Diversity of Compassion

*revised from previously published on http://www.homelessguide.com/

The morning sun brightens Streetgirl’s long hair and tans her face as she stands at the ramp holding a sign that says, “BROKE + HUNGRY – PLEASE HELP – GOD BLESS – PEACE.” A line from the chorus of a Rag’N’Bone Man’s song is rolling repeatedly through her mind, “Don’t put your blame on me.”  The earworm has been wedged for days, but should clear out soon to be replaced by another. Last week it was The Beatles, “Here comes the sun.”

On the red light a female driving a black van and wearing a niqab pulls to a stop. She happens to lock eyes with Streets who beams broadly, because that is the way she is. It’s impossible to tell if the devout Muslim smiles back from beneath the heavy veil, but she is moved by the moment, reaching for her clutch and scooping out a handful of coins to pass to the panhandler without a word.

Soon after, a woman of Asian descent, behind the wheel of a small red car, silver electrical tape holding the side mirror together and rust circling the door; she stretches out her arm with an offering of two sweet clementine in hand. Continue reading “Diversity of Compassion”

We are Canadian

DSC_8156I took this photo late November 2012. Looking at it today, I am still stricken by the incongruity of the Nike symbol on the shoes and the Canadian flag hanging so prominent; bold statements in a harsh environment. Jeff is resting his bare feet behind this makeshift shelter when I snap the shot. Unbeknownst to both of us at the time, in the frigid winter of 2014 the homeless man will lose two toes to frostbite and never wear his shoes the same.

A Dog’s Eye View – What’s in a Name?

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My Homeless friend named Joseph

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”(Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare)

Let me introduce myself. The name is Keeba. Big Sister bestowed it when she chose me out of all other puppies at the busy pet store in Fairview Mall near where Mom and Sis used to live back in the year 2004. I’ll never forget that day! She took the name right out of the mouth of a man whose wife was appraising me first.  Freed from a crowded cage with 2 families thinking about taking me home at the same time sure did set my tail to wagging. If you care to look up the meaning of Keeba you will find it is as convoluted as I am.  Last  year we met a man at the park whose dog had the same name as mine (though there was no similarity) and he apprised us that it means Fang in Japanese which is simpler. Makes sense since I do have 2 protruding vampire teeth, pearly and more pronounced when younger, now rotting, grisly, and foul; factors of aging and poverty combined. Bit of a handicap too, can’t chew grass the way I used to.

(Time for a walk around the block. Will have to continue this chat about what is in a name another day, you know I’ve got lots more to say!)