© 2016 by Charles D. Jones

Conspicuously Secular December Ramblings

December 21, 2016

It's quite festive here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, in an Conspicuously Secular Winter Holiday ("CSWH") sort of way. The CSWH decorating committee has pulled out all the stops to decorate the camp to the max. We have some extremely talented artists among the inmate population. They have constructed and painted beautiful wooden cutouts of various Disney characters which adorn the visiting areas and sidewalks leading to the camp. In the visitors room we have a CSWH tree and a fireplace, and outside are large decorated wooden cutout trees, reindeer, and candy canes. There are also colored lights in the flower beds. We'll have many children visit over the next few weeks, and the decorations will be help create a good setting for quality family time. Even inside the housing unit, the doors to the Counselor, Case Manager and Secretary's offices are decorated with wrapping paper and wreaths. By any standard, not just our usual modified half-ass Bureau of Prisons standard, the place looks great.

 

The corrections officers here rotate shifts and jobs each quarter. Some officers like to work at the camp and some prefer the adjacent Low Security Prison that's 1/2 mile away on our shared campus. With the new quarter, we had a returning camp officer arrive Sunday, December 11th, just in time for Sunday visitation. Right out of the gate, she chased down a small child in the visiting area, scared the bejesus out of him, took away his soccer ball and kicked it over the fence. Then, over the next week, she managed to interrupt all the inmates taking their GED exam, not just one day, but every day. She does like to keep the place clean, though, which is challenging, as our population has swollen to 197 in a facility originally built to house less than 90 inmates. This quarter should be interesting. Do you remember the Death Eaters from Harry Potter?

 

Each year we get a holiday sack with snacks. I don't eat most of the snacks, but I can trade them for stamps. The sack costs $7 and is paid for by the profit from what we spend at the commissary buying overpriced goods. Unfortunately, that means that I can't complain about it, because I gave it to myself. If I were not here, you can bet $7 I would have given myself a much better gift.

 

If you woke up today confused and full of self doubt, congratulations; you're human. It's OK to admit vulnerability. Sometimes that admission alone will give you the freedom to put your oxygen mask on first, so you might be able to help the person next to you.

 

I hope you have a rousing CSWH and a CONSPICUOUSLY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

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