Rimouski – 20 December 2013

Posted: December 20, 2013 in Dialog, Prose
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20 December 2013

Snow was blowing horizontally, cutting into my face. I used my umbrella to keep dry and to aid visibility. Ghislain was in his usual spot. Snow had piled on the hood of his parka and on his shoulders. I crossed the street to talk with him.

“How is it going today, Ghislain?”

“It’s okay, not as cold as yesterday. Last night at about eleven it rained for  a while. At about three it turned to snow.

“I heard that Shakes was nearly run over by a car. He was walking across Merivale.  Some drive really fast there. Anyway,  he stepped off the curb and a car came screeching to a stop. He just kept shuffling along. Maybe he was high.  I don’t know.”

“That’s the second time I’ve heard of that happening. This summer, on Moriset, he was hit by a car.

“I guess Joy decided not to come down.”

“I didn’t think she’d be here. The weather is too miserable for her. I hope we don’t get too much snow tonight. They’re predicting five to ten centimeters (two to four inches) Saturday and Sunday. They’ve posted a  Storm Watch, they say ‘Freezing rain and heavy snow could result in dangerous driving across Ontario this weekend.’ I hope it’s okay for taking the bus tomorrow.  It’s a lot colder in Rimouski.”

“You leave tomorrow, don’t you?”

“Yeah, tomorrow afternoon. I take a bus to Montreal, then to Quebec City, then to Rimouski, three buses. My brother will pick me up at the bus depot. I have an appointment here on January ninth, so I’ll be back for that.”

“Would you like a sandwich or coffee?”

“No,  I’m good, man. Have a merry Christmas!”

“You too, Ghislain. I’ll see you when you get back in January.”


17 December 2012

This morning, on the number fourteen bus, I met Irving. He’s now clean-shaven with short hair. We haven’t seen each other since the summer.

“How’ve you been Irving?”

“Okay, I’ve been staying at the Oaks for the past few months. I’ve been trying to get in there for five years. Finally my name got to the top of the list. Both me and my friend, Guy started at the same time, so that’s good. I’m in a no smoking building now. I’m trying to transfer to a building where they allow you to smoke in your room.


“They’ve got me on a program where I get an ounce of wine every hour. I’m not allowed to drink anyplace else.

“I went to court and the best my lawyer could do for me was six months probation and sixty hours community service. Also I’m not allowed to be anywhere near any place they serve or sell alcohol. Right now I heading to a meeting with my probation officer.


  1. Peter Notehelfer says:

    Thanks Dennis . . . I too have a brother who picked me up at the bus station for Christmas one year . . . I remember another I spent on the floor of the Greyhound Bus Station snowed in in Buffalo trying to get to Erie where somebody had invited me up from the City for Christmas . . . Thanks for being a friend to the Ghislains of the world . . . You are the hands of Jesus, who as St Theresa said, has no hands but our hands . . .


    • Thanks Peter, for your kind words. Travelling is often very difficult at this time of year.

      When I have a decision to make I often think to myself, What would Jesus do?. The answer always comes back Act in the spirit of Love. Merry Christmas. ~ Dennis


  2. omtatjuan says:

    HOMELESS HAVE A TOUGH TIME HERE.. I cant even imagine what it is in Toronto.. Yikes..


  3. I live in rural Pennsylvania. After 13 years in Southern California, I’m having a tough time acclimating to the weather here. I can’t imagine the misery and hardship that homeless people in Canada must endure! Bless you for your blog. I hope that you get many, many more followers who will be touched by the plight of the homeless in America.


  4. Thanks for sharing you thoughts and feelings Dennis, as my thoughts and prayers are with those in need of help in this woeful weather and that they get the support they deserve. After all we are all on this earth to understand and help each other. Once again many many thanks. Regards, james


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