Yesterday we traveled to downtown Pittsburgh. Our adventure began Wednesday night around 11:00pm when it occurred to me that we never received a phone call from the transport company that was hired to pick up Tyler and take him to court the next morning. We received a letter in the mail informing us that Tyler was due in court but that we weren’t to be there so they were sending a driver to pick Tyler up. We never got a call from the driver confirming that so at 6:00am the next morning I was waking up kids, packing school work and snacks for a trip to Pittsburgh. Toby had work so I was making the trip on my own and was a nervous wreck. We said a prayer before we left. I prayed for safe travel, little traffic, to find my way without getting lost and a smooth court visit. Tyler then spoke up and suggested we also pray that our car doesn’t flip over and make us all die. We added that to the prayer..better safe than sorry..and headed on our way. 🙂
As we headed down to Pittsburgh we quickly ran into the morning commuter traffic and it slowed us down considerably. Luckily we left extra early as a precaution. As I followed the directions of the GPS it lead me past the exit that I thought we would take to the courthouse but being more confident of the GPS’s sense of direction than my own I followed its lead. It ended up dropping me off in Oakland in the middle of Pitt traffic where it then proceeded to tell me that I needed to make a U-turn on a one way street in 4 lanes of traffic. Now feeling less confident in my GPS I decided not to follow its instructions and fell back on the antiquated practice of following street signs.
We eventually made it to The south side of Pittsburgh where the courthouse was located. Along the way the kids enjoyed seeing the sites and trying to get pictures of the buildings, bridges and cool artwork on the sides of many of the buildings downtown.
When we arrived on Carson street I was thrilled to find a parking lot to park in. I was worried I was going to have try parallel parking in the middle of city traffic with my big SUV. The kids thought the parking meter system of putting money and your license number in a parking meter box at the end of the parking lot was a lot more fun than the traditional meters they are accustomed to.
Then we were off to court. We were concerned that we would be late but were the first ones there. The kids did schoolwork in the waiting room while I spoke to Tyler’s advocates and lawyers and waited for our turn before the judge. We thought we might see Tyler’s biological brother there but he didn’t show up. Tyler was disappointed. He was finally called in before the judge, was in there for 2 minutes, and then we were told we could leave.
We then walked over to the bagel shop across the road and bought everyone a bagel for breakfast. When I asked Tyler what flavor bagel he wanted he asked me, “What type do pigeons like?” Tyler loves pigeons and it all began with a book, Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. We read it at least once a day and as a result he has developed an affinity for this winged city dweller. Last time we came to the city for court he was thrilled to discover pigeons all over the parking lot so as he picked his bagel his plan was to eat half and then share to other half with the pigeons.
He ended up picking a plain bagel. As we stood by the car eating our bagels Tyler kept throwing bagel pieces up in the air but the pigeons just kept flying by and ignoring him. Poor Rusty wasn’t ignored though. He received a gift, right on the top of his head, from one of Tyler’s little friends as it flew by..poor Russ! I finally convinced Tyler that the pigeons weren’t hungry and we climbed in the car to leave. As we drove out of the parking lot we discover why the pigeons were ignoring him. There at the other end of the lot was an old man with a bag of food feeding the pigeon. Tyler was in awe of this “pigeon whisperer” and said, “I wonder what food he uses..maybe we should bring that stuff next time!”
We decided that since it was 9:30 in the morning and we were already in Pittsburgh that we would take advantage of our Carnegie museum membership and spend a few hours at the science center before we head home for piano lessons and schoolwork. As we headed through the city to the museum we came up to a traffic light where a man was walking car to car holding a sign that said:
“I’m cold. I’m hungry. I’m homeless.
He was approaching our car and Molly asked me if I was going to give him money. I told her that I was going to give him the change I had in the car. She asked me, “Well, how do you know if he is really homeless? What if he isn’t telling the truth.” I told her that I don’t know but I give anyway. I told her that I have the ability to give a little so I choose to be charitable.. what he chooses to do with that money is between him and God. Tyler then piped up from the backseat, “What does his sign say?” so I told him…
As the man approached I rolled down the window and Tyler yelled out,
“How cold are you?!”
I quickly rolled up the window after handing him my change and told Tyler, “I’m sure he is very cold.”
Tyler then asked, “Well, why doesn’t he just go home.”
Gracie explained, ” He doesn’t have a home. He is homeless.”
Rusty then spoke up from the backseat, “You know, I never understood this..If homeless people don’t have any money then how to they buy the paper and markers to make their sign?”
Tyler quickly responded, “He probably stole it.”
I answered, “I’m sure he didn’t steal it.”
“He did, Momma,” Tyler said, ” but he doesn’t have to steal markers anymore.. He can use the money you gave him to buy one!”
Yep..changing the lives of the homeless one marker at a time. 🙂
Next stop..the moon..stay tuned for From Pittsburgh to the Moon part 2.