Last year, I didn't send money to his trust fund in time for him to indulge in the holiday spend that the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice allows inmates for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I felt so bad that he missed out on all the special holiday treats that the other prisoners got, knowing that I could have sent money but just procrastinated a few days too long.
This year, I haven't written as often the last few weeks. Life gets busy and the next thing I know it's been three weeks since I took time to pen a letter. Worse, we haven't been down to see Dad in over a year and a half...maybe longer. So the one thing I CAN do to make sure his Christmas doesn't drive him to suicide, is to send him the extra cash to blow in the commissary during the holiday spend.
The whole prison holiday spend day reminds me of school when they displayed little gifts that we could buy for our family. Mom gave me $5.00, and I bought things like a little pocket screwdriver kit for Dad and a tiny, blue glass kerosene lantern for Mom. I sent him $80 total in just over a week or so in hopes he also has money for the long-johns he needs.
Last week, I got a new letter from Dad.
"I finally hear you again on Nov 24 (Monday) 27 days total. But I am not upset if no mailing letter unless no money in Trust Fund. Ha."
Haha, Dad. But I know he'd prefer both money AND letters. But he did receive the money which was a big surprise.
"I went to store and I got some good sweeties of Holiday (Special). I bought 20 pies of Pecan & apple. and cost only $7.00 (each 35 cents) Expensive? Ha. I got 10 Summer Sausage $12.50 (each $1.25). You remember last year I missed to get them when they had out of stock with more other stuffs to eat." Nov 12 I got a package at mailroom from you send me The Mill book. I could not believe you bought it for $50..."
Yay! He got his special treats! And he received the present of a book on Mills in America. But I did buy it used so didn't spend $50.
"Thank you so much more than money in Trust Fund, I feel great that I still have USA Today papers...You know I cannot without them for 25 years. Smile. Thanks. Thanks. I love you. You sent me other pictures of you. I wonder about no picture of Christian? Is he get a beard? Ha Ha."
The USA Today subscription is all he really wants if push came to shove. He nearly panicked one year when they stopped sending them for a week. And, this time, I made sure to include new pictures of Christian in our letter. No, Christian has not grown a beard. Ha!
"At Store They are out of stock for sport watch and Large and LX size of Thermal clothes and all Rhino boots are sold out, no sale in future. I don't like Riddell shoes (jogging) because too many inmates got upset with Riddell shoes because it wear out so fast and easy to tear up."
Hear that? Riddell shoes are crap per the inmates of the TDCJ. If that's not a consumer review worth taking in, I don't know what else is. Consider how little money they have, what they can spend it on and Dad chooses to go without new shoes until other brands are available. They must really suck.
"Last year I throwed old Converse Star shoes away, it were wearing out for 5 years -- I hope I can get thermals & watch."
Aw, man. Those Converse were the ones that had the secret pockets were he snuck out notes during our visits (just lists of things he didn't want to forget to talk about) and smuggled in the gum I brought him for Christmas one year. Oh, well. I get too nostalgic over stupid knick-knacks and things that don't matter.
Finally, what's a letter from Dad without him declaring his innocence?
"But I guess I failed to walk out of jail as I was innocent...I still try to mail to Innocent Project lawyers about I am was innocent."
Sigh. I'm going to have to address this, but I'm waiting till after the holidays. He really needs to fess up and face the truth. If he doesn't, there is no way he will ever heal and no way in hell he will get parole.
But he does end on a high note. He seems genuinely upbeat and thrilled at his gifts of the newspaper subscription, Mill book and money. That's all that matters in my book. After all, it's better to give than receive.
Safe and happy holidays to you all.