Prophylactics, inebriates and pawn shops…


just 3 things Kjell and I saw on our way home from church last night.

We live on Anchorage’s east side, in a tidy little neighborhood just over 2 miles from the heart of downtown.  The church we attend sits on the edge of the down town area.

Between church and our neighborhood is an area of town in need of a little urban renewal.  It strikes me as a sad place.  I don’t avoid it, it does not scare me, and truthfully, I don’t want my kids to live in a world where they never see the tougher stuff.

Our kids have it pretty good:  cozy house, plenty of food, too much stuff…

I never want them to feel entitled.  Or superior.

Just blessed.

Anyway, we stopped by the local grocery store on our way home.  This particular store is right in the middle of the sad place.  Even the store is kind of sad, the produce is sort of wilty, and the milk is always marked down,  but we needed toilet paper, and that does not have a sell-by date.

So I parked the Honda in the back lot and out we hopped.  Right onto a couple of used condoms and torn wrappers.  Nice.

the near-teen says, hey mom, what’s that stuff?

prophylactics, says the mama.

Oh, says the naive one.


In the store, out of the store, back over the flotsam pile, into the car.

As we came to the intersection in front of the store there was a group of people sort of at the side of the street. But just sort of, because they were also in the street and back on the sidewalk, and back in the street.  Lurching and swaying.

Mom, are those guys ok?  the near-teen asks, concern on his sweet face

Sweetie, I think they are drunk.  the mama says, hesitant to state what seems to be a judgment.

Oh, that is sad.  the boy says quietly.

And the light turned green, and on we went.  Past the store, past a lot selling used cars and stopped at a red light.

Just to our left was a brightly lit, heavily barred building.  Cash Advance, PayDay Loans, We buy Jewelry, all spelled out in neon.

Mom, have you ever been in a pawn shop?  near-teen says with curiosity

yep.  the mama is all business.

What are they like?  his interest piqued

Kind of sad, predatory.  Igniting a discussion…

Then this light turned green and we went on, talking all the way home about pawn shop practices, exorbitant interest rates, the waste of  a life trapped in addiction,

and littering..


About Sandie

A little background: A mother of 3, two boys and a girl. Married young to a good man. No longer young, but he is still a good man. Grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, lived several years in small town Alaska, spent a couple years in the city of Madison, currently residing not too far from down town Anchorage. Drink a crazy amount of coffee. Fiercely loyal to my friends. Truly rabid in my defense of family. Beyond thankful that my God loves me enough to allow me to doubt and question.

4 responses »

  1. Ahh, dodging bullets. We have discussions similar here and it’s always a balance between honesty and telling a kid more than they are ready for. I love the life lessons from your discussions!

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