12/10/11, prison visit part 2…
Sitting in the car waiting. Photographed and copyrighted by VMS 12/2011.
6:52 AM, the truck ahead of me has just turned his or her vehicle on to warm up the inside of the truck. You can see the cold smoke in the air in reaction to the warmth of the vehicle coming out the sides of the truck and their bright red tail-lights.
When I first pulled in line, my car was hot. I had turned the heat up so my car would stay warmer for a little while longer. It was so warm I had to take my coat off. Now I can feel the cold gradually seeping in from the car floor up to my knees.
7:00 AM, a large truck with lights all around it, including its roof, just got into line. He cut through the Spring City Senior Center business parking lot and driveway beside the road by which we are all parked.
After parking, one person got out of the truck and is standing beside the truck, most likely to smoke. It’s so dark; it’s difficult to make out whether it’s a woman or a man.
See how strong the urge to smoke is! It about 20 degrees out and the urge to smoke overwhelms the urge for warmth and comfort. It demands the person’s attention. Little does he or she realize that in the end, smoking will also demand his or her life.
It finally gets lighter out and I can see it’s a lady out smoking. One lady, from the gold truck in the front of the line, walks back to talk to the lady smoking. Maybe they know each other. Who knows? The women, who come here to visit, build a kind of camaraderie. The two ladies talk for a while. If I was out there, I would be shivering by now. The one lady didn’t even have a heavy, warm coat on, just a light sexy jacket.
7:18, the sky is starting to lighten a bit more. You can see the flagpoles, but no flags are flying today. Workers, guards, staff, and etc. are beginning to arrive and leave the prison grounds. Shifts are changing. Weekend staff is now going on duty. I pray they will have a heart for the inmates they must care for and the families visiting.
I do not feel the panic and anxiety I once felt when I arrived for my very first visit. I feel calmness today. Maybe because I am writing directly on my computer today.
My computer gives me light. Photographed and copyrighted by VMS 12/2011.
I know the anxiety will come though when I go to check in. Will they approve my outfit? Will I be able to wear my coat or will I freeze? Will I get into to see Marcus? It’s the unknown that will haunt my thoughts until my “Outback” buzzer goes off and I am approved for entry.
7:23, another white car heads down the road beside me to line up, but they stop to ask the two women, outside the truck in back, questions. Are they newbies today? I feel for them if they are. Then they proceed to the back of the line. So far there are only six of us in line today.
Today when the sunrise rises, there is no beautiful sunrise. The cloudless sky is gray and cold.
7:35, the women are still standing outside of the truck talking. I must be a wimp as far as the cold is concerned. At least the wind doesn’t seem to be blowing as I notice that the limbs and leaves in the trees are all standing still now There is a slight fog noted in the distance. There are no birds in sight. The white windmill to the right of the camp on the prison grounds is even still today.
7:41, only 19 minutes left until we can go into the prison parking lot. My car is getting cold, but I’ll try to keep the heat off for just a little while longer.
7:43, another vehicle, a white van gets in line. Now there are eight of us in line. Seems heartbreaking that so few are here today, but as the day progresses more will come. I believe they are over 1700 inmates at FCI Low. FCI Camp visitors go to a different area for visitation; I think, I’m not really sure. There are over 250+ camp inmates.
7:50, a silver car pulls in, then a maroon van. Things are picking up. 10 minutes to go. I don’t envy the poor guard standing outside to talk to us and instruct where to go and how in the prison parking lot at 8:00 AM.
8:00, the procession of cars proceeds to the guard checkpoint in the parking lot. When my time came, I greeted the guard with a warm hello and advised him to try to keep warm. He just smiled and told me to go ahead and park.
I parked as close as I could to the Visitor’s Office because it was so cold out. Then I quickly got out of my car and took up my place in line. When I went into the building, I turned in my paperwork and driver’s license. I opened my coat for inspection. The lady guard told me I could wear my coat but no hood on the coat and no earmuffs. Then she gave me my “Outback” buzzer and I quickly returned to my car to begin the wait.
8:30, my buzzer didn’t buzz today, only the red lights started flashing. I got out of the car, locking my car, and went quickly back into the Visitor’s Building before I froze. I was visitor number four today.
See Part 3 for the rest of the visit.
Hope, Health, and Happiness,