We see a steady stream of people in need. Everyday. Some are regulars, like clockwork. Like Eldridge and his just one more time, never agains…But every now and then…
Yesterday afternoon, during Rachel’s explosion and Nancy’s conversation, a man and a boy walk in. The man, dressed in working clothes, open faced and worn. The boy looking like some combination of Tom Sawyer, Opie from Mayberry or a Dickens urchin.
The man tells his story.Here alone with his son. Has a place to stay. A job. Still, short until payday. All he’s asking for is a place that serves a meal. During the whole visit, he never asks for money. While Danielle looks for the IAHH’s street sheets (http://www.iahh.org/Resources) to find an appropriate place, Nancy engages the boy. His eyes are bright and smiling. He shows no fear or anxiety. Has the look on his face of a kid who is loved and cared for. We know. We've seen enough of those who aren't.
Nancy goes to the white board, erases one of my strategic explorations. They take turns writing each other’s names.And other words. His printing seems crude, almost primitive, not the third grade level his father said. Soon, I add my name too. We take turns sounding them out. Then he adds his, BRICE, in large, capital, shaky letters.
We’ve found a place serving a meal. Brice has been eyeing different items on Danielle’s desk. So I pick out two of Angelo Romano’s angelitos and give one each to father and son. Tell them they will bring protection. The boy hugs Nancy. The father takes his son’s hand. And they walk off together.
Danielle looks as if she could cry. Nancy says, He looked like he stepped out of Grapes of Wrath, speaking of the father. I wonder what the story is. Where’s the mother. How’d they come to be here from North Carolina or wherever it was. They stay with us, even after they’re gone.
* * * *
It’s late. I’ve been down in my office preparing for Sunday morning. Upstairs in the studio, RL is bringing to a close the Saturday night portion of his birthday week. It’s a long story involving black market babies, government bureaucracies, tribal politics and the rest is hard to keep track of but his personal resistance to imposed realities is to celebrate the whole damn week. And laugh about the fact that at the end of his week his week, a world of Irish and honorary for a day’s celebrate with him.
Tonight in the studio, there is a couple, long time friends who have driven down from Massachusetts.. His unofficial daughter, a fashion and portrait photographer of no mean accomplishment. And Joe and Pat and I, and Poet Tim, the regulars.We've got guitars and mandolins. RL starts it off, and we take turns singing songs for and with each other until it’s time for his friends to go.
I’ve got enough time to go home for a rest before people show up for worship.