People in our lives are like food: we can choose to allow them to be a part of our diet, or we can exclude them. We flavor our friendships with memories of our past. Sometimes we make healthy choices for our self-esteem, and sometimes we make choices that are not so nutritious. We are who we are because of choices and happenstance. Maybe we had a little shove from some unexpected angle, or maybe we didn’t. In any case, something helped us find the place we now occupy. People Are Food Too is a real life journey of a dyslexic, ADHD person. It is the story of poverty and wealth as well as a story of discovery. It is a non-chronological series of events that leads the reader to the conclusion that people are food for the soul. The people around us become the spiritual nutrition that inevitably defines our presence. We become that which surrounds us. In a sense we become our environment. Survival is not always a given and life is a fragile thing. A journey to the Deep South and the gulf coast is the foundation for this story. The struggle for survival and discoveries that jump the bounds of time and space are the walls that rest on the foundation. And the coincidental miracles cover and protect the interiors. It is all-true.
Alva Hazell was born in 1949 in a small shack in the heart of the Ozarks. His family lived in near poverty conditions for the first decade of his life. He attended parochial schools until he was sixteen years old. He had several undiagnosed learning disabilities that led him to failure during the first eight years of school. Failing first and fifth grades he was one of the older incoming freshmen to his high school. All through his high school years he experienced adversarial communications with counselors and teachers. In 1969 he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he spent four years as an active military person. When he was honorably discharged from the Army in 1972 he attended Southwest State University under the G.I. Bill. It was there he obtained a teaching Degree for art and theatre. He taught for 31 years in a small town deep in the Ozarks. During that time as an educator he obtained his masters in gifted education. He has been the author of various articles dealing with art education and working with gifted children. Today he is actively self employed building websites for friends and small businesses. He is an active artist and shares his work with community and friends.
It wasn't long until the waves were at our tent door, and the wind was beating the canvas of our shelter enough to send alarm through the two dogs and all of the human inhabitants. We took this storm seriously. The ocean was moving into the floor of our tent, and we began to strike camp. We had only the flashes of lightning and the dim glow of our Coleman lantern we had placed on top of the car giving a bi-directional radiation of light. Barbara gathered the dogs in each arm and leaped into the car as I, my mother, and brother broke camp. The car was packed in record time, and the tide had brought the ocean up to the level of the car tires as we drove for shore access. The waves hit the sides of the car with a clashing noise and once in a while you could see them sloshing up against the side windows. My brother was driving at high speeds across the packed sand, which now was becoming softer with the wave action. We were all looking for the break in the sea wall that would provide a ramp to give us access to pavement and solid land. Lightning and waves and wind all were fuel for the fire of anxiety in us all. This was no longer a leisure vacation along the beach. This was in fact a race to find shelter from the storm. We were in a life-threatening event, and for a brief moment, our concern became a mode of survival. The ocean continued to make its presence known to us through the flashes and constant strobe effect of the close and present lightning.
Excerpt rom chapter 3