Move Along! – 10 January 2014

Posted: January 10, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,




“Hi Chuck!” I said, “I haven’t seen you since before Christmas.” He had his wheel chair parked in front of Tim Horton’s . Snow was mounding on his woolen cap, his shoulders and forearms. Sandy was wrapped in a blue blanket on his lap.”

“The reason I’m not on my usual corner is because the cops chased me away. I think it was that black-haired bitch from the hotel that called them. I’ve been there for years now, nobody complained before;  mind you she doesn’t usually come out this early.”

“Hippo tried panning there in the summer a few times. She came out and asked us to move along. Hippo never has much luck panning.”

“I wouldn’t be here if Joy was at her spot.  I don’t cut anybody’s grass. Sometimes there is a native couple on the next block. They’re nice, especially the woman.  They don’t stay long  — collect enough for a couple of beers then they leave.”

“Yes, that would be Alphonse and Magdalene. They’re nice people.”

“There is one guy I don’t like; the guy who stands in Joy’s spot. He’s a bad one. He doesn’t even live here. He’s got a place near Sherbrooke. He went there for Christmas. I don’t know why he comes down here, but one thing he told me is that he had seventeen hundred dollars. He was going to party until that ran out, then he’d be back.”

I said, “That would be Ghislain. He told me that he’d been sleeping outside, in a parking lot nearby.”

“No, he’s never slept outside. He stays at the Shepherd’s, the Mission or the Sally Ann, anywhere they have a bed. He eats his meals there too.

“I don’t like the way he talks to Joy. The last time she was down he was standing in her place.”

“He told me that had been his place before Joy took it over. That would have been fifteen years ago.”

“What he said to her was, “You can stay here until nine o’clock, then fuck off.’ I don’t like it when men talk that way to women. There’s no reason for it. If I could stand up I would have done something about it. When I was younger I did.

“Joy should be down here. You have to be at your spot regularly. That’s how people get to know you. Also, she sits too far back. People don’t want to go out of their way to drop change. I’ve told her all that. but does she listen? No.”

“Would you like a coffee?”

“Yeah, a coffee would be nice — extra small, two milk, one sugar.”

When I came back with his coffee I asked, “How has Sandy been?”

“She’s been okay, got sick once over Christmas, nothing serious. I’ll tell you one thing though; I was sitting in my kitchen and, from the corner of my eye, I saw a movement. Sandy had her nose under the cupboard. She’d cornered a mouse. I talked to my landlord and he gave me one of those humane traps. They don’t kill the mice just contain them in a cage. I put bait in it and the next morning there was a big, fat mouse in there. I guess she’d been eating Sandy’s food. I let her go outside. I set up the trap again just in case there were more, but I only caught the one.

“This snow wasn’t supposed to start until later. Then they say we’re going to have freezing rain. This has been a bad winter — intense cold, freezing rain, snow, ice.”

So, did you see your family at Christmas?”

“I went to my granddaughter’s place. They had to carry me up the stairs.  I had a walker but I broke it.

“It was okay.

“I won’t be here next Monday or Tuesday. I have plans. There’s something that I need to get settled for once and for all. I hope I can.”

“Perhaps, I’ll see you next Wednesday.”

“It depends on the weather.”

“All the best, Chuck “


    • Thanks for reblogging my post. It is much appreciated. ~ Dennis


    • memo5209 says:

      Thanks for looking at my blog, Ginger Root. I’m very familiar with the process of recovery. In mine, many times I lapsed back into my drug and alcohol addiction. I finally earned a BA. Alcohol is either a great restorer of sanity through constant depreciation of character, so ulimately we change. Or it is a gateway drug. Both scenarios work in my life. i salute you as you, “trudge the road to happy destiny.”


  1. As sad as this sounds i could read these stories of real life all day long


  2. sheenmeem says:

    Thanks for your stories. They show me God’s mercy on me that I am not a homeless person.


  3. Peter Notehelfer says:

    Change the names and the places and it would be your story or mine . . . Where are we all but on our way to taking care of that one thing that needs taking care of, if we can do it . . . And then there’s always the hand of some stranger that shows up with a small cup of coffee, two creams . . .


  4. You capture so much, so simply but so powerfully.



  5. dixieminor says:

    I love your blog. Thank you for telling us their stories.


  6. Hi there friend! I love your stories, I love the fact that you have names here… they are like invitations to the lives of those in grater need. I have a question… Does Chuck have a place to call home? Is he homeless or someone who comes out to ask for change? either way, please tell him one of your virtual friends says hi, will definitely keep him and his friends in prayer… 🙂 Jesus loves him so very much… the weather here has been just like that one, I actually fell big time this morning as I got out of my house to start my car…. there was a thin blanket of ice and I did not see it, though my husband had told me to be careful when going out side…. I go to Philly sometimes and there are 6,000 people sleeping outside in such cold season, my heart breaks, I have been praying for all of them believing Jesus will help me find an answer… our Church is opening a food storage where people in the community can come get whatever they need no cost… and that is part of the answer, I just need to find my part and do it… if we all did our part, there won’t be Chucks on the streets… Thank you for doing your! hugs, Maria


  7. Sometimes, all it takes, to make someone’s day a WHOLE lot better is just by listening to what they have to tell you, and yet, people have this tendency, to focus too much on their own “stuff” to even give a D-A-M-N.


  8. leewriter says:

    It’s an interesting blog you have, Dennis. The individuals you write about could be labeled “homeless” but then again, home is where the heart is. Some of these people who’ve developed a solid network of friends and know where to go if they need food and/or a place to stay (even if it’s just overnight) probably don’t feel homeless. They’re comfortable with who they are and know how to obtain just enough $ to get what they want/need (food, drink, perhaps alcoholic, perhaps not, lodging, etc.) whereas someone who’s just become homeless/a street person, because they’re not used to their situation and don’t know the locations and policies of shelters, missions, food kitchens, government agencies, etc., may really feel lost and homeless.

    There’s the guy who somehow accumulated $1,700 (was it all panhandling?) was going to use it to party like a rock star or whatever so he obviously doesn’t feel homeless. He’s got a party game face on. I’m sure it’s been done before. I’ve thought an interesting character in a novel or movie would be a person who voluntarily becomes homeless even though he/she has a job so they can save the $ on rent or mortgage and make it easier to save up money to spend on a big-ass vacation or something like that. There’d be a perception that this poor person is living on the street, shouldn’t we feel sorry for them while the truth was they’re just looking to save up money faster by not paying rent/mortgage.

    Thanks Dennis. You’ve provided food for thought like usual. Take care.


  9. thisoldtoad2014 says:

    Reblogged this on thisoldtoad.


  10. glenn2point0 says:

    I’ve seen the same “move along” done by police here too. There is a guy a see regularly and a few times when he is resting, squatted in the street, the police have asked him for ID and asked him to move along. A new initiaive is being launched here in NSW to train all police to deal more effectively with members of the community who have mental health issues. It will be interesting to see the outcomes in the future.


    • Hi Glenn, I’m glad that a new initiative is being launched in NSW. Unfortunately, in Canada they cut funding for mental health, force the patients out on the streets. These people are not employable, they have no skills, they are addicted to drugs or alcohol. If they commit a crime, they can be off the streets during the winter months, however they get no treatment for their mental conditions or addictions. When they are released they are even less employable. I’m sure this makes sense in the eyes of the government. ~ Dennis


      • glenn2point0 says:

        hey Dennis, The theory of training for police sounds good but the proof will be in the implementation. Like all things, some officers will implement it better than others. Mental health issues are very big here too and many of the same problems identified. During the Sydney 2000 Olympics I saw the Move Along rule at its worst: move them along to the next Council so that it wax no longer their problem. Truly disgraceful. cheers, Glenn


  11. I’ve seen the same here. as the saying goes, “not in my backyard”. ~ Dennis


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