Listeners React to Homeless Veterans, Saggy Pants

Hear listener feedback to recent stories on homeless veterans, and differences of opinion on saggy pants. Also, the program invites listeners to share their Thanksgiving stories.

MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now, it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on conversations happening on the TELL ME MORE blog and get a chance to hear from you.

Lee Hill, our Web producer, joins me here in the studio as always.

Hi, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, you remember this week, we honored America's veterans and we reported on a study that showed that a quarter of the homeless on the street on any given day are Veterans. Now, a group of us from the show went out to see if we could hear from people who wore the uniform but don't have a place to live. One of the people we met, John B. King, Jr., served in Vietnam. We asked Mr. King what Veterans' Day means to him.

Mr. JOHN B. KING, JR.: What does it mean to me? how can I answer this truthfully? I don't want to sit down and cry. That's not the way I was brought up. That's - what else can I do?

HILL: Well, the conversation caused Thad, one of our listeners, to think about his uncle who was also a veteran. This is what he posted to our blog.

THAD (Blogger): Interestingly enough, this aired just before my uncle died. He has served three tours in Vietnam and in returning to the U.S., he got involved in drug dealing. He was lucky in that when he needed it, I offered my help to (unintelligible) to have money just to eat, let alone medical care. I came to become a defender of him and became his guardian for several years. He probably would have ended up on the street had I not done that.

MARTIN: Thank you, Thad. That cannot have been easy for either of you. Well you also heard from us about how some cities are saying no to saggy pants and they're trying to pass laws to ban that style. It's clear that this issue touches a never because every time it comes up, I can tell you, we got some very strong reactions from people who absolutely hate the style and everything that it connotes.

But one of our listeners, Stan(ph), wants to know if it's really such a big deal. Let's bring him in.

Hi, Stan.

STAN: Hi, Michel.

MARTIN: So what's your take on saggy pants?

STAN: Well you know what it reminded me of? Reminded me when I was growing up in the 70s, and the Afros were a really popular style. Now, my mom was a child of the 50s and she thought a nice young man should have a nice, short haircut, preferably with a cut in the side. It reminds of that. I think if I were 15 now, I'd be wearing baggy pants. And I think it's sort of that, you know, the typical divide between old folks and young folks.

MARTIN: That makes sense but I think the problem arises when you're not 15 anymore in saggy pants.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Well, thank you, Stan.

STAN: Thanks, Michel.

MARTIN: And happy holidays.

STAN: You, too.

MARTIN: Lee, what else you got?

HILL: Well, a callout to you out there, our listeners. Thanksgiving is, you know, is coming up it's just around the corner. We're hoping you'll tell us what you'll be giving thanks for next Thursday.

MARTIN: And we also want to know if you've ever had a Thanksgiving that you'll never forget. Now, Lee, do you want to share your story so you give folks an idea of what we're looking for?

HILL: Well, I'll share just a little bit. Here's a short version. Of course, you can find the full version on our blog. I remember I was - I must have been a senior in college - and I could not go home to Milwaukee for the holidays and I was stuck here, no one here with me, no family here. And this woman, who I once attended church with, somehow got word that I was here alone and she came by my house and brought me a full Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, trimmings, family-sized just for me, and that really touched me and I am forever in debt to her. So…

MARTIN: Oh. You could have come over to my house. Oh, wait, I didn't know you then. Oh, never mind.

HILL: Oh, that's okay. I'll still take the rain check.

MARTIN: Okay. Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Remember to tell us what influences your attitude of gratitude. You can go to npr.org/tellmemore and blog it out.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.