My mom has been telling me lately about three old fellows who recently moved into her senior high-rise. The three met, hit it off and now buddy around together. One of their common interests is drinking beer. They sort of commandeered a shady spot under a big tree near the building and sat there on the benches drinking their beer without bothering anyone. However, the gaggle of little old ladies who used to sit there and watch everyone come and go (and gossip about them), apparently felt uncomfortable being in their company and moved to the building entrance to gather. That may, or may not, have anything to do with the fact that the building manager told the old gents that it didn’t look good for the business (which the high-rise IS after all) to have them sitting there drinking, so they would have to do their drinking in their apartments. They raised no argument. They DID continue to gather there, however, lunch boxes or backpacks in hand, and sip beverages from foam cups.
Mom has learned a little background on them, and told me that the youngest of them moved there from the Salvation Army. The SA began requesting that the folks who spent the night there leave by a certain time every day and return by a certain time every night. Their bed was assured, but the SA apparently didn’t feel that they had the staff to keep an eye on them 24 hours a day, so chose that method to avoid difficulties. The old gentleman began looking for a new place to stay and finally managed to get into the high-rise. He apparently was getting a small government check or something, or they probably wouldn’t have taken him.
The second old fellow moved there straight from the streets, where he’d been living and pan-handling for quite some time. He, too, must have gotten a government check, for they accepted him. When he first moved there, it was believed that he was still going out some days and pan-handling, but that seems to have stopped. Maybe he’s discovered that he can get by without it.
Mom doesn’t know much about the other fellow, except that he looks sort of rough, uses a wheelchair and seems to have few if any teeth.
A big church one block away has a meal once a week for anyone who needs it, and several of the folks from the high-rise go there. The three amigos have learned the drill and now go there regularly, too. The church often has someone there who cuts hair and shaves any of the men who want it, and the younger one recently took advantage of those services. Mom said that he looked downright distinguished afterwards.
The folks at the high-rise had their Memorial Day cookout today. The building owner furnished the hotdogs, but everything else was covered dish. As you know, most old ladies can still cook circles around the new generation, so the food was good and it was abundant. The three amigos were there and Mom said the guy in the wheelchair acted like it had been a long, long time since he’d seen such a good spread. I’m glad he had the experience.
I told Mom that maybe she should make him her project, but she didn’t take me seriously for some reason. She DID tell me though that, from her seventh floor balcony, she can see pop-top cans in the lunch boxes of the three amigos when they sit under the big tree and sip from their foam cups. Hey, what else do they have to do? If I was there, I might join them. © 12016