Archive for August 15, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Insightful, August 15, 2014
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Beautiful portrayal of those without homes to call their own. We try to pretend this side of society doesn’t exist but the harsh reality is that they do and they are people just like anyone else. Dennis Cardiff has done a great job of giving faces and reality to those who have none within our society.
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15 August 2014

Chuck was talking to a woman when I arrived. I heard him say, “Just half a cup. Thanks.” A few minutes later the woman brought him a Starbucks coffee.  With the lid still on, he swirled it a bit, “That feels about right.” Then he opened the lid,

“A bit too much. “I’m not going to be here too long. If I don’t finish what’s in the cup, it’s harder to dispose of.”

I asked, “So, is there any news about your new wheelchair?”

“No good news. I went there yesterday, because they said they had a white one in stock. Well, they couldn’t find it. They’re going to check into it. If they can’t find one in their stock, or somewhere in the city, I’ll have to wait until September. It’s really in the winter that I need it. I think that I told you that my bus has been rerouted because of road construction, that adds fifteen minutes to my ride. Instead of getting here at 6:00, I’m here at 6:15.”

I asked, “Will you be able to take your new chair on the bus?”

“No, it will be too big. I’ll be able to go everywhere on my own.  It has a heater, for the cold weather.  A larger battery so I can go farther, without a charge. I’ll be able to strap my walker to the roof, then when I get to the mall I’ll use that to get around. I’ll have disabled stickers on the front, back and sides, so they shouldn’t bother me about parking.

“There are a lot of people using those three-wheeled scooters, who aren’t disabled. I know a couple of them, they park across from the mall. They like to pretend they’re riding real motorcycles. They just hang out and drink their coffee. If they only knew how stupid they looked. One of them uses a cane sometimes, a wheelchair at other times, but when he needs to, I’ve seen him run. I don’t know what his game is.

“I was thinking about Joy. All these years of sitting on the sidewalk. Sleeping behind  dumpsters, getting wet. It only goes downhill. I’ve seen it too often. It took a couple of heart attacks for me to get clean I know she quit the crack, that’s great, but she has to quit cigarettes, pot, booze, eat properly and stay in a decent place. If not, she’ll go fast.”

I said, “I should be getting back to work, Charles… Did I say Charles? I meant Chuck.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ve been called worse.”

“I have a hard time remembering names.  I work with the woman that just walked by, but I couldn’t remember her name.”

Chuck replied, “I have the same problem. If I hear a story, I’ll remember it, but I won’t remember the name of the person that told it.  A lot of people get pissed off with me, because I don’t remember their names. They may have dropped me a quarter a year ago. I’m the guy in the wheelchair, they remember my name. They’re just a face in a crowd of thousands that walk by.”

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5.0 out of 5 stars HEARTWARMING JOURNEY WORTH EMULATING!, August 15, 2014
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This review is from: Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People (Kindle Edition)
Our big bad world is not so bad after all. There are countless people out in the streets doing their bits to ameliorate the condition of others. Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People by Dennis Cardiff is the story of one such Samaritan whose acts of kindness has altered not only the lives of others that he came in contact with, but his own life. In showing kindness to other, he experienced a life-changing transformation as much as it transformed the lives of others.

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People is a collection of delightful and thoughtful conversations with the homeless and panhandlers. Panhandler is a reference used for people who beg on the street. The book reads like a work of fiction but in actuality is factual in content. Dennis Cardiff has changed the actual names and locations of the people mentioned in order to protect their identity. What I understand from the reading of this book is not to highlight the work that he is doing but to bring to the notice of others the plight of the homeless people.

What really resonates with me is how the author’s life has been transformed. It goes without saying that we all carry our baggage of problems. Many of live and sleep with our problems thinking a way to get rid of them from our memory while we are still preoccupied with them. Dennis Cardiff offers the solution to that problem: helping the homeless, worrying about them, whether or not they would be able to eat and find a place to sleep took Dennis’ mind off his own problems. Helping the helpless was a life-changing experience. It is a heartwarming journey, truly inspiring and worth emulating.

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14 August 2014

Wolf said, “Dennis, I want to tell you about my adventures today. I saw Joy, by the way. I had to go to the hospital to see about my swollen elbow. First of all I went to my local clinic, they gave me a taxi chit to go to the hospital. I was just getting out of the cab when I saw these two women waving at me. I had to squint a bit and I wondered why two women would be waving at me.”

I said, “I guess that never happens.”

“No, it doesn’t. Then, I recognized Joy and Mariah, outside having a smoke. Joy was in a wheelchair. I went over and gave them each a hug, but I was there to get my arm fixed, so I couldn’t hang around. Joy knew what was wrong with my elbow. She said a name for it, but I can’t remember — bursitis, or some kind of itis. I went through the emergency entrance, filled out all their forms then I waited. I was probably there for about five hours. Finally, I got to see a doctor. He drained the fluid and left the intravenous thing in my arm. He gave me some antibiotics and said I’d have to go to a clinic in eight hours to have another dose. I went there, I didn’t have an appointment, so another wait. The doctor said, ‘I can’t help you. You’ll have to go back to the original doctor who treated you.’ So, back I go. I still had my hospital bracelet on, so I got on the fast track. The doctor wrote up some kind of paper to give to the clinic. It probably said something like, ‘Give this guy his fuckin’ medicine,’ or words to that effect. By this time It’s 2:30 in the morning. I asked at the desk if they could give me some bus tickets. They’d given me six before enough for three bus trips,  but the guy just said, ‘No.’ I walked home from the hospital so I’d have bus tickets to take me to the clinic today. I even got to my spot at 6:00 this morning. So, what do you think? Am I a good soldier?”

Debbie said, “Yes, Wolf, you’re a good soldier.”

“Dennis,” said Wolf, “can you spare a bus ticket. I’m still one short.”

I handed him one.

“Thanks, Dennis, you’re a lifesaver.

Wolf said, “I brought an umbrella for Shaggy. I had a little umbrella for myself.  I have to be careful not to be in wet clothes too long, because I’ll get a rash. That’s happened before.”

Jacques said, “Yeah, I got soaked in that rain yesterday. I came down here, nobody was around. I sat in the bus shelter, had a few beer until the rain stopped, then I walked home. About half way there, the rain started again. I put up a rod in my living room so I have a place to hang my wet clothes. At one end I have my fan blowing on them. That works good, but the humidity in my place is really high.

“Let me show you what I got this morning.” Jacques held up what looked like a tiny mitten. “Do you know what this is? It’s a change purse. Wolf, you want a change purse?”

I said, It’s the wrong colors. It’s blue and white, Maple Leaf colors. Wolf wants something with a toilet seat on it (referring to the Montreal Canadien’s logo.”

Wolf said, “Don’t start with me. I even wore my Canadien’s cap to the hospital, because they speak French there. I figured I’d get better treatment if they thought I was French.”

Jacques asked, “So, you want it?”

Wolf said, “No, it’s too small and dinky for what I need.”

Cathy said, “I’ve only got thirty-five cents. I guess I’ll pan for a while to get something to eat. Jacques, do you have an extra beer?”

“No, this is my last one.”

Wolf said, “Jacques is going to sit with my dog while I go to the clinic. Isn’t that nice of him? Jacques, I’ll leave you a few beer to keep you company while I’m away.”

Little Jake came walking up, with Mariah sneaking behind him. When he stopped she reached around and put her hands over his eyes.

“Mariah,” he said, “I know that’s you. I saw you back there.”

I said, “Mariah, I heard that you were visiting with Joy.”

“Yes, I saw her yesterday and again this morning. She doesn’t know when she’ll be getting out. They still don’t know what’s wrong with her. They’re thinking that it might be something hereditary, so they’ll be looking into her family records. She’s been doing a lot of physiotherapy. She’s getting a bit stronger.”

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