We had a tornado at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp that damaged several large trees on the campus and caused us to be without power for about 8 hours. The corrections officer on duty that night wisely told all the inmates to stay out of the Recreation Pavilion. However he said that we could go into the mobile home that serves as the Hobby Craft Room. Don't mobile homes serve as tornado magnets?
I was asked last week by a young African American inmate if I knew why Harriet Tubman had been selected to appear on our country's currency. Luckily I had just listened to a radio report, so I was able to answer. I asked him whom he thought should have been selected and he replied "Halle Berry."
Apparently the Regional Office of the Bureau of Prisons is coming for an inspection because all of the black mold has been covered with fresh paint and the bathroom sinks have been replaced so they all now work for the first time since I arrived on August 26, 2015. I can only hope that the bat colony living in the attic or the possum kingdom living under the Chow Hall makes an appearance during the inspection. It could happen.
The staff member who directs the commissary called a Town Hall Meeting where we told that our commissary hours would be changed from 6:00-8:00am to 10:30am-12:30pm. It was a rare moment of good news for many reasons, not the least of which being that we could now enjoy Blue Bell Ice Cream at a reasonable time of day. Two days later we received an email saying that won't happen. The union which represents the prison staff vetoed the change.
I had my first "Cool Hand Luke" experience when 3 inmates named Sanchez and I were picking up fallen tree limbs after our tornado. We have a small John Deere tractor and a 6' shredder that would have made quick work of all the small limbs with a few passes, but the corrections officer in the air conditioned truck to whom I tried to explain this thought it would be better for us to pick them up and haul them off. We totally had a "failure to communicate" moment.
My work experience here has reinforced an eternal truth that has never occurred to me before. When forced to perform a menial but difficult job in the hot sun, people can still creatively devise ways to avoid the work. The indomitable human spirit is alive and well right here in Bastrop.