Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “homeless”

Back to the Piano

Recently, on June 30th,  I posted something called Denver’s Got Talent (, in which I wrote about people we met on the 16th Street Mall in Denver while my wife had a booth to sell jewelry at an art event.

Well, we went back for another event.  We got the same booth we had before, the one by the outdoor piano.  We looked forward to seeing Billie, Phillip, Michael and Franco, who had taken turns playing the piano when we were there before.  We had made friends.

The weekend before, at another event, the Black Arts Festival in City Park, we saw Michael, who had a job at a food vendor booth.  I bought a funnel cake from him and later, on  break, he came over to Sugar’s booth.  Michael is a young black man who is a talented pianist.  He plays for tips when he does not have a job, but he does not live on the streets.  The food vendor goes to Michael’s church.  Michael is a student at a community college.  It was good to see him.

It was not good to see Phillip.  He did not come around until the second day.  He looked bad.  He smelled bad.  He did not remember us at first.  I thought we had made a connection on our previous visit.  This time he talked to me without recognition about being homeless because his buddy kicked him out — get this — after Phillip spent all his money on beer for them.  There might be more to the story.  I reminded Phil about our time together last month.  Then he seemed to remember.  However, he was slurring his words and not really playing the piano very well, just one song.

He told Sugar that he had not eaten in four days.  She gave him $10 and told him to get something to eat and then come back.  He did not come back.

I met some new folks.  One lady is running for President of the United States again.  She said that she ran in 2008 and 2012.  She has written a new constitution to replace the one the founders wrote.  She is calling for a new constitutional convention.  She brought me a draft of her proposed constitution.  I read it.  I told her I could see that she had given it lots of thought.  The founding fathers had neglected to have a provision about not urinating in alleys.  Her constitution prohibits that behavior and calls for more portable toilets as well as free health care.  Divorce would no longer be allowed.  The proposed constitution is very specific about a number of issues.  I suppose most ideas arise out of personal experience.  The candidate put many hours of work into drafting it.  She made some amendments this weekend and brought me a revised version on the second day of the show.  She is a hard worker, which I admire.  She faces an uphill battle.

I met a Lakota Sioux who told me that he is a lawyer licensed in Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota.  He showed me some newspaper articles about his work for native people.  We talked for quite awhile.

We never saw Billie or Franco or the gal from X Factor.  We did see the same street mime and talked to him.  He showed us his swollen ear.  He said he had gotten into a fight.

Life is rough anyway, but especially rough on the streets of a big city.


Pioneer Spirit

There are folks in these United States who are unwilling or unable to camp when the weather temperature is below freezing.  They are commonly referred to as wimps.

There are other folks, who courageously brave the elements to camp, even when the temperature is below freezing, yea, even when in the teens.  They are commonly referred to as Americans Who Epitomize the Pioneer Spirit Which Made This Country Great.

Miss Sugar falls into the latter category.  And I went along with her, though not necessarily courageously.  Call me compliant.

RV campers are the successors to the old Conestoga Wagons of the pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail and such.  Both modes of transport provide a sleeping compartment on wheels, pulled by horses, oxen, or Ford F250 pickup trucks. 

Some might point out the advancements in technology, such as insulation, electric and propane heat, to compare modern campers like Miss Sugar to the pioneers of the 1800s and conclude that Miss Sugar is not as tough as the original pioneers of the covered wagons.  I assure you, they would be wrong. 

In light of recent tragic events, including Hurricane Sandy, I hasten to clarify that I am writing about those of us who voluntarily camp for recreation, not about people who have lost their homes and are  camping in the cold not by choice, nor about people who are without homes on a permanent basis and have to contend with finding shelter from the cold.  We call these unfortunate people our brothers and sisters in need.

Jesus said that whatsoever we do “for the least of these” to provide for people in need, we are doing for Him.

That too is the American Way.  Wimps are welcome to participate.

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