An old man and his dog

I never knew the old man's name. I called his dog Me Too because the old man held a sign that said "Homeless. Hungry. Anything helps." and around the dog's neck, you'd often see a sign that said "me too". He stood on the same corner every day, he and his dog and his sign and his backpack and a large jug of water. He always had a smile. After he got to know us, he always had a joke for Sydney - "Did you hear about the cat that ate the ball of yarn? She had mittens". He told that joke more than once. And God bless her, Sydney laughed every time.

I'd pull up to the stoplight and he'd wander over to the car and we'd shake and chat for a few minutes. If I had money, he had money. And, so did Me Too. I found him sick one day, barely able to stand up in the heat. He was with a group at the time. I went home, and packed a huge bowl of cold pasta salad with chicken in it, an extra large juice bottle of ice water, and a can of dog food and Sydney and I took it back to them. And, I made my own family wait to get their supper that night.

Often, Rob will go buy a short stack of Wal-Mart gift cards and hand them out to the homeless. When he gave one to the old man, we found out that his camp had just been raided and the police had taken a box cutter to his tent, so the old man and Me Too were sleeping cuddled up under a tree. The gift card was enough to buy a tent. And, he was so appreciative, I thought he was going to cry.

One day, when I pulled up and we were chatting, he explained that he'd be gone for a month or so. He had prostate cancer and was going into the VA hospital. A veterinarian around the corner had agreed to board Me Too. About 5 days later, he was back on his corner. There was nothing the doctors could do.

A few weeks later, he stopped being regular on his corner. He was there sometimes, and at other times, it would be someone else from his group. Then, I didn't see him again. Then, I saw Me Too walking with somebody else.

Someone once told me not to give money to "beggars". They were only going to spend it on beer and smokes. My feelings are; that doesn't matter. I give them money to make me feel good and it's between me and my karma. If they chose to spend it on beer and smokes, that's between them and their karma. And, besides all that, who am I to judge that beer and smokes aren't the best use of the money to that particular person. God knows I have my crutches to help me deal with the hard realities of life. Even though my hard realities are nothing compared to the homeless'.

It's not charity. It's sharing my blessings. I like to create a relationship when I'm sharing. I stop to talk and to shake hands and to pet dogs. The couple I'm sharing with now is a man and woman who have a huge white dog with a brown patch around his eye. They're such a happy couple. Always laughing and joking and hugging and bumming smokes at the stoplight. Nothing inappropriate. Just happiness. If I have money, they have money. And, so does the dog with the brown patch around his eye. His name is Cisco. I made a point to find that out this time.

There have always been people that didn't fit into society. They've wandered the world for all time. Their stories are in the bible and there's a wandering "beggar" of some sort in almost every book since. I think the homeless are the wanderer's of our generation. No place to fit in. And, they end up alone. Standing on a corner. Homeless. Hungry. Anything helps.

If I've had a hard day at work and I'm really stressed out and angry, my mood changes immediately when I roll down the window and say something nice...Hey, man, how's it going? Hot enough for you? Hope this helps. Take care and have a good one.


Okay, that's enough of that heavy stuff for this Way Back Wednesday. Here's a pic of my Indian Orange Peel so far. This is the center of the quilt. To piece the border sections together, I had to pull paper from some of the pieces. Finally finished that and am now ready to get sewing again.

Y'all take care and have a great one. Lane


lw said...

Thank you for the beautiful post-- I'm starting to feel like maybe you're wasted in whatever job you're in, you should be a writer.

You just know Sydney's going to be a fine adult when she knows when to laugh at a joke.

The orange peel quilt is gorgeous!

Coloradolady said...

This is great stuff....I have always said whenever someone suggest not to give to the homeless...."how can you receive any blessings in life with your fist closed all the time"

It is amazing how so many people do not get this very message. You are such a great example for Sydney....she has amazing parents!!

kwiltmakr said...

What a nice story about "Me Too". You are so very kind and generous. Bless you!

Becky said...

I love your story...it made me smile. THEN, my favorite quilt made me just grin great big!!! Hope the stress lessens and you have a wonderful day.
Love you! Becky

Michelle said...

Lane, you and Rob are good men. Thanks for sharing your story and philosophy. Wonderful role-models for Sydney.

And your quilt is coming along beautifully!

lesthook said...

My first thought was.. I love you Lane. You are such a good man. I believe in karma too and you have some good karma!

wordmama said...

Thank you for a touching post. It's good that you remember the humanity behind the shabby exterior. That's a great example for your daughter and for us, as a matter of fact.

Rhoda said...

You are an excellent writer. I think I've said that before. It's a touching story and you are a blessing to them. I love that quilt!

Elizabeth said...

Dear Lane, you are good people. I was really touched by your stories. I think Karma owes you some good stuff ;).

Your quilt is really amazing. Thanks for sharing!

Quiltluver said...

That's a great story. It is good to know that there are kind people in the world like you and Rob. Your quilt is looking great!

JKP said...

Thank you for the wonderful story. I have often gone against the norm and given money, or food, to someone. My husband and I did it years ago for a young family who needed diapers. We didn't have a lot of money ourselves, but we obviously were better off than they were. We gave them what money we had and mom immediately ran into the nearby Wal-Mart. I've given food to a homeless guy and his sweet little beagle who sat so obediently by him, just waiting. I've given to the one-legged veteran in his little scooter. He broke down and cried, and so did I. It was the least I could do. The man gave his leg for our country, and probably saw friends die. What's $10 compared to that?

P.S. The quilt is gorgeous.

oldbatt said...

Your story made me cry! It also made me think of when we were driving back from CO to MN and I had a baby in the car and a toddler but there was a man who just had a sign asking for food. I stopped and gave him the only thing I had with me a package of graham crackers and I apologized to him for not having more and he just smiled and told me "thank you." It always feels good to help others out.


P.S. You know I adore that quilt! Looks fabulous!

Sunshine said...

Lane, I don't know how you do it, but you're stories are amazing - you write beautifully!


bonnie said...

Oh wow...
I'm always conflicted about whether to give to people who ask for money. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. This just nudged me into the "always do" camp.

Susan Entwistle said...

Loved your story, and your quilt is amazing. Have fun working on it this weekend.

Heather said...

What a beautiful story and quilt. :)

Nancy said...

My heart just burst with joy when I read about you and Rob and the homeless man and Me Too. Bless you and Rob for your attitude and your kindness. You blessed that man's life, which sounds like it was beginning to ebb. It sounds like he could not keep Mr Too until the end (Have you seen the movie "Fluke" - get the Kleenex!). My ex would never have given a dime to anyone on the street, or down on his luck, not even his own brother who was in danger of losing his home. My ex and the other brother would help ONLY if the brother in bad straits signed his home over to them and complied with all their rules. Sometimes it is very hard to accept the yoke another puts on us because of their own foibles. You are good men, and a good family. Do you have a like-minded friend who would want to be my roomate?