It was a warm day here in town, and a buddy and me from church were buying some chicken at a local grocery store for the community feed out at the homeless day center. It was going to take them a minute or two to cook our large order so I went out to bench sit and smoke a cigarette. (they gave me a break on the price too, which I appreciated.) There happened to be a hobo on the bench with a little pride in him.
Pride in a good way I think, in that, he wanted to be seen and treated like a regular human. His clothes were way too hot for the weather, and he smelled like he had been living in that same outfit for a while. I asked if he wanted to come out and have some chicken with us. He wanted to make sure I could give him a ride back and was a little surprised the day center opened on Sunday at all.
It was obvious to me that he was homeless, but I don’t think he wanted it to be obvious. I have smelled and looked exactly like him myself, trying to pretend I was not dying of loneliness and hadn’t showered in a month. He had a few pop cans he was collecting to get some cash, broke my heart a little to tell you the truth.
I am a big guy and my buddy is a big guy, and I have a dog, so I said he might have to ride in back. But he stuck up for himself and wanted to ride up front with the rest of us. I was proud of him really, I would have never done that back in my street days; chain me to the engine for all I care about myself.
The chicken was very good, still hot from the cooker, and on such a warm day the crowd was a little thinner that usual, so we all took our time and enjoyed the food. We have a bunch of regulars on Sundays and I am making some pretty good friends with a most of them. Never can have enough of those in my opinion.
I got him a couple of hand me down outfits from the clothes section in a low key way, and he asked for some socks too and seemed grateful. When we took him back across the bridge, he had a specific destination like he actually lived somewhere, and I was happy to cooperate with the idea that he did.
I see you seeing me
I see you pretending that you don’t
I am as human as you are
to bad you won’t
have a word or a smile
and I am dying inside
by there is still my pride
and in my heart you will never be
worth one cent more than me
my heart beats red and blue
angry and sad about you
can’t you see
there is a we
under these blue skies of heaven
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