are in the back," Terry said. "They sent their sportswear ahead of them with Pastor Sam in his Father's House van. He'll be with us for the fashion show and head back on Saturday to play his music on 16th Street."
"Do you have directions, should we call Joshua?" Linda looked at the GPS on her cell phone. "This van is too old for GPS. Looks like the path heads south."
"Let me know what to do, Linda." Terry followed her instructions as the roads became single lanes in the forest country.
"Look out, Terry! There's a little black bear crossing the street. Oh no, the momma bear is standing up in the road, showing us her teeth and growling at us."
Linda held onto her handle by the window as Terry honked his horn and slammed on the van's brakes. The old Chevy spun a donut, hit a small pine tree lying on the road, and got a flat front tire from the jagged branches.
Moni slowed down and stopped near the Chevy van on the side of the country road.
"Oh, my Jesus, please rescue us," cried Linda. She called Joshua on her cell phone, "We need help. Pastor Sam's van has a flat."
|The book continues with momma bear encounter. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
Note from Jennifer Brown, writer for the Colorado Sun --
Homeless advocates, including the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Denver Homeless Out Loud, who are bringing water and coronavirus tests to the camps, say never been more obvious that Colorado needs better long-term solutions, mainly affordable housing. Sweeping the camps and booting people without homes out of downtown, advocates say, only pushes them to the underpasses, along the river paths and out to the suburbs.
Advocates for the homeless, business leaders and politicians agree that the current situation which includes an 80-tent camp surrounding Morey Middle School, plus hundreds of tents on the strip of land between the sidewalks and streets across multiple blocks just north of downtown Denver and Lincoln Park.
One nonprofit counted 30 encampments and 664 tents. The tent cities are growing more persistent as Denver has backed off enforcing the camping ban.
Note from nancy --
So many cities have homeless living on the streets, in parks, and under bridges. Cities need to connect, help and provide safe homes for all people. This issue touched my heart as I walked the streets of Denver, saw tents in the snow, and read the stories in the Colorado Sun and the Minneapolis Tribune newspapers. We all can be a voice of change.
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