• PhilipZ

Day 5

Sunday, December 9 -


I am so grateful “J” called at his expense, who has only a few dollars in his account, to let everyone know I am fine. I woke up at about 8:30, read and listened to the news a little, and a radio station with awesome Christmas music, although it is on AM radio. We got knocked down to second from bottom in order of sequence to eat. So we didn’t go to eat till after 11:00. I decided to wait to read my Bible and pray until after brunch. While in line, a white man from our unit struck up a conversation with me. He said, “I understand this is your first time in prison?” I said yes, and he said, “Me too,” I asked him how long he’d been in prison, and he said 22 years. He’s older, probably older than me by maybe 5 or 10 years. I asked how much more time he has, and he said 18 years.


After brunch, I went back to the bunk. “J” was laying down for a nap, and I got up on my bunk (the top), and began to read my Bible. Before long, the door opened and it was the man who spoke to me in the chow line asking to speak to me. I got down and went out. He told me he’d like to give me some pointers as to how to pass the time, which was, “watch TV as much as possible.” I told him I like to read. He said voluntarily he’d been busted for 3 oz. of marijuana, and having two guns in his possession. He refused to plead out saying he had nothing to say to them, taking his chances on a bench trial. That was a mistake he lived to regret. It breaks my heart for some of these men, but not all of them. “J” was telling me he was talking to Bones, who has been very friendly and offered me advice (last night he came in and said when “J” got back from the shower I should be out of the room and give him a little privacy to get dressed. (It can be really difficult to understand Bones, at times). Anyway, Bones’ bunkmate is a bad apple, one of the angry men who just want to cause trouble. “J,” said he gave him a lot of verbal abuse, so rather than coming back at him, he just walked away. Bones always put him in his place. “J” and I had a long conversation about how that’s the Biblical way to treat such people. He said, “Yeah, they don’t know how to deal with that, and it’s the reaction they hate the most.” He said a lot of the black men just don’t know how to deal with low-security prison and would prefer to be in the medium where the killing and fighting takes place.


After the brief conversation with the man in line, whose name is “E,” I found out where his room was, and he said he needed to go clean it. (“J” cleaned ours yesterday while I was at Bible study – he waxed and buffed the floor – he is a clean freak). I came back in and “J,” said something so I asked if I could share something. I shared with him today’s proverb – (Proverbs:7-9:12), telling him that this is just what we were talking about last night. He had told me that he believes maybe God brought me just for him. I too am very grateful I am in this unit and in this room – the best in the unit and the best unit in the prison. So many men have come up to me saying they didn’t know how I ended up in one of the three rooms with a “spring” bed, which is so much more comfortable. I just say I am blessed or God has blessed me. But please pray for my safety getting in and out. The only furniture we have besides the bunk and locker is a little round plastic stool, which I have to step on to get in and out of the top bunk. The first day I was here, I stepped on it a little off-center and fell hurting my leg – I caught myself. I have visions of falling and hitting my head on the metal desk (18” x 24”) bolted to the wall, or the commode or cinderblock wall. I try to be very, very careful now.


I went to church at 2:00. The chaplain is a Methodist but seemed to preach the gospel. I introduced myself afterward, told him I was in prison because I was a Christian, suggested he Google me, and asked him if I could work in the Chaplain’s office. He said he had a few people before me but he would consider it (I had already sent him a request). He spoke about John the Baptist doubting who Jesus really was (Matt. 11) and that even John had doubts. But we actually could do greater things than John the Baptist, even in prison. My cellmate “J” came back and said he’d like to start a nightly prayer meeting after the 9:00 count, and he’d spread the word. I told him great! This evening I had to vacate the room because “J” fell asleep. I watched three chess games being playing and then went into the “library” to read the book I’m reading. However, every time I go in there I get caught up meeting people. Tonight the two men in there had Virginia connections. One was originally from Queens but lives in Virginia Beach. He got transferred from Petersburg Camp. He said if I could get in the camp there, it’d be great, but not Petersburg Low. Where I am is far better. The other guy went to Fishburne Military School. He’s in here for not paying FedEx? about $220,000.

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