In 2007, the day after Christmas, I posted “A Petaluma Christmas Carol” on Petaluma 360. That article was based on a homeless camp that included Christmas decorations and a Christmas Tree.
I visited the location in December 2008 and there was no camp. Therefore, I reposted the article in its original form.
As part of the review process for this year, I returned to the site on December 3. A homeless camp similar to the one in 2007 had once again been established. This time it included a household pet with feeding dishes…
Not trusting myself to not go off the rails if I were to comment on this scene, I will simply allow it to speak for itself and to serve as preamble to…
A Petaluma Christmas Carol 2007-2009
None of us are immune from the possibility of ending up without a home…
…seeking assistance or shelter from the cold…
…or living outside under a Petaluma bridge…
I did not plan to revisit this subject, but events often override intentions…
December 23, 2007
As I was traveling over the bridge that was the subject of Sleepless & Homeless, I noticed that the scene had been decorated for Christmas–a Christmas Tree, Christmas Wreaths, and objects at the base of the tree. One of the objects was a copy of Better Homes & Gardens–intentional or not, the irony was glaring.
In spite of the circumstance of their situation, the creators of this Outdoor Christmas managed to demonstrate their Christmas Spirit.
I thought of Dickens…and how little has changed since he wrote the now iconic A Christmas Carol in 1843.
‘Every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!’…
‘At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,’ said the gentleman, taking up a pen, ‘it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.’
‘Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.’
‘At this time of the rolling year,’ the spectre said ‘I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes down…’
‘If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future…’
From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children…
–‘They are Man’s,’ said the Spirit, looking down upon them. ‘And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want.
–Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it.’ cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. ‘Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse.
And abide the end.’
‘A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us.’
‘God bless us every one.’ said Tiny Tim, the last of all.’
It has almost become a seasonal ritual or cliche to encourage people to make year-end charitable donations.
Petaluma’s COTS is a remarkable organization dedicated to helping homeless individuals and families. For additional background, see Petaluma’s Homeless Neighbors
A COTS donation in any amount will be appreciated and will be put to good use.
1. You can donate online at http://www.cots-homeless.org/
2. You can send a check to
P.O. Box 2744
Petaluma, CA 94953