Yesterday was my first day at Big Marion. New Year, New Prison. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for breakfast. They had two big pancakes and cereal for breakfast. The pancakes were fluffy and delicious. When they call chow, you walk down by yourself. You don’t have to wait on the police or other people. Then I came back to my room and did my devotional. Then I took a little nap, woke up and read some more of my Bible. Then I went to lunch around 10:30 a.m. It was New Year’s Day so they had a special meal. It wasn’t pork and sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. It was fresh baked leg/thigh chicken with this awesome seasoning, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese and biscuits. Man was it absolutely delicious! The mashed potatoes were loaded with gravy and the mac and cheese was loaded with cheese. The chicken was to die for and well, biscuits are biscuits… we are in the South.
Then we came back from lunch and we had to lock down again. So I read some of Left Behind and took another nap. I was so tired from the long shipping day. After the lock down, we went outside for “Yard”. The Yard is huge, and it was actually the smaller one of the two. The unit I am in has two yards. The small one of the two has a weight area under a picnic shelter, volleyball court, basketball court and a walking/running trail. Then there was a group of people playing soccer. I walked with this guy named Timmy. He is a middle-aged gentleman who is in here for 20 years. I have no clue what anyone is in here for, because no one talks about it. It is nothing like Central Prison, where everyone talked about it all the time. It is wonderful. Not one person has asked me why I am in here. There are just normal conversations. Only 2 people out of the 32 people in my cell block have asked me my name. Timmy is a nice guy, spiritual and very respectful. I truly believe I am in the best cell block in the prison. Sometimes it is so quiet in this block that I think there is no one here. Even while we are in the day room. We came back from Yard, and I watched some TV. Then at 3:30 we locked down for 30 minutes and at 4:00 p.m., we went to dinner. They had real hamburger meat salisbury steak, with real mashed potatoes and gravy and broccoli. Like I said before, the food is way better here than Central Prison.
I forgot to mention when we were at the “Yard”, there is a beautiful view of the mountains about 1/10th of a mile from the prison. If there wasn’t a fence, you could walk to the mountain. There was also some deer roaming on the hillside. It was beautiful out yesterday. Then we came back from chow and locked down until 6:15 p.m. I read my Bible, did some word finds from my Genesis Word Find and listened to music. The prison is in the middle of nowhere, so we only get 2 FM stations. Luckily one of them is a Christian station and the other country. We only get 1 or 2 a.m. stations as well. That was one positive about Central. We were in downtown Raleigh and radio stations are abundant. I also started putting in requests for jobs. The CO (correctional officer) and Sergeant said that Teacher Assistant jobs are hard to get because they are fun, easy, and in close custody you have your own room. They also pay well. So people request not to leave close custody because they like it so much.
I applied for a job in the warehouse, and teacher assistant. I am going to apply to tie clothes and for the library. I also found out that they have a choir and a band for church. I am going to join the choir. They also have Bible Study every Tuesday and they have kairos once a month. It is a big prison ministry where volunteers come and pray with you and study the Bible. Sometimes they bring cookies. The only reason I know is because the church I used to work at participated. They went to Alexander Correctional to do their ministry. After lock down, I played Rummy 5000 with Timmy and two other older guys. Their names are Fish and Ray. They were cool and really laid back. Timmy bought me a Coke since my card hasn’t been reprogrammed yet. All he wanted is a soda when I get my card! Also, talk about cooking in prison. I didn’t see anything at Central. Here it is crazy. The night I shipped in, somebody made nachos. Last night I saw and tasted the ultimate… Burritos! Now let me say we don’t have a microwave. Everything “cooked” is at room temperature. This one guy made burritos. They had: Rice & beans, Ramen noodle, pulled pork, chicken, bacon, Doritos, cheese and on top, a homemade sauce that the guy made. It wasn’t the best thing I have eaten, but it wasn’t bad for what we had access to!
Their canteen is way better here. They don’t have any hot food, but they have subs and wraps. Most items are cheaper and they have way more hygiene and personal products. I think they have more food options too. We can visit the Canteen twice a day. You can also purchase minutes for your phone. It is like $3.00 for 15 minutes. You can two calls per week. I haven’t been able to call yet because I have to set up my phone account. Once I get all of this figured out, then I will be good. I took a shower yesterday in a shower that I could stand under. It wasn’t so hot that I got third degree burns. It was just right. One last thing. When I was sitting in the day room playing cards with the older guys, I felt like I was at an old folks home. They play every night. It was fun though. At 9 p.m. I listened to the Pastor Skip Hysick. He was excellent. That will be part of my routine. So far so good here at Big Marion.