29 April 2015

Bearded Bruce was using the pay phone. I waited for him to finish. He said, “Hey bud, it’s good to see you. It’s been a couple of months now. It was a brutal winter.”

I said, “I’ve been looking for some of my friends. Markus, I talked with yesterday. I’ve met with Magdalene and Native Nance. I’ve seen Greg and Luther. Little Jake I’ve talked to on the bus.”

“You won’t see Jake for a while. Three days ago was check day.

“We’re still around. I pan on this corner then move on to the next block later on. I’m just waiting to hear about some work”

I asked, “What kind of work will you be doing?”

“Landscaping, the same as last year.”

I remembered that Weasel and Bruce shared that job last year. I didn’t want to mention that sad topic.

“Yeah, I’ll be doing some word for Stella, as soon as the ground is dry enough.”

I asked, “Have you seen Joy lately. Nancy was at her place for Easter dinner. Joy seemed to be doing fine then.”

“Well,” said Bruce, “she wasn’t inclined to listen to the advice of her doctor.”

“Yes,” I said, “I’m well aware of that.”

Bruce said, “I talked to Mariah yesterday, she hasn’t seen Joy for three days and she’s holding her check for her. She’s knocked on Joy’s door, but there’s no answer. It’s not like Joy to miss collecting her check. I’m going to drop by her place tomorrow.”

I said, “It was great seeing you, Bruce. Take care.”

“Take care, bud.”




30 April 2015

“Good morning, Chuck, How’s your day going for you.”

“Dennis, I hate to be the bearer of sad news, but Joy passed away. When they discovered the body they figured that she had been dead about three days. I almost wish it was me instead of her. I’ll miss her giving me a kiss on the cheek. Asking, ‘How’s it going you old fart?’ “

I said, “She’ll be missed by a lot of people. I’ve often told her my troubles. She was sympathetic, or at least acted that way. Have you heard any news about funeral arrangements.”

“They may have a small service at the Mission. I don’t know if she had any family.”

“She has five sons and two sisters who live out of town. She also has an uncle who would regularly ride in on his motorcycle.”

Chuck said, “I didn’t know that. When I die I don’t want any fuss. I’ve arranged for a woman to have me cremated then spread my ashes on the St Lawrence. I’ve enjoyed myself out there.

“As far as the rest of my family is concerned, they can all go to hell. I don’t want a service, no notice in the paper, nothing written about me. I don’t even want them informed. If there were a service they’d go there to be seen. They’d hang around saying  ‘Oh, Daddy this and oh, Daddy that.’ Now they don’t give a shit. I like  the native point of view, ‘Today is a good day to die’. Even in the bible they say let the dead bury their dead (Luke 9:60:  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

“There was a drunk guy who came around yesterday who said, ‘Chuck, it’s so good to see you. Remember this and remember that.’ I didn’t remember the guy. Later it came to me, I’d thrown him out of a bar where I’d worked as a beer jockey. He gave me a dollar, but I don’t want to see him again.”

I said, I have to go now Chuck, but take care. I’m sorry about Joy, we’ll miss her.”

“Yes, we all have to die.”

Read more about my friends at http://ow.ly/Nc8k0


  1. Oh. I feel like I’ve lost a friend. Condolences to all of her friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. narble says:

    It feels like someone in my extended family has passed. That’s a powerful example of the written word. Thank you, Dennis.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. riselikeair says:

    Wow, I feel as if someone I know personally has passed. My condolences to her family and friends. Thank you for sharing her stories with us.


  4. riselikeair says:

    Reblogged this on Rise Like Air and commented:
    Over the last few months I’ve come to know some of the street people of Canada through they eyes and writing of Dennis Carduff. His chronicling of everyday life has allowed many of us an insight into life on the streets that we otherwise would likely never have experienced. We’ve come to feel for them, hope for them and care about their stories. The loss of Joy has touched people many walks of life, people she never even knew existed.

    Dennis continues to tell their stories with dignity, caring and humanity. Joy, you will be missed, you’ve touched lives in ways you never realized. Respectfully thank you Joy, and thank you Dennis.



  5. I’m agreeing with everyone else Dennis, it does feel like a part of me has gone with Joy passing. I have, through you, shared all those lives over such a long time. Their day to day lives you have shown us until it seems that we become a part of that journey.
    My condolences to you, as you have become as close as family can be, and wanted to share their lives and connect where many would not.
    She is safe now…and free. Mark


  6. bizzywomen says:

    Sorry to hear about Joy.


  7. Gone, but not forgotten.

    So sorry to hear the news, but thankful that you shared her life with us, Denis.


  8. Ben Naga says:


    The birth then the death
    The rest of it we make up
    As we go along.


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