Posts Tagged ‘charity’

31 May 2013

Last week the temperature was below freezing (28 degrees F) today it’s hot (90 F) with the humidex reading it feels like 110. Nobody in the park had much energy. Hippo had a bad sunburn on both of his legs.

I said, “I heard of Hippo’s adventures last night. What else happened?”

Joy said, “It was hilarious, I got a phone call from Mariah, she said, ‘You’ll never guess, but Hippo phoned. He just got out of jail.’ I said, ‘I’d wondered what happened to him. He was in my apartment, I went out to get some honey garlic wings, when I came back he was gone. I ate four and put the rest in the fridge.’ ”

“How can someone, going from point A to point B, end up in jail?”

Hippo said, “It was because of that bitch.”

“What bitch? You mean that crazy Portuguese woman down the hall?”

“No, the bitch cop. Sorry, I meant woman cop.”

I said, “Hippo, you could have been shot.”

“She had her gun out, alright. She said,  ‘Get down!’  I got down. They put the hand cuffs on and dragged me to the back of the cruiser. That’s how I got these scrapes on my arm.”

Joy said, “I’d rather be shot that tazed. When they get you down they always give you a few extra zaps to increase the pain.

“Let’s back up a bit, Hippo, I don’t mind you calling her a bitch. I got no problem with that, but you chased a woman with a hammer?

“I guess I did. I don’t remember.” Joy smacked his left sunburned thigh, Mariah smacked the other.”

Joy asked, “How do I know that some time you won’t hit me with a hammer?”

“I’d never do that, Joy.”

“You just keep talking and I’ll do to you what I did to Brian yesterday. He just wouldn’t stop talking.

“Yesterday, you and me went to the bank. You could only get $120.00 out.”

“Yeah, that’s all the bank machine would let me take. We’ll go back today and I’ll talk to a teller.”

Joy said, “You mean go inside the bank, just like humans?”

“Yeah, just like humans.”

“Then we’ll go to my place and finish those wings.

“Before this night’s out I’m going to get your PIN (Personal Identification Number) for the bank machine.”

Hippo said, “What year was the first Harley built?”

“1903?”

“That’s my PIN.

“People always say I’m full of shit, but down a quart.”

Joy was looking beyond the railing into the park, “Jacques, take a look. Doesn’t that dog look just like Harley; you know, Rosie’s dog — Big Titties Rosie?”

“Ah, yes, I remember her. Harley looked something like that but didn’t have the white on his nose. Also, he was skinnier.”

“I know it’s not the same dog, but the same breed.”

“Yes, maybe you’re right.”

Deaf Donald was sitting beside me. He’s been deaf since birth, so he sometimes has trouble communicating. He said, “I can read lips, you know. Even if two people are across the street I can tell what they’re saying. It nearly got me in trouble one day. I walked across the street and repeated word for word what these people had been saying. The guy got really pissed off.

“I’ll show you. I’ll go over to the fence and you mouth something. I’ll tell you what you said.”

I mouthed, “Hi Donald, are you having a good day?”

“You said, Hi Donald, you’re deaf. Is that right?”

“No, I said, ‘Hi Donald, are you having a good day?”

“You move your lips too fast. Let Joy try it. Say something to me, Joy.”

You said, “I’ve got shit stains on my underwear?”

Joy said, “That’s right. That’s what I said.”

Donald said, “I got news for you. I’m not wearing underwear.”

Joy said, “I’m not sure if I really want to go there, but why aren’t you wearing underwear?”

“Because I’m wearing white pants and I’m clean.

“I have to go for my methadone treatment, but after that I’ll buy some chicken and maybe Hippo and I could come over to your place for supper?”

“That ain’t hapennin’, dude. You’re never coming to my place. I’m down here, dude. Look at me.”

Donald left, Joy said, “That guy gives me the creeps, especially when he does that thing with his eyes. I think he was dropped on his head too many times when he was a baby.”

I said, “He told me that — while his mother was pregnant with him, his father beat her up and threw her down a flight of stairs.”

“Yeah, I heard that. Just before my second son was born, my ex beat me something fierce. The baby was born with a broken leg and two broken ribs. Jay did two years for that.

“I can also read lips and sign. When I was a kid I had lots of ear infections and got a perforated ear drum. I can’t hear with my right ear. It’s handy sometimes even with Donald. I watch his eyes, and can say things when he’s not looking.”

Sample my books for free — To date $1745.00 has been donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($4.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($4.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($4.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

homeless family L

 

16 May 2013

Today the park was cool and breezy.  I had two books for Heinz, one by Ken Follett, Winter of the World and one by Dick Francis, Comeback. From reading the backs they seemed like the type of shoot-em-up books that he would enjoy. Shakes was seated on the curb, lying back into the bushes, sound asleep.

Jacques said to me, “I don’t think you’ll see Joy today. She hasn’t been panning for the past few days. Today is the day that Big Jake gets out of prison.”

I said, “I wonder how that’s going to work out. She already has broken ribs.  Jake may be upset that it was her testimony that sent him to Milhaven. Also, he’s going to be upset with Andre, who will be no match for him.”

Jacques said, “I talked to Mariah,  she said that Joy hasn’t been home. She did mention going to Chuck’s place for some moose steaks. Maybe she stayed over there. Maybe she went to visit Outcast. I hope not, he’s not good people.”

Wolf added, “Yeah, what’s the point of going to his place if, ten minutes later, he throws you out.”

Shakes woke up, “Hello Dennis, I was just having a little cat nap. The blood suckers were after me this morning.”

“What do you mean the blood suckers were after you?  Do you mean the police?”

“No,  at my doctor’s, they took a whole lot of blood out of me. My arm is still sore.”

“Is Danny still staying at your place?”

“Yeah, he’s still there.”

“I bet he likes to clean and tidy things. Am I right?”

“Yeah, he likes to tidy things.”

Wolf motioned me over. “I want to tell you something in confidence.” I moved closer. “I went to my legal aid worker this morning. She’s really a nice person… You remember, when I was charged for treating Shaggy too rough. Well, that’s going to court soon. Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was, she said to me, ‘Wolf, you don’t have to wait until you have legal problems to visit me. You can come anytime, even if you just want to talk.’  I wanted to share that with you. I thought it was really nice of her.

“You know, I just found out today about Weasel’s death and his funeral. Jacques went. The place was packed. I couldn’t go. Anyway, I was too drunk. If I’d walked all the way here, then walked to the funeral parlor, I wouldn’t have had enough energy to walk home. I would have ended up sleeping at ‘the heater’, then I would have had the police to deal with.

“Little Jake went. He was drunk and caused a big scene. Trudy was there, she brought this new purple leash for Shaggy. That was nice.  Anyway, I’ve finished with you. Thanks for bringing me the books. I really appreciate it. I mean it. Now, go!”

It was time for me to leave for work, so I shook hands with the group.  When I approached Raven I said, “You’re looking really nice today. You’re beautiful.”

“Thanks, Dennis.”

 
 

Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

 

 

foo

 
8 May 2013

Clark was sitting in Joy’s spot again today. Still no word about her condition. I said, “Good morning, Clark. Joy has been injured. Someone punched her in the face, she fell and hit her head. She’s had a lot of stitches. Nobody seems to have much information.”

“Did she get in a fight with a woman?”

“No, it was a man. Joy will take on anybody. She brags that she doesn’t punch like a woman.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. I know her well. She can have her spot back any time she wants. I didn’t know what had happened to her.”

“Yesterday we were talking about your philosopy of being a Stoic Epicurean. I looked that up on the internet, and now understand more about it.”

“My philosophy, as you call it, covers a broad range from Mythology to Modernism. You could say from Zeus to Seuss, if you catch my meaning.”

I asked, “What books are you reading now?”

“I like to read historical fiction. the last book I read was Russka: The Novel of Russia, by Edward Rutherford. It spans 1800 years of Russian history, people, politics . It’s played out through the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of their land.”

I said, “I’ve read his book London. I really enjoyed it.”

“Russka is similar in that it’s played out through the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of their country.

“I don’t read very much since last March, or if I do I try to get the large print novels.”

“What happened last March?”

“Someone dropped some XTC , or possibly Xalatan in my coffee, or my food. Joy has had the same experience. At first I was disoriented, confused, paranoid. I had shortness of breath. I didn’t know what was happening to me. My vision is still blurry.”

“Why would somebody do that. It’s insane.”

“It could be part of some sort of initiation —  a fraternity or sorority prank. I have no idea. Somebody singled me out for some reason.

“These things are a lot more common in Vancouver.”

“Did you live for a long time in Vancouver?”

“I was there on and off. In the security field I wasn’t allowed to live within an hour’s drive of Toronto. The idea was that if I was being followed I had that much time to notice the tail, call for backup, change route, or whatever it was they wanted me to do. I never knew what I was carrying. I was in the Man and a Dog Program. I made fifty dollars an hour back in the late sixties. That was a lot of money.”

“How did you like working with a dog?”

“They’re a lot more dependable than humans.”

 

foo

 
7 May 2013

The first person I met, after getting off the bus, was Chester.

“Hi, Chester, have you heard any news of Joy?”

“Only that she’s home from hospital. She’s got a lot of stitches across her head. Mariah lives in the same building, so she’s been checking on her. That’s all I know.”

“Do you have any idea of how she was hurt?”

“All I know is that she was with Andre (he grimaced) and Hippo. They haven’t been seen around since.”

“Thanks, Chester, take care.”

In Joy’s spot for the second time this week was Clark, sitting quietly on top of his backpack. In front of him was his usual sign HELP CURE HOBOPHOBIA. Above it was another sign, KEEP OFF THE CRASS. As I sat down I could see a third sign, hidden behind the first, WILL YOU MERRY ME? I asked, “Clark, how are the signs working for you?”

“I get various responses from smiles, to laughter to hostility.”

I said, “Why hostility? Why would these signs invoke any hostility?”

“It’s partly the season; protest season is coming up. It seems to start in the universities. They’re always protesting something, then it spreads to the smaller colleges. I think they watch to see what the reaction will be, then they follow the lead.

“There seems to be a hierarchy. There are leaders and there are those who follow, but I’ve seen other groups called volunteers. Some of them are like nazis, most are white, anglo saxon.”

“Do you mean like white supremacists?”

“Yeah, something like that. They don’t seem too organized. We had an incident at my building a while back. My building houses a lot of people on disability pension. Not me, I pay my own way. I saw one of my neighbors holding this guy by the throat. He was saying to the other guy, ‘You don’t grab me by the throat. You don’t grab my mother by the throat. Understand?’

“Then the police showed up. All they did was get out of their car, put their arms across their chests and shout, ‘Volunteers!’ a bunch of guys from other building came out and there was mayhem. I didn’t stick around. I see us falling into, sort of, a police state. ”

I said, “You seem well informed, what is your background?”

“I went through the separate school system, under the Roman Catholics, then high school, then university. University really opened my eyes. I studied a lot of biology, anthropology and sociology. It wasn’t what the professors taught me, but I learned how to learn. After that I didn’t see the need to pay tuition, so I left.

“I guess my biggest influence was Abraham Maslow. He developed the hierarchy of needs. He extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. I read a lot of his books. I stay away from psychology, and psychiatry; that’s mostly Freud and Jung.”

I said, “Maslow was the greatest mind of the past century. I’m now reading a book that refers to his theories often.”

Clark said, “I see a slow disintegration of democracy, I call it global swarming. You can see it with the kids on the streets. We’re moving away from the idea of the individual, except for celebrities and sports heroes. We seem to want to know everything about them; what they eat, what they wear. These people are just fronts. They’re told what to say by their publicity managers.”

“How would you define yourself, your ideas?”

“I think of myself as a stoic epicurean and a sceptic. The world always needs sceptics. This is based on the Aristotelian belief that ‘the sort of person one is and the lifestyle one adopts will have an immediate bearing on the actions one performs.’ Epicureans argue that the path to securing happiness comes by withdrawing from public life and residing with close, like-minded friends. That’s me.”

To learn more about the Epicurean Life please visit the following:

http://oregonpilgrim.com/2013/05/07/week-19-guilty-of-the-epicurean-life/
 
 

Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

 

 
homeless family L
 

6 May 2013

Wolf and his dog Shaggy were sitting under a tree. At the other end of the park, near the war memorial, was another group leaning against the rail.

“Wolf,” I said, “you’re sitting all by yourself.”

“I just don’t think it’s right, for those people to be setting their beer down on the war memorial. I have family who died in the war. I don’t think it’s respectful. They even have a motorcycle parked there.  Can you imagine if a woman and child came to pay their respects to a loved one. They’d be afraid to approach. Those people would scare them off, don’t you think? My son served in the Korean War, if he saw that he’d take them all on.”

“I agree with you, Wolf. My brother fought in the Korean War. I know that he’d be upset.”

“They all followed Jacques up there. I know he wants to stay in the shade, but there’s shade in other places, so I picked a place that’s about half way. That’s the best I can do.

“Did you see the hockey game last night. I’d have my Senators hat on now, but it’s too hot for a hat. I’m wearing my Montreal shirt because it’s the only one I have with short sleeves.

“That young guy from Gatineau — I think he’s only nineteen — pulled off a hat trick, and his team is in the playoffs. That’s something! It’s funny too. When growing up his favorite team was probably Montreal. Now he’s scored three goals against them.”

Troll and a friend sat down and were discussing the hockey game. I thought I saw Joy with Jacques, so I wandered up there. It turned out to be Debbie.

“Hi Jacques, it’s a beautiful day.”

“Yes, I have to keep out of the sun, because I already have a burn. Have you seen Joy?”

“I saw her Friday, I think she was going to Toronto. Her sister died.”

“She didn’t go to Toronto. She left here Friday to go drinking with Hippo and Andre. There was some kind of a fight. Joy got a big cut on her head. They took her to hospital to have stitches. She also has a shiner. I don’t think she’s going to be coming out of her place for a while. She looks too ugly.

“I wish I knew more details. I know that Hippo wouldn’t hurt her.”

I said, “He’s scared of Joy.”

“Yeah, he wouldn’t hit a woman. I remember that Nora slapped him twice in the face. Do you know what he did? He cried. That big guy had tears running down his face. Now, every time Nora walks by she slaps him, because she knows he won’t hit her back.

“Me, I’d do something different. I wouldn’t hit a woman, but I wouldn’t let her hit me.”

Debbie was looking over the rail. She said, “The white lilacs are out. Soon the purple ones will be in bloom. Don’t you love that scent?”

“It’s beautiful, ” I said. “I haven’t seen you for a long time. How have you been?”

“You know, so so. I’m alright. Actually, every day is good if you look at it the right way. I’m not religious, but I try to see the good.”

I said, “Every day is a chance to make a difference.”

Jacques said, “Do you know what I miss? Kentucky Fried Chicken. I can’t eat it. The skin is too salty. Since my last heart attack I’ve had to cut back on salt.”

I asked, “When was your last heart attack?”

“February 8. I was hospitalized for three weeks. I need a double bypass operation, but they said, ‘We know you’re a very sick man, but because you’re alcoholic, we can’t operate on you.’ They gave me pills instead. They told Joy the same thing.”

Debbie said, “Are you sure it’s not because of the money?”

“I don’t think so, but maybe if I won the lottery… I can’t win the lottery because I don’t buy tickets. I don’t think I could handle winning a lot of money. I’d think everyone would want to kill me.”

Debbie said, “Or, everyone would want to be your friend.

“If I won a big lottery, I know what I’d do.  First of all, I’d get out of here, go into the woods somewhere until I could plan everything. Then I’d set up my communication centers — places where poor, sick people could go. There would be doctors, a cafeteria, pool tables, a place to stay. Nobody would be turned away.

“I have the proposal all written up. I put on a dress, wore heels,  and presented it to City Hall. This university professor, a fat guy with bald head and a beard,  shot the idea right down. He made me feel so small.”

I said, “Gaston has a similar idea. You should talk to him.”

It was time for me to go back to work, so I shook hands all around.

Jacques asked, “Will you be here tomorrow?”

“I’ll be here, Jacques.”
 
 

Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

 

 

foo

 
6 May 2013

Sitting in Joy’s spot this morning was Clark with his sign, HELP FIGHT HOBOPHOBIA. He has other signs, but this is the one he uses most frequently. I asked him how his weekend had been. He said, “I spent a lot of time moving. I’m now in a bachelor apartment in New Edinburgh. I had to get out of the place I was in. It was really bad, a lot of crackheads. I didn’t even feel safe using the stairs. There would be groups of them hanging around the stairwells.

“The only complaint I have with the new place is that I’m right above the door to the underground garage. I hear it every time someone drives their car in or out.”

I said, “I guess that’s a noise you can get used to. I’ve lived beside highways before.”

“Yeah, after a while the highway can sound just like the ocean. It can lull you to sleep.”

I asked, “So, how long have you been on the street?”

“Here, about four years, but I’ve been other places, like Vancouver. It’s a really violent place. I used to work security there. I was in a large highrise. There were two entrance doors. I was behind the desk. One time a guy rushed in the first door, saying that he had been doused with gasoline and somebody was trying to set him on fire. All we could do is electronically lock the outside door, so he was trapped between the two doors. We couldn’t let him in, in case he decided to ignite himself inside the building. We just waited until the cops arrived.”

I said, “I know I’ve lived there. I moved in with my brother, on Hornby, near the Vancouver Art Gallery. My first night, there was somebody stabbed to death on our corner.

“Toronto can be violent as well. You know Shakes, don’t you? He pans on Jarvis near the underground car park.”

“Does he use a cane and carry a piss bag?”

“Yeah, that’s him. He was doused with gasoline and set on fire one time. He has massive scars on his left leg. There was another guy, Buddy, he was wearing a plastic raincoat when he was set on fire. The plastic became embedded in his skin. He died three days later.

“I can’t understand how humans can do that to one another. Animals aren’t cruel or malicious like that. They kill their prey and eat it — that’s nature — but to deliberately torture another animal. I don’t think they do that.”

Clark said, “Sometimes, I think animals are treated better than humans. The government will house us, and will ring the Pavlovian bell allowing us access to the Food Bank every so often, but that’s it. The SPCA treats animals better.”

“What other kind of work did you do, Clark?”

“Mostly, I’ve been a cook at construction camps in James Bay and Vancouver. I’ve also been a tree planter in British Columbia. I liked that. I like to keep to myself.”

“I’m the same.”

“I read in government studies that the brain works best when you’re alone. There are fewer distractions. That’s my understanding, anyway.”
 
 
Image: http://buff.ly/1WJRcca

Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

 

 

womanbox

 
16 April 2013

It was raining this morning, so I wasn’t expecting to see Joy, but there she was in her usual place. I said, “I’m surprised to see you here. I thought you’d stay at home because of the rain.”

“I was up early and didn’t have anything else to do, so I came here. It rained three times and it stopped three times. Who knows what the rest of the day will be like.

“Boy, I’m really glad you came, I’m near to busting with having to go to the bathroom. Can you watch my stuff?”

“Sure, you go ahead.”

When Joy returned I asked, “So, did you talk to your workers? Is there any news about getting you furniture?”

“Yeah, that’s set up for 1:00. The only thing I haven’t done is the dishes. I’ll do them before they arrive.

“I saw the guys yesterday. Jake threw Shakes out of his apartment. Shakes has lived outside all his life, he doesn’t know how to act inside. Jake doesn’t have furniture, just an air conditioner, still in its box, but, just the same, he likes his place kept tidy. Shakes was flicking his cigarette ashes everywhere, grinding his butts out on the hardwood floor. It’s not his fault. It’s just the way he’s lived all these years.

“Chester came with Raven, but as soon as she saw that Jacques had money she went with him. Chester wasn’t too happy about that. Before they left Jacques said, ‘Maybe, me, I get to play with a little pussy this afternoon.’ I’m just glad that I’m single and celibate, no cooties for me. Some of the women these guys go out with — they’re not pretty — most you’d have to double bag, and I mean Hefty bags.

“Can you mail a letter for me? It’s to my youngest son, he lives with his older brother in Burlington. I’m trying to get some communication going between us. The others I haven’t heard from in a while. One’s up in the Northwest Territories, working in a gold mine. He was raised by my sister and sent her a huge nugget. She had it appraised at twenty thousand dollars. I said, ‘Hold on to that, he’s going to need that for college.’

“I saw Andre yesterday, while he was still sober I said to him, ‘You know there is never going to be anything between us. You’re like a brother to me. Do you understand that?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I guess so.'”

“So, do you think he got the message this time.”

“I hope so.”

At noon it was still misty, as I passed a bus shelter I saw Tom and Matches. “Hey, it’s been a long time, man!” said Tom.

“Yes it has. Shakes do you have your hydro turned on yet?”

“Yes I do. That Friday that it went off, I phoned my worker and said, ‘I want my fuckin’ hydro turned on. It’s a long weekend coming up. How would you like your fuckin’ hydro off for that long. I’m going to be out this afternoon, but when I get home for supper the fuckin’ hydro had better be on.’

“You told her, Shakes!”

“Yeah, I sure did, ha ha ha.”

“So, Danny, have you been panning near the mall?”

“No,” he said, “Did you hear what happened to me there a couple of years ago? I wanted a Happy Meal from McDonalds, but I was a bit drunk and I knew they wouldn’t serve me. I didn’t have any money, but I had just been to the pharmacy and had my prescription for Percocet renewed. I asked a guy going into McDonalds if he used Percocet. He said, ‘Yeah!’ I asked, ‘For three Percs would you buy me a Happy Meal?’ He said, ‘Sure!’ What he did was go straight to this big security guard and told him I stole some Percs from him.

“The security guard came out and tried to put his hands in my pockets. I wouldn’t let him and pushed him away. Another security guard came along and grabbed my arm. The other one kicked my leg from behind and broke it. It was sticking way out to the side. They put me in cuffs and phoned the police. I managed to squirm my way, with the broken leg, to a pay phone. With the hand cuffs behind my back I was still able to pull myself up, knock the receiver off the hook and dial 911. I said to the operator, “This is Daniel Pelletier, I’ve been beaten by security guards and they broke my leg. I need an ambulance. The operator said they had already received a call and an ambulance was on its way.

“By that time the police had arrived. They wouldn’t listen to anything I said. One put his knee on my head, breaking my glasses. The other one took the pills out of my pocket and handed them to someone.

I said, “I have a prescription for those pills, just ask at the pharmacy. They didn’t even check. The cop said to me, ‘You’re nothing but a homeless, drunken Indian. If you don’t shut up we’re going to take you out of town and bury you.’

“I yelled to people in front of the mall, “My name is Daniel Pelletier. The police have just told me they are going to kill me, take me out of town and bury me.

“The ambulance came and took me to the hospital. They set my leg, put it in a cast and a brace. I was supposed to go for physiotherapy, but I’m an alcoholic. There’s no way I could sit in a room for three hours without a drink. Besides, it was on the other side of the city. I didn’t even have money for bus tickets. I hadn’t been panning, so I had no money coming in.

“I wore that leg brace for a year and a half. In the end it did help me. People are more likely to give money to a guy in a brace than one without.

“Ever since then I’ve been afraid for my life. I’m supposed to be part of a native group protesting the wind turbines scheduled to be installed on Thunder Mountain. They want to put them on sacred land. If the police see me, I’m afraid that one of them will push me in front of a car.

“I was talking to the Anishinaabe Clan Mothers at Maniwaki and in Cornwall. I explained to them that this protest could end up like the one at Oka. The young people wouldn’t remember, but I was there. Some of them wouldn’t feel comfortable carrying guns, but there would be guns behind them, protecting them.

“It was our Chief that signed over the land to the wind turbine company. I said to him, ‘It won’t be you standing in the front lines blocking the equipment. It’ll be me.’ I’ve served over fifteen years in correctional institutions and mental institutions. I don’t mind going to jail. In fact I would be proud to give my life to protect our sacred ground. It’s all we have.”

“I have to go now, Danny. If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.”

Shakes asked, “Dennis could you spare some bus tickets and a Tim Horton’s card?”

“Sure Shakes.”

“Thanks Dennis, we’ll see you soon.”

 
 

Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

 

group3

8 October 2015

I met Nick and Mandy sitting on a low concrete wall near the park. I shook Mandy’s hand and Nick said, “Give me a hug, brother.” which I gladly did.

“How are you doing, Nick? I heard that you’ve been in hospital?”

“I’m conflicted. I prayed to God all night long. I’ve had three heart attacks in the past two months. One left me in the hospital for eighteen days. I got a message saying that I should stay with my family in Blainville near Niagara Falls. Two of my brothers are anxious to carry on my work. Two friends here have said they would take over for me here. They’ll be coming by later with pizza.

“I have a schizophrenic woman staying at my house also a twenty-three year old who is trying to get off crack. She’s been clean for a while. Yesterday she told me she was going to her dealer for a fix. I said to her ‘You’re following the devil’s path. When you suck on that pipe, you’re blowing the devil.’ She’s an adult. I can’t make choices for her.

“Another woman had asked me for a sleeping bag. I told everyone I know, about her situation and someone came through for me. I was given a brand new sleeping bag worth $150. I gave it to her. Do you know what she said to me? ‘I don’t want it.’ I said, ‘What do you mean you don’t want it. I went to a lot of work to find this. Someone paid $150 dollars so you could keep warm at night.’ She said, ‘I’ll give it to someone.’ So now some kid she pans with has a sleeping bag. These kind of things stress me. Because of my heart condition I’m supposed to avoid stress. How do I do that?  I feel guilty abandoning these people.”

I said, “You’ll carry on your work where you’re going. You’ll be helping people there who otherwise wouldn’t be helped. You can’t be everywhere.”

“You’re right. Let’s join the others at the park… Look, there not at the park, they’re on the traffic island. I wonder what happened.”

I greeted everyone then sat next to Wolf. He said, “Nobody’s talking to me because I yelled at the park maintenance guy. There he is with the yellow jacket. Yellowjacket, that’s a type of wasp isn’t it? It suits him. Anyway, we were all over there. This guy is standing not three feet away and he turns on the sprinklers. The rest of these guys jumped up and ran. I have a hard time getting up and I had Shaggy’s wagon with Rick’s stuff in it. Me and the contents of the wagon were getting drenched.”

I asked, “Are you still wet?”

“Well, I’ve got a set of long johns under my pants and I’ve got a heavy coat on, but yes, I’m still wet.

“How are you?”

“I’m fine. Same old, same old.

“Look I want to apologize for being so drunk the last time I talked to you.”

“There’s no problem, Wolf.”

“I’m drunk now as well, but I haven’t taken any of the other stuff. I got some weed for later, but that’s all.”

Rick announced, “This is my friend, Nathan, and he’s brought two boxes of pizza.”

Nathan said, “It seems odd celebrating the departure of a friend who we’ll all miss. Before we eat I’d like to say a few words from Psalm 15:

A Psalm of David.

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? 2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart 3 and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, 4 who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, 5 who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.”

Depending on weather, I’m hoping to see Rick and the others tomorrow. I say my goodbyes and shake hands with anybody who isn’t holding a slice of pizza.

 
 
 

Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

 

wheel
10 July 2015

“Dennis,” said Chuck. “I gotta tell you how I got Metro this morning.” He could hardly get the words out, he was laughing so hard. “We were on the corner talking when this big woman came by, she must have weighed three hundred pounds. I said to Metro, ‘How would you like to have her sitting on your face?’ Metro was flabbergasted — you know how skinny he is — he said, ‘Chuck, are you crazy! She’d kill me!’ I went in to get my coffee and when I came out I said to him, ‘If you were to take her to a bar for three quarts of beer, give her some of my water pills, then, maybe, she’d give you a golden shower.’ He didn’t like that. He said, ‘Chuck get away from here. That’s something I don’t even want to think about! That image will haunt me for the rest of the day!’ I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of my chair — the sheer look of horror on Metro’s face was priceless. I wish you’d been there. I don’t know where that came from or how these things pop into my head.”

I said, “Next time I see him I’ll ask if he’s had a shower.”

“That’ll be good,”

A grey haired woman I recognized, approached us.  She asked, “Chuck, are you warm?”

“Yes,” he replied.

To me she said, “I always think he looks so warm.”

I said, “He could still use a hug.”

She said, “I know, I always give him a hug and a kiss.” She was digging in her big purse for some change to give to Chuck.  She said, “Look what I did to my hand.” The area of her hand around her thumb and first finger was red and painful looking.

I asked, “Did you scald yourself? Is that a burn from a kettle?”

“No, my coffee was getting cold and I put it in the microwave. I just twirled the dial and went away. I don’t know why I do that. When I came back it was boiling.  I knew the cup would be hot so I used a pot holder to take it from the microwave. I was going to pour it into a travel mug. It just exploded and went all over my hand. I ran to the sink and held it under cold water for about thirty seconds, then went over to my friend’s house.  She’s like a nurse, not really but she always has things like Polysporin and bandages at the ready. She poured cold water in the sink and told me to keep my hand in there for twenty minutes. It took the pain away immediately — You should remember that in case you ever burn yourself — Then she put Polysporin and a dressing on it. That was two weeks ago. I think I should go to my doctor and get some antibiotics, just in case.”

She put some change into Chuck’s cap, bent over, hugged him and kissed his cheek. He responded in kind.

When she left he said, “I don’t think I’m going to stay here much longer.”

I took that as my cue to say, “Yes, I should get to work,” even though by my watch I was thirty minutes early. “If the weather’s good, I’ll see you on Monday.”

“See you.”
 

Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

.

 

.

wheel

.

6 June 2015

“Good morning, Chuck.”

“Where have you been? I haven’t seen you since last week.”

“I’ve been feeling sick. I notice that you don’t have Goldie with you.”

“She’s still home recuperating from her operation.”

“I also notice that you aren’t wearing your moustache.”

“You know, you’re the first person who’s noticed. I was trimming it the other day and I said to myself, “To hell with this shit.” I shaved it off. My friend says that it makes me look younger. Why would I want to look younger? I want to look the age I am!

A car horn honked, Chuck said, “Another one of those God damned cyclists. The nazi city counselors bend over backwards to make things easier for cyclists. As usual they have it all backwards. Priority should go first to cars, then to pedestrians, then to cyclists. It only makes sense. Have you heard about the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in New York City?

“Based on monthly NYPD figures, 168 pedestrians and 10 cyclists were killed by city motorists in 2013, and 16,059 pedestrians and cyclists were injured.” (http://ow.ly/NMFRH)

“It’s because the pedestrians jump out  between parked cars all over the place. The cyclists ride on the sidewalks, wrong way on one-way streets, anywhere they’re not supposed to. There is a reason why we have traffic laws, but cyclists ignore them.

“I saw something nice this morning. They’re replacing tile near the food court. I just turned the corner in my wheelchair and saw the silhouette of a woman standing there. She had long legs spread, wearing tight jeans and a hard hat. I was tempted to go up to her and tell her how much I enjoyed the view. Then she bent down to lay tiles. That view was even better. She could lay twice as many as the men working around her.”

I said, “A lot of women are going into construction trades. I think it’s great. Women should rule the world.”

“I agree,” said Chuck, “they couldn’t make more of a mess that men have.

“I’m not going to stay here much longer. Can you see the blind man with the dog?”

“No, he’s not coming yet.”

Chuck said, “I’ll just wait until he gets here. I’m the only one who directs him across the street. His dog doesn’t know enough to keep him between the yellow cross walk lines and oncoming pedestrians won’t move out of the way. Why are people so god damned ignorant?”

Read more about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

.