Posts Tagged ‘ homelessness ’

That homeless guy you see hanging around your grocery store has a name. Do you know it?


Candles

Candles (Photo credit: magnuscanis)

 

My friend, Rod Lehman, who shines shoes for a living told me that
T.C. is still hanging around the same grocery store south of the OSU
campus . We would see him hanging around the Big Bear near the
apartment complex we lived in during the early 90’s and if we had
any extra money, we’d give him a few dollars.

One time, T.C. asked me to come visit his home under the overpass
across from our apartment complex. He had constructed a nice cozy
spot there and heated the whole thing with a candle. Soon after that
I attended a baptism or christening, I don’t remember which. It was
at the Macedonian Orthodox Church in East Columbus. I spotted all
those half-burnt blessing candles sitting in the sand tray by the
altar. Seemed such a waste to leave them there when T.C. could heat
his home with them. I asked the Priest if I could gather a few
blessing candles from the altar for T.C. and he told me I could.

That may have been in the year 1995. Dates are fuzzy in my brain
these days. The Big Bear is now a Giant Eagle grocery store.

 

Retread Angels on Mount Ararat


Safeway Medallion logo, 1980

Safeway Medallion logo, 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was walking with my magic staff in the Safeway parking lot when
I spotted another man walking with a staff.  He was rather disheveled
and had a backpack.  I cried, “Ho there!” and walked toward him.

He looked me up and down and said, “Hi!  Are you a magician?”

I replied, “No, I’m a wizard.”

He muttered, “Well I’m a working man.” and walked away.

Later, I would see him walking around town with and without his staff.
It was obvious that he was another homeless soul in the wealthy hamlet
where I had sequestered myself.

One day, I saw him outside the Safeway again.  I thought I would try
and approach him again.  I didn’t have my magic staff but I took a chance
and walked up to him again with a $5 bill and said, “Here’s the $5 that I lent you.”

He said, “What is this?  A pigeon drop?”

I said, “No, just take the money, it’s yours.”

He thanked me and went into the Safeway and I took a seat on the bench
outside to roll up a cigarette.  As I was lighting the cigarette, he came outside
and sat on the bench next to me.  I introduced myself and he said his name was Curtis.

We talked for a good bit and even bought a losing scratch off ticket together.
( He insisted on giving me 50c for half the ticket.)  Apparently he had grown
up in that area of California.

As we were sitting and talking, Michael, one of the guys that worked at this
Safeway as a bagger and cart rounderupper came over to us.  Michael and I
had often spoken, he seemed just a little slow, or maybe it was just an act.

Michael and Curtis seemed to know each other pretty well.  Michael asked if
that was a bottle of wine Curtis had in his backpack.  Curtis told him it was.
Michael told him to be careful and not get caught drinking outside the Safeway
again.  He then asked Curtis if he had gone through the groceries he had given
him.  Curtis said he was still good.

I am still touched by the pathos of Michael, a low wage bagger in one of the
wealthiest areas in the Bay Area, helping out a homeless man in a city where
Safeway would block people from taking day old bread out of their dumpsters.
(I got nailed trying to retrieve some dumpster donuts on a couple of occasions.)
I never saw Curtis again but I am sure Michael is still working at that Safeway.

I’m convinced that both of them were angels.

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