life is not a matter of holding good cards

November 3, 2011

Hello mom,

I’m sorry about just now writing back. Things have been crazy these past few weeks.  We’re on lockdown right now.  They’ve been looking for weapons, drugs and phones.  A lot of inmates have been tested for drugs and coming up dirty.  It’s crazy mom,  because so many different drugs come through this unit.  It’s the officers that’s bringing it in, but if someone tells on the officer they get punished.

Okay now, I got moved from E pod 76 cell to 49.  Now get this – 49 cell is in the corner. On top of that the dude next to me has seizures, too.  I don’t know if it’s from epilepsy like me.  Just yesterday, on the second I had a seizure.  It was in the morning when it happened.  Later that night, after I went to sleep I woke up to get a drink.  I called to him to check on him because there’s a hole in our wall we can talk through.  He never answered so I thought he must be asleep.  However, right when I went to lay back down I heard him fall and hit his head. I called for the officer and asked others to help.  We started kicking the doors asking for help.  When they came, his mouth was all busted up.  Blood was everywhere.  Like I said, it’s crazy right now.  Get this, mom – he called me through the hole.  He says to me, “look”.  When I looked I saw he done cut himself with a razor.  I got help again by kicking the door.  I don’t think he’s all there in the head.  I’ve only been in this cell one day and it’s stressful.  I can be asleep and then I’d get up to check on him,  or if I’m asleep he starts hitting the wall and I would get up just to make sure he’s okay or if I need to get him help again.

I’m really thankful that you tried to help me get a visit with you son.  I think I was just so looking forward to it.  But hey, it’s not the first time I didn’t get a visit I thought was coming so don’t worry about it okay.  It would have been nice to see him, but I understand why he couldn’t come.  At least he got some time to spend with Megan and the kids.  I’m really glad that Jamie got some time to spend with his uncle. It’s hard when work takes you out on the road so much and you can’t be home with your wife and kids.  I understand that a lot.  But he has to do what he has to do to take care of his family.

Sorry about what happened at home.  Wow, that was some cuss words you used!  That was very shocking.  Lets just say I never thought you would use words like that.  But then again when I sometimes imagine the way you said them, I laughed.  I remember the letter  when you wrote about someone putting something in the kool-aid because they were acting crazy.  lol.  Sorry, it was just funny.

Snow, I would love to see it!  Eight inches!  I’ve never seen snow before.  I’ve seen a little ice here and there.  I’d love to stay somewhere it snows.  I just know it’s a beautiful sight.

How is Megan doing?  I still haven’t heard anything from her.  I’m worried about her as well.  Please try once more to get her to write.  If she doesn’t I feel as she wants me to leave her alone.

I love the books, mom.  Thanks.  Here’s a few things from the book we both have:  (1)When the going gets tough – Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but of sometimes playing a poor hand well. (2) A way of action – Real understanding comes from doing.  Only action has the power to turn knowledge into wisdom. (3) We have seen the enemy and it is (with in) us. (4) Life has cycles.  whatever goes up comes down, and what falls can rise gain. (4) Riding the natural cycles – Some of us interpret rough times as divine justice – a punishment from God.  I’d like to say that it isn’t God that punishes us.  We get opportunities to balance our life and to learn.

I want you to know  how much I appreciate you being there.  I wouldn’t know anything about my son without you telling me.  Please ask Megan again to write.

I love you, Son

PS Tell Megan I understand if she’s too tired to write and if she needs more time.

(Sonni’s note:  It’s hard to wait and wait for people to write.  He gives them excuses because it’s hard to think they don’t want to write – that he doesn’t matter anymore.  It would take so little time to buy a card, write a few lines, slap a stamp on it and mail it.  Nothing has changed since then and it’s been another three years.  There are people in my life who don’t understand why I do this for him –  write this blog and now the book. It all began because no one was writing to him and I knew how much my letters meant to him.  It’s discouraging to write letters to your family and not hardly get anything in return.  Do they even wonder how he buys the stamps.  It grew into a relationship of each of us holding the other up when we needed it. 

I know when he gets out it will be like throwing him to the wolves.  How can he know how to do even the simple things in life if he’s never done it before? How does he live a successful.  There is much we take for granted. I want him to have the chance to find out what he can do.  Go to school. Support himself and help raise his son.   In that aspect, I am his mother.  That is what a mother does.  He doesn’t want much.  Who will be there for him?  His family? So I keep writing to him and writing the book “Inside the Forgotten Outside”.  I constantly strive to learn the things I need to do for this venture to be successful. It is mind boggling.  But like I tell Jamie,  it all starts with having a dream.  Then you work at it every day and visualize it being completed.  Don’t let doubt get in the way.  Believe in yourself.  Your mind is powerful.  It will find a way to make it happen.  You either think you can or you think you can’t, and either way you go is right, because that is the way it will happen.  Taking a positive direction will have a positive effect. 

I have several sayings I repeat often. Here is one of them.  “The only legacy we can leave behind at the end of our life is the affect we had on other people.”  Then they affect other people.  That is how we live on.  I live my life with that in mind.  If what I do helps this man, then he will be a better father to my grandson and teach him the things he needs to knowIf I were to do nothing, what do you think the end result of that would be?  That end result scares me.

22 thoughts on “Life is Not Always a Matter of Holding Good Cards

  1. This rips my heart out. This could be my son….and it very well may end up being my son.
    Did you ever think about reaching out to the blogging community? I would be willing to write a letter or send a card to your son. From what I hear and have heard from my son, getting a visitor or a card…means so much.
    Those in jail are often forgotten or considered “animals who got what they deserved.”
    If you reached out….I think you would be amazed at the response.
    Let me know.


    1. Really, the people I’ve met through blogging have been tremendous. I know how much mail means. I know what it means to me as I go through the junk mail my husband brings in from the mail box and I sift through it to see if I have a letter. I have saved every single one. There are hundreds. There are many on the blog, although I take out things that aren’t in keeping with the subject of the post or things to personal to put in. I think someday his son will want to read them so if he ever had any doubts about how much his father loved him while he’s been locked up – he’ll know. he’ll be ten in July and has never felt his father’s touch. My daughter has not been willing to take him to the prison and the last time he saw him is when I made a trip to Texas 3 1/2 years ago. Lately I’ve had to postpone two trip. I was going the end of April but my mother had a stroke and she needs me. When I go i will take him in.

      Knowing how much mail means I write to 6 other inmates, too. It is the one way someone can help. I have just started a newsletter called ITFO (Inside The Forbidden Outside) The title of the book I’m writing. I’ll be putting it out once a month unless I have something important that needs to be said. I will be putting (Hopefully) pictures and profiles of one or two inmates that want penpals. The have all been vetted and written to by a man who also writes a lot of letters. If you’d like to be on the mailing list just write to Jamie’s address is: James Cummings #1368189, Allred Unit, 2101 FM 369 North, Iowa Park, TX 76367

      Thank you for your kind words.


  2. Powerful. Never give up. I have a nephew who spent years in juvenile correction. He emerged, is now the loving father of 4 children, is a master chef in training. Life is in constant flux. 💕


    1. I’m glad he is doing well. So many don’t, so to hear of someone who kept his determination to have a better life, it is so encouraging. For some it is so hard if they don’t have family to support and understand them. And many have no education or even a GED to find work. I have just started a newsletter with the same title of a book I am writing about Jamie’s life (there are chapters on the blog), although I have shortened it to an anagram “ITFO” Inside The Forbidden Outside. I’m putting out the second issue in ab0out 10 days. If you’d like to subscribe just send an email to I don’t have the subscribe button on the blog yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Second thought – I will be writing a sequel to this book. The second one will be about getting out and the problems and issues of reintegrating. Most people have no idea about prison so they certainly don’t know about anything else. I know he was “only” in juvy, but being locked up, is being locked up. If possible I might want to talk to him. There is no rush, but if we talk I can keep the notes until then and either I can mention him or not when I write it,depending on what he is comfortable with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He is intensely private. He doesn’t share his experience with family. Not sure he’d open up for a writing project. But I’ll let you know. Thanks for your efforts, it’s important work. 💘

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It was more the matter of just moving on with her life. They were young. It was a romantic gesture to say she’d wait, and she did write in the beginning, but they hadn’t been together long enough to have a commitment that could stand the test of time. She’s gotten angry at me because I keep pressuring her to at least write to him about his son and send pictures or schoolwork so he knows how his son is doing. She resents me for the time I spend on him – I am in the middle. But what do I do? Stop after all these years? I don’t think so. She will also have to deal with it when he gets out. I know she still has feelings for him and seeing him face to face again is what I think scares her. Right now our communication isn’t good because of this. He asks me to ask her to please write to him about his son. She also won’t take him to see him. Yes, it’s a three hour drive one way, but she just won’t do it. I’m in a dilemma.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A dilemma it is indeed. I do understand how she feels. Afterall she’s human and this must be really tough on her but note that you’re doing a great deed which would in the end be good for all parties. Afterall, it is not only for Jamie but for all who find themselves in similar situations.That should be above all things!!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Agreed. Right now she feels I’m just “ramming him down her throat”. So I won’t say anymore. I won’t ask her to send pictures or write to him. I shouldn’t have had to ask her. She isn’t looking at this from Jamie point of view or their son. There is more to the story. She just very angry with me. As I write this book I have to be very careful what I say about all other parties because it isn’t about them but about his reaction to how he’s been treated.

          Liked by 1 person

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