Alphonse Jr. Dies – 7 August 2012

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,




Alphonse Jr. Dies 

7 August 2012

Monday mornings have always been considered unproductive days for panning. The reasons given are that office workers, returning after the weekend, tend to be tired, grumpy and not particularly generous to those in need. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised to see the spots usually occupied by Mo and John were vacant. I looked farther up the street and saw Magdalene.

“Hi, Magdalene, do you mind if I sit down?”

“Hi, sure, sit.”

“He died two days ago.” Baby Alphonse Jr. would have been eight weeks old. I had talked with Magdalene last week. Social Services had found a nice place for her and her husband Alphonse to live, near the hospital. The last time I saw them as a couple was before the birth. They were both excited about their expected son. I was shocked to hear that their baby died. I never know what to say at times like this.

“I’m terribly sorry to hear that. You must feel devastated.” I put my hand gently on Magdalene’s shoulder, knowing that she doesn’t like to be hugged.

“I’m okay.”

“How is your husband, Alphonse taking it?”

“I don’t know.” she replied.

“I’m asking too many questions. You have my deepest sympathy.”

“Do you have a cigarette? No, I remember, you don’t smoke. I’ll see if I can find one.” She stood up and walked to an outdoor ashtray, near the door to Starbucks. She picked out a couple of butts and returned to her spot.

“Perhaps, I’ll see you at noon, Magdalene. Once again, I’m so sorry. Remember, you are loved by many friends.”

At noon I walked to the park. Sitting on the curb, hiding under a baseball cap and behind a bushy gray beard, was Serge.

“Hi Serge. I haven’t seen you for the past week. Have I missed anything while I was away?”

“No, every day the same thing.” I noticed that he had a black eye.

“Serge, did you fall again?”

“Yes, I fell. I was walking between two cars to have a pee, and I fell.” This is Serge’s standard excuse for black eyes. A few weeks ago he had two, probably from beatings. He doesn’t want to cause any trouble for anybody. Also, he’s afraid of repercussions.

“I’m sorry to hear that Serge. You take care. I’ll see you later.”

Walking further up the sidewalk I met Nancy. “Hi Trudy, I was so sorry to hear that Magdalene’s baby died.”

“I didn’t know that. When did it happen?”

“She said it was two days ago.”

“I saw Alphonse this morning, but he wasn’t talking to anyone.”

“That’s the reason. I’m sure he’s very upset. He wanted so much to be a father.”

“Dennis, do you have any more of those Tim Horton’s cards? I was just talking to Nick. He said he was hungry.”

“Sure, I’d be pleased if you gave it to Nick. I really admire what he does to help people.

”If you see Larry, tell him that I’ve finished the first three volumes of ‘Confessions with God’. He recommended them to me. I really enjoyed them, so if he has any more recommendations I would be interested in hearing them.

“I’ll see you later.”

“Bye, Dennis, thanks.”

I next went to what Shakes calls his ‘office’, a curb beside an underground parking garage on Laurier Street near Kent. “Hi, Shakes, I have a pair of track pants for you (50% off, at Goodwill). Do you want to try them on?”

“Thanks, Dennis, I’ll try them on later, after I’ve had a shower.

“You know, Dennis, I’ve been in this spot for seventeen years. At first it was just a dirt parking lot. The owner asked me if I’d pick up any trash. I said, ‘Sure!’ He gave me five bucks a day. Now it’s become a condo city.”

The parking lot attendant came over and asked Sparky if he would mind moving over about a foot, because he was in the path of cars entering the garage. Sparky obliged.

“Yesterday, I went to visit my daughter, Hattie and my grandson. It was Hattie’s birthday. She was in bad shape. Her boyfriend had beaten her up.”

“I’m so sorry, Shakes. I also heard that your daughter Fran was beaten, and her boyfriend, Gene is now in prison. I heard that she has hairline fractures in her spine from when he jumped her.”

“Yes, Fran was there too. They’re both in rough shape. I can’t understand these guys.”

“Dennis, would you mind doing me a favor? Would you buy me a salad from the restaurant behind us? Maybe, cole slaw, or potato salad, whatever they have… and pepper… and don’t forget a fork.”

“Sure, Shakes.” I came back with his salad and said, “Perhaps, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Sure, I’ll be with the rest of the congregation.”

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  1. KraftedKhaos says:

    I find myself torn, with blogs/posts like this. I want to hit the ‘Like’ button, to let you know that I like that you posted about something, but on the other hand, I don’t want to, because who can like reading about all the sadness?

    Thank you for sharing this little seen and even lesser understood slice of humanity.

    • dcardiff says:

      Thanks for your empathy. My heart goes out to my homeless friends who suffer more tragedy, and die earlier, than the general population. I enjoy my time with them, knowing that they will not be here very long. If I can make their last years, or days, even a bit easier, I am honored to do so.


  2. Hello Dennis,
    I am so sorry to hear your friends baby.
    I read this with bittersweet emotions The sadness; (read bitter) of a tiny life never getting a start, the parents grieving while trying to just survive.
    And the sweet; the compassion & empathy your express so well not just out in the concrete jungle, but are able to import into your written words you share here.

    I came by to thank your for following LBB but was complete;y bowled over by this share.
    Thank you for what you do Dennis.
    I rarely re-blog anyone but would you mind if I re-blog one of your posts? Or maybe you could suggest a particular post. I would like others who are not aware of your blog that follow me, to be so.

  3. phillymanjim says:

    Dennis, Please convey my deepest condolences to Alphonse and Magdalene on the loss of their son Alphonse Jr.

  4. katharynep says:

    oh so dad

  5. Selah Vita says:

    so sorry to hear about their baby…very sad…praying for them and all your friends on the street…you’re a very kind person, i pray God gives you all you need to help them and blesses you for all you do…

  6. Keep it up buddy, much respect x

  7. MikeW says:

    I’m sorry about this.

  8. Thanks to this blog, I feel that what I rave on about on my own blog is irrelevant and completely unimportant. Still, the show must go on and I must continue to blog about trivial things. What else am I going to blog about?

    People like you deserve all the respect and recognition you get. Keep up the awesome work. xxx

    • dcardiff says:

      Hi Freda, thanks for your kind words and for following my blog. I love your comment “You can be anything you want to be.” Don’t worry about criticism and just delete the comments you don’t like. Be yourself, everyone else is taken.

      I’m following you now and will visit often. ~ Dennis

  9. I’m terribly sorry for everything they’re experiencing… my prayers are with you, them, too.

  10. I worked with the homeless for a period of time. Your post reminds me of the friends on the street I made … I am so very, very sorry about your friend’s baby. Disenfranchised grief.

    Most of us are one or two paychecks away from homelessness. Sigh. But as you know, there is much which leads to homelessness… it is not just one variable, like affordable housing … It is many things. Anyway, I digress.
    I enjoyed your post and look forward to the next one.

    • dcardiff says:

      Hi Linda, thanks for kind words. I have friends who were, at one time, social workers. They described the frustrations of the job and the stress it caused. I’m glad that my association with the homeless is purely personal with no employment obligations involved.

      I was once a workaholic. It cost me my first marriage. Now I work without stress and with regular hours. I even have spare time at my job to write. I enjoyed your descriptions of how your life was before your accident — Whack-A-Mole.


  11. collynblake says:

    Thank you for all you do! I don’t know how you carry on, on days with that much sadness and cycle. You are incredible for them and for giving your friends a voice. Thank you for opening our minds and hearts. Heard the old song, Mr. Wendell by arrested development in the 90′s, the other day and it reminded me of you. Blessings’!!

  12. THEJNSREPORT says:

    So many of us are leaving this wretched world every day. I pray that Alphonse jr rests easy till he sees his family again in God’s Kingdom.

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