I heard a story about my dad, Bill Hahn, at his funeral. I may not remember it exactly, but the idea of it remains strong in my mind. The minister, Mark Dees, recalled that, one day, he and my dad were working together on a project at Ensley United Methodist Church. A man, probably homeless, came up and asked for some help. Mark said my dad pulled out his wallet and handed the man a $20 bill. After the man left, Mark asked him about giving him that much money, when he might waste it on liquor or drugs. Daddy answered with something along the lines of, he couldn’t control how the man used it, but he could control how he responded to a need.
Years earlier, a young woman came up to the door of our home on Mason Lane in Pensacola. My parents were out of town; I was in college. This girl told me she worked at the day care down the street. Her mother was sick, she claimed, and she needed help to get to her. Could I loan her some money and she’d pay me back. I think I gave her around $25, and even gave her a ride. Of course, later I started thinking I’d been bilked, and I called the day care, and they told me they’d seen the same young woman. She told them she lived in the green house near the corner. My house. I called the sheriff’s office, but of course, I didn’t really have a good description of her, and I couldn’t even remember exactly where I dropped her off. I hadn’t been driving long, and it wasn’t an area I was familiar with, so there wasn’t much they could do. That was a lot of money for me back then, and I felt like an idiot. Now, I try to look at it through the lens of that story about my dad. I was responding to a need, even if the need was made up. Maybe that counts for something in the cosmic scheme of things.
This post was inspired by a prompt from genealogist Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.