Quotes from Streets: Standing Tall

“Stand tall, don’t you fall oh, don’t go and do something foolish,” Burton Cummings, 1976

“Hey, where you been? Aren’t you working now?” Streetgirl asks the younger panhandler who she hasn’t seen for a few months.

“I lost the job, my home burned down, and my Dad died after being diagnosed with stage four cancer; a blessing in the sense that he didn’t suffer long.” With sadness in her eyes she described being “so depressed”. Back now, ready to humble her-self once again in order to survive. To stand tall and “keep on going”.

All Streetgirl could offer the other was a hug. Such is life!

Still Alive!

Jeff almost died from an overdose last month, but by sheer luck and/or the Grace of God he did not!  This is what he told me when I paused to say hello on my way to a long postponed mammogram; a symptom of severe anxiety drives me to defer essential medical appointments among other things, but this year I am pushing forward and forcing myself do what may seem simple to you.

One evening he decided to treat himself to a twenty piece of crack, obtaining the product from an established local dealer, stopping at the empty bus shelter on Flemington to have a “quick puff” before trudging through the snow up a steep ridge, then descending the ravine and settling into his tent for the night. The drug was an afterthought; the pleasure of a crackling glow to ease the darkness of loneliness. Having bought extra batteries at the dollar store beforehand, the short term plan was to smoke the rest while listening to the game on his portable radio. Instead, Jeffry passed out the second he inhaled. Continue reading “Still Alive!”

Quotes from Streets: Farewell Friend

Seeking solace and a blessed place to say her prayers, Streetgirl flew her sign yesterday, straddling the curb and strolling up and down the island. Those same paths that her panning peer, so-tagged The Veteran, had ambled thousands of times. It was chilly,  but they’d been out in far worse weather and enjoyed it too; a freedom of sorts. If it was Joe he would be wearing a toque, thin shirt under a jacket year-round day and night, and sandals without socks; even though someone had given him a pair of boots two months before his passing.  Thrilled to tell the tale, how he’d been snoozing in the sun behind the gas station when a guy came by and offered to take him to Canadian Tire to buy a winter coat and footwear. One of so many kind gestures afforded him by strangers. That night they dumped his dirty smelly old one down the garbage shoot in our building as a ceremonial gesture and he donned the gift until the day he died. Continue reading “Quotes from Streets: Farewell Friend”

Quotes from Streets: Musical Trivia!

A five dollar bill visible in one hand the woman pokes her head partway out the window and says, “Quick question. Who is the composer?”

Never been strong on trivia, perhaps due to perceived trauma Christmas 1980, 20 years old and playing the brand new board game sensation “Trivial Pursuit” with the family, led by an intellectual and dominating father and two older smarty-pants brothers; she was bound to lose. However, today the unmistakable ominous first four notes of “Symphony No. 5” coming from inside the car jogged Streetgirl’s mind to emit an immediate unwavering response.

“Beethoven!”

And the music lover passes the money with a smile, “You win.”

Up or Down?

Years back Streetgirl found a horse-shoe on one of her walkabouts, can’t quite remember which spot, somewhere between here and there. It laid about for awhile and then I decided to hang it by the door. Inside of course. Before doing so, I googled which way was the right way, but found there wasn’t one. Continue reading “Up or Down?”

Perspective – Summer 2018

homelesshammock

Looks like an ideal spot for a nap by the lake, doesn’t it? Not! This is a hammock hung by a Canadian Aboriginal homeless man on a steep slope of trees and bushes along the edge of the highway leading to the Allan Road Ramp where he panhandles on a daily basis.

Quotes from Streets: It is what it is!

“I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam,” Popeye the Sailor Man.popeye

“Do you want a job?” the middle aged man inquires while idling his pickup with a younger co-worker smiling and digging his pocket for change in the passenger seat. Not the first time someone has asked her this, before departing on the green light without a solid lead.

“What kind of job?” the panhandler replies, curious as always. Continue reading “Quotes from Streets: It is what it is!”