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Fedex and Ups Trucks on Miller Avenue: A Billybuc Challenge

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

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Photo Challenge

Bill Holland, one of our favorite writers on HubPages, has issued the following challenge.

"I’m going to give you three photos below. Those are your prompts. I’m going to ask you to use all three of them in your story. The length of your story is up to you, but it must relate to the photos. And yes, if you are a poet, feel free to write a poem about the photos rather than a short story or flash fiction.

That’s it! Easy Peasy!" - Bill Holland

Below is my response. For some reason, I could not open the photo of boxes from Bill, so I am using ones from Pixabay.

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A Neighborhood Street

The quiet residential street in Dallas, Texas, holds many stories. The majority of these longtime homeowners strive to keep up the appearance of their homes, and their lawns are well-tended. Outward appearances are often deceiving. Few people, other than those who live there or might occasionally visit, know of the present-day economic disparities between the households.

Sue and her husband live on the corner. She quickly makes friends. Sue has met many of her neighbors and regularly chats with them when outside, tending her roses or removing weeds from her garden beds. Before the pandemic, she and her neighbors would occasionally share a cup of coffee or tea and sometimes share an entire meal in each of their places. She has gotten to know many of them quite well. Now, because of the pandemic, the chats are only outdoors and socially distant.

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Package Deliveries

Since the end of their street ends in a cul-de-sac, any vehicles going down to the end of Sue's street must return the same way. They all must stop at the stop sign in front of Sue's house. The UPS and FedEx trucks are seen in the neighborhood every day, and sometimes more than once a day, as the delivery men and women stay busy delivering packages. Some people who never before ordered packages for delivery are doing so today because of the pandemic. We must be grateful for all those who work hard making these deliveries to ensure the safety of others during Covid-19.

Sue has noticed that some of her neighbors get deliveries almost every or every other day. Those trucks seldom stop at other homes on her block. She knows the reasons why this is the case from what she has learned about her neighbors.

The Smith home seldom has a delivery. Sarah and her husband had to declare bankruptcy many years ago due to excessive medical bills. They were living the American dream until Sarah started having debilitating headaches. After seemingly endless visits to doctors, a brain tumor was the final diagnosis. As the surgeries and continuing doctor visits mounted up, their savings became depleted. Without constant supervision, she could pose a problem to her safety and even their home. Jim once discovered a burner on their stove left on high, and fortunately, he was able to extinguish the fire that had erupted before damage to their kitchen ended badly. There is not enough money to hire a caretaker, and Jim had to retire early to care for his wife, who has frequent memory lapses. They drive an older car and seldom have company except for their daughter, who was recently laid off from her job and moved back in with them.

Penny-pinching has become a way of life for Ben and Alice, who live in a two-story home just a few houses away from Sarah and Jim. Ben lost his executive management position years ago due to a hostile takeover of the company. At that time, at age 55, he found it hard to find comparable work. Fortunately, they had paid off their mortgage before their economic circumstances changed. The jobs he could get would never again provide the lifestyle which they once enjoyed. Seldom does a delivery truck leave packages at their home.

On the other hand, deliveries are made almost daily at the Schuster home. They are a couple who have two sons. Sam works as the co-owner of a plumbing business, and he stays busy providing much-needed services to those who live in his area of Dallas. They appear to have the best of everything money can buy. Their growing sons wear the latest clothing fashions and are involved in sports. Cars are updated every couple of years. Gloria continually redecorates her home and is proud to show it off. Gloria stays busy with her shopping trips, lunches, and planning their next vacation getaway. Boxes are laid at her front door almost daily.

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In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

— Confucius

Thinking of Others

While fiction, these are representative stories of what is happening all across our land today. Let's do what we can to reach out and help each other during this time of economic stress for so many of our fellow countrymen. The disparities between the "haves and the have-nots" have never been so exaggerated. Many have lost jobs, some of which will never return. People are hungry! More people may become homeless! What can each of us do to help during this stressful time? That is a question each of us must answer.

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

© 2020 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 12, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

Thanks! I tried to show that not everything that is viewed on the outside is what is truly happening when one gets to know the real story of people. I learned so much when I was a volunteer counselor at an assistance ministry. I am glad that you liked this.

manatita44 from london on December 12, 2020:

I hear you Peggy. You say so much in so little! Again, it is so true that what appears real to us, can often be a mirage. I do not put performance poems up, but you remind me of one. Maybe I'll put it up tomorrow.

Impactful stories like yours, inspires thought and is worth pondering on. Well done!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 12, 2020:

Hi Brenda,

Yes, I should have mentioned Amazon Prime vehicles also, as they are seen almost daily in our neighborhood. While my story is fiction, it is similar to what is happening in many neighborhoods all across our land. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas this year, and may God bless you. Thanks for your comment.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on December 12, 2020:

It is interesting that you notice the deliveries have increased. I see Fedex and Amazon Prime vehicles most everyday in our small community.

I think Christmas is a bit different this year.

I feel for the families you mentioned that are having problems. I suffer the agony of a brain tumor and my heart goes out to her and her husband, as well as the daughter. But it is those people who will truly understand the gift of Christmas.

Hardships are hitting many this year and the woman who buys everything should reach out to her less fortunate neighbors.

One would be surprised just how a little kindness can make one's day better.

Take care and Merry Christmas!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 12, 2020:

Hi Vanita,

I am sorry to hear about your neighbors who have died of Covid-19. I hope that the two you mentioned have full recoveries. As to all those who have died, or have long-lasting ill effects from having contracted this virus, it is so sad. Few will be untouched or not know anyone affected. The vaccines cannot come early enough to put an end to this horrific pandemic. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 12, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

I am pleased that you appreciated this fictional story. You are a master at writing fiction.

Vanita Thakkar on December 12, 2020:

A touchy narrative of all the difficulties that the current pandemic is posing - restrictions, losses, uncertainties, fears, sufferings and so on, amidst tragic deaths of millions of people all over the world. The observation of relative difficulties faced by different households in the same neighbourhood on the basis of frequency of orders being received at their doorsteps is very delicately presented. Your imagination accompanies sensitive alertness to surroundings and kindness as you narrate this story in response to Bill's photo challenge.

We lost two elderly neighbours to Corona. One is recovering. Another, from the same family, has recovered but the detailed tests to ensure recovery showed that she is developing cancer in her kidney. It is just the beginning and the doctors say, she will be fine after a surgery that is to take place after three days ....

Let us all wish and pray for early and complete exit of Corona.

Rosina S Khan on December 11, 2020:

Your story may be a fiction but it rightly reflects the effects of the current pandemic in the society. I appreciate your creativity in building up the fiction. Thank you for sharing, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

You should not feel guilty about using those services. I was merely pointing out the discrepancies these days about the many people suffering due to circumstances out of their control. It is smart to avoid shopping in person these days. That woman you mentioned must have been desperate!

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 11, 2020:

I get everything delivered these days to avoid going out and about but now I’m feeling guilty. This past weekend my husband saw a woman “shopping” in the Salvation Army donation bin which was sad. Wrong but sad.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

Hi Chitrangada,

Your response is beautiful to what I attempted to show during this pandemic the people of the world are experiencing. Thank you for your comment.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 11, 2020:

Hi Peggy!

This is a wonderful and thoughtful response to Bill's challenge. You bring to attention the sad state of affairs, as a result of this Pandemic. People have lost jobs, lost loved ones, are hungry, anxious, in a state of fear.

Besides the governments, each one of us have to be helpful to each other, in whatever way we can.

Well written and heartfelt.

Appreciate you for writing this. Thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

Hi Bill,

So glad you liked this. Your photo challenge got me thinking! The importance of economic disparities in this country is a challenging one.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2020:

Frighteningly accurate in this neighborhood where those pictures were taken. Wonderful message, my friend. Thank you for taking up the challenge AND drawing attention to such an important issue. Well done!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

It is a dire situation for many people in our country right now due to underlying problems that have only been exacerbated due to the pandemic. I am glad you liked the ending of this piece. Take care, and stay safe!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 11, 2020:

I love th thoughtfulnes of thi story, as we are in tough tims right now. So many people are hurting. This is a wonderful response to Billybuc's challenge, Peggy. I really loved the ending.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

Hi Virginia,

Medical care in the U.S. is certainly in the news these days for many reasons. It is a sad situation when some people have to choose between buying food or filling their needed prescriptions. Many bankruptcies have occurred due to high medical bills. This does not happen in other countries that treat their populace differently when it comes to treating medical needs.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on December 11, 2020:

You make some excellent points here. Our income inequality is at a horrid level and there are many economic factors (high cost of healthcare for instance) that keep people stuck and unable to get ahead.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

Hi John,

The disparities in income have been greatly exaggerated by the pandemic and loss of jobs. Many people can barely meet basic needs these days through no fault of their own. I am glad you like what I did with Bill's photo challenge.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

Hi Ann,

We are well, thanks. I hope the same for you. We do know several people who have lost jobs recently. One is a CPA, one is a lawyer, and another one worked as a top executive for an oil and gas company. This pandemic is causing all kinds of upheaval with the economy, and all levels of society are being impacted. Those who work and barely meet their needs are immediately thrown into panic mode when jobs are lost. Unlike your government in the UK, ours is doing less to help people get past the loss of income. Unless they do something soon, we will have evictions from homes and apartments on an unprecedented scale. We already have long lines of people seeking food assistance, much like the days of the Great Depression.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on December 11, 2020:

What a great response to Bill’s challenge, Peg. You used the frequency of package deliveries as a perfect way to describe the disparity of wealth well-being of people in society today.

I know as a result of the pandemic a lot more people are getting things delivered that they would have normally gone to the store in person to buy, but many, sadly, can’t afford the luxury. I enjoyed the read.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 11, 2020:

Wise words and excellent examples, Peggy. There is always a disparity but current events have caused so much more. Your quotes are so apt. We need to watch for signs and be aware of those around us who need help. Lovely, thoughtful response to Bill's challenge.

Hope all is well with you.

Ann

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