It appears that I have survived another year of friends' 7,000 word Holiday Updates chronicling how perfectly wonderful their lives were over the past 12 months. Call me crazy, but I always read every word. They have inspired me to write my own "2017 Year In Review". Or would that be "2017 Year End Review"? Or "2017 Rear End View"? I wonder about such things. Nevertheless, it's been quite a year at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp.
The year started off on a high note when we got 12 chicken wings for our Super Bowl brown bag dinner. I traded 6 of mine for 10 postage stamps and felt good about it.
It was a year of good health, as I self-medicated my recovery from a self-diagnosed case of Legionnaires Disease. I got my teeth cleaned after being on the waiting list for 20 months and made a trip, shackled, to the dermatologist in Bastrop 12 months after noticing several actinic keratosis spots on my face, back and leg. I passed 3 TB tests, got a flu shot, and turned down another, as our crack medical staff had no record of my first shot. I'm also pleased to report that we were scabies free during the year.
The camp economy continued to flourish in 2017 to my own personal benefit, proving that supply side, trickle-down economics has worked once in this country somewhere. My Maintenance 1 career as Office Clerk received an unexpected shot in the arm when I located 3 additional font cartridges for my IBM Wheelwriter 3000 typewriter. I also was able to drive our 1997 Dodge Ram Pickup several times and changed the radio settings during each outing. As a bi-vocational worker, my second career as an unlicensed hair care professional was on, off, and on again, ending in a windfall as the only white inmate who can cut hair. Yes, white privilege still matters somewhere. Haircuts are, of course, still free; but anonymous love offerings of Nut-N-Honey granola bars were gratefully accepted.
In a somewhat related tragic note, the commissary was unable to sell Nut-N-Honey bars for 8 weeks in November and December, even though they were in stock. The official word is that it took the staff that long to determine how to enter the proper SKU for the point of sale terminal, but undisclosed sources deeply embedded inside the commissary have confirmed that the real reason is that 1,000 of them were missing, but reported as in-stock, during the October inventory. It took the staff 8 weeks to come up with an plausible explanation for the tangled web inventory discrepancy. Thankfully I went into this dark period with over 40 bars in my locker due to anonymous offerings of love.
Traditions were started during the year that have become very meaningful. Thursday evening is now Dr. Pepper Night where a friend and I share an ice cold beverage. Occasionally we invite a guest, when we get bored.
On a spiritual note, I was much more able to stay awake during worship services this year because of two subtle behavioral changes. First, I started counting how many times the chaplain used the words "amen" and "church" in his sermon, a task requiring much more concentration. Highs were 22 and 26, respectively. Secondly, I started attending the Catholic mass where we keep standing, then sitting, then kneeling for no apparent reason other than to keep me awake. Best of all, the Catholics have a homily instead of a sermon. For my non-Catholic readers, a homily is simply a short sermon, but not really a sermon, as it has a beginning, an ending, and a point.
In May, granddaughter Charlotte Jane Rundle was born. She's been to visit many times and is adorable. I can't wait to leave this place and hear her sweet voice say, "Tell me another prison story, Dees."
The year ended on several positive notes. I bought some new running shoes thanks to a friend who sent funds to my commissary account. It was nice to have shoes that fit and were new. I hope they last until I leave here. I also got a new set of sheets and towels. Thanks taxpayers, especially the rich who pay the most. The linens were certified pre-owned, but still white. My old ones had not been white since the summer of 2016 when we had rust (or something) in the water supply. In December, I entered into a futures contract to deliver my Christmas Bag of Trick-or-Treat candy, when received, for 30 postage stamps and two mackerels. The contract closed on December 21st, and I had no regrets.
2017 will be hard to top, but 2018 is off to a good start. Our inmate populations is down from 198 to 174. That's much better for a facility designed for less than 100. I'm also hoping for a new mattress.