In looking over the past 29 years I have been truly blessed and enriched by all the F.H.B.s in my life. I began this journey in 1985, the year I became a substance abuse professional with The Salvation Army and continue to this day as owner and instructor of two Driving Schools. From the now deceased Yaqui Indian to the staunch and sturdy S.A. Chaplain, I have discovered that we are all F.H.B.s. In retrospect, my journey began long before that but this is when I learned that everyone is a F.H.B. and that my being one is okay.
I will not tell these stories in any specific order, but as they come to me. My wonderful husband Gene, first explained to me what an F.H.B. was, it took me quite some time to fully understand. An F.H. B. is a FALLIBLE HUMAN BEING and as such subject to making mistakes. We all come under this category as there has only been one perfect human being.
Luis L. came into my life in about 1986, as a resident of the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Houston, TX. Luis, a Yaqui Indian spent time in both Mexico and the United States. Over the few years I knew him, he was in and out of the center several times. He would write to me sometimes from Mexico and I cherished those letters.
He was the essence of a Remington painting, slight of build, coal black hair, dark piercing eyes, high cheek bones, slender nose and very bowlegged. He usually wore a light colored leather fringed jacket, boots, jeans, a plaid western shirt, bandana and of course the typical western hat. Luis was also what seemed to be a hopeless alcoholic. At times I would see him drunk walking zombie like in front of cars, trucks and buses in downtown Houston, oblivious to his surroundings. Eventually, I began to see that God truly cared for him when he could not care for himself.
Our relationship started one Tuesday night in Chapel when sitting next to me he said he did not believe in the White man’s God but instead the Great Spirit of the Mountain. I suggested they could be one of the same and the bonding began.
Although he shared little of his life with me or anyone else he did tell me that he had been a scout in the Second World War and was very proud of that fact.
One Easter, at home right after dinner I had a premonition that Luis would be murdered on the streets of Houston and that his throat would be cut. The song Ira Hayes came into my mind, “call him drunken Ira Hayes he don’t live here anymore, not the whiskey drinking Indian nor the marine that went to war”. ** I was crying and told my family about the premonition. They as everyone else I shared this with told that it was only a thought and it would never happen. When I wanted to talk to Luis about it people suggested that I not do that saying again that it would not happen. This song haunted me for several months, and an image of Luis being killed accompanied it.
The last time I saw Luis, was the night before my family traveled to California. He accompanied me to the drug store in downtown Houston late Friday night as I had to purchase supplies for Amelia the nurse that worked in my department. During our trip downtown he talked to me about his childhood, growing up on a ranch in Wyoming, something he had never done before. When we got back to the center, he hugged me, looked into my eyes and said “Always remember I love you, Gene and your family.” I cried all the way home (38 miles) hearing that song Ira Hayes over and over in my mind. Tuesday, the next week, my son called me in California and told me Luis had been robbed and killed. They had cut his throat as he was walking back to the center from an A.A. meeting.
Luis was one of the most endearing F.H.B.s I have ever or will ever have the privilege of knowing and loving. When we got back to Houston, Paul our resident supervisor gave me his belt buckle and I have it to this day.
** Ira Hamilton Hayes (January 12, 1923 – January 24, 1955) was a Pima Native American and a United States Marine corporal who was one of the six flag raisers immortalized in the iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II. After the Marine Corps, he descended into alcoholism. He died of exposure to cold and alcohol poisoning after a night of drinking on January 23–24, 1955. (Taken from Wikipedia).
Many of these F.H. B. stories come flooding into my mind as I facilitate the DUI/Risk Reduction program. It tells me how truly blessed most of us really are. When appropriate and it relates to the material, I share these with my class.