We got to see the girls this Sunday. The journey had them taking first the bus, then the subway, then walking the few blocks over to our place. We appreciated the effort. Joe and I vowed that we wouldn't be getting into a car until I had to go back to work. It was a quick visit but it was a lot of fun.
We went out for lunch and then I asked everyone if they would go over to a store with me because I had to pick up a gift that had been ordered for a going away present at work. It was a beautiful day so everyone agreed to the short walk. I scooted over ahead of everyone to get the paperwork done so the wait wouldn't be too long for the girls.
It turned out that we had to wait 20 minutes, long story, not relevant, but that turned out OK because the girls quickly discovered, by the back wall, that they'd set up a play area for kids. There were doll houses and a mini play kitchen and a wide and diverse group of dolls. The wait flew by and the girls both were willing to stay and play a little longer.
Both Ruby and Sadie still like rides on my power wheelchair. And, wow, they can laser detect the exact midpoint, which, when crossed, one gets a millimetre ride longer. So, we talked, the girls and I about where that midpoint was and agreed to meet there.
Sadie took the first ride. We went fast and I did a bit of fancy driving around other pedestrians which she thought was wonderful. She was wearing her cowgirl hat and jeans and boots and was so happy with them and with how she looked that she waved to anyone that looked our way. Almost to a one, they waved back.
When we got to the corner, the diagonal light was green so we zipped across the intersection north / south and west / east at the same time. As I came up the on the south east corner, I had to be careful. A very old homeless man was laying on a piece of cardboard on the ground. He had a dirty blanket over top of him and as he lay there his hand is held out. In his had isn't a cup, as you might expect, but instead a margarine top lid. It's shallow and the change bounces but he catches it nimbly. He's often on that corner, it seems to be his spot. I hadn't any money with me, so I told him that I was 'out of change today' and wished him well. He blessed me.
I can go way faster in my chair than the others can walk so I set Sadie down and then we turned to wait for them to come. Sadie said she was a little tired, this is our standard, agreed upon, hint. I asked her if she wanted to sit up with me in the wheelchair until everyone was back. Her hands went straight up and then we sat and waited.
Sadie chatted about a couple things and then said, "That man is on the ground." I agreed that that's where he was. She said, "Why is he there." I told her that he was homeless and didn't have any where else to stay. "He doesn't have a bed somewhere?" she asked shocked. "No, probably not."
We were quiet for a second and then Sadie asked, again, "Why is he there?" She seemed distressed, which, I suppose, is the appropriate emotion to be having. I rummaged around in my head and came up with nothing, so I said something stupid, "He doesn't have a mommy and a daddy to help keep him safe." Sadie thought, "And he doesn't have brothers or sisters either?" I said, knowing I'd gone down the wrong path, "I don't know, probably not."
Across the way we saw Mike and Joe and Ruby arrive at the corner and wave to us. Sadie and I waved back. Then, not wanting to leave the conversation, Sadie said, "It doesn't matter if he doesn't have a mom or a dad or a brother or a sister, he should still have a bed."
Then it was Ruby's turn for a ride, we waved goodbye and sped off towards home.
And a bed.
Ruby and Sadie, I want them both to be running the country one day.