Just Another Day in the Neighborhood

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My neighbors across the street are poor; very poor: Grandma, Mom, and a pack of kids. No Dad. After the last people moved out, the house stood empty for a long time, and was finally bought by someone who completely renovated it; then they rented it. My neighbors come and go on foot, minding their own business. Every now and then, I see them coming from the grocery, over a mile away, bringing their food and necessities home in a cart, then, pushing the cart away, so nobody will notice they haven’t a car. I notice. Their exhaustion and perspiration from pushing a grocery cart from so far away is painful. They never ask for help. I don’t offer. They would be embarrassed. So, the game continues, week after week. No one has a job. They gave everything up and moved here, to seek medical care for one of the children who is very ill. Mom was in nursing school. Her baby was more important. No car, they have to rely on cabs. Buses don’t even run in this neighborhood; a cost containment measure by the city. Today, a Schwann’s truck delivered food to their home. At first, I thought, great! Probably using food stamps to buy expensive food, which I know I can’t afford! Yeah. Probably spending their food stamps for expensive food, and getting the least bang for their buck so they don’t have to walk over a mile in the summer heat. The Schwann’s truck pulled away. They closed their door again. Life goes on.


About Stefan Jacke

MagicRobert presented me with a vellum document, composed in an insane script. We were in a well secured vault in the Michener Library. His face exploded into a broad smile, as he saw me recognize the words, "That government governs best which governs least." It was a copy of "On Civil Disobedience" in the author's own hand. The experience called to mind a conversation Henry David Thoreau had with Ralph Waldo Emerson, as Thoreau sat in a jail cell, incarcerated for protesting the Mexican War. Emerson asked, "David, what are you doing in there?" Thoreau responded, "The point is, Ralph, what are you doing out there?" Once, long ago, I jumped off of big red trucks, lifted weights, and cleaned toilets for a living. Then I wrestled drunks, ran around in circles, and got splattered with blood and all manner of body fluids for a living. Now I enjoy the stillness of early morning in my rocking chair on the porch, with a hot cup of coffee, trying in vain to forget the past. Thank you, Robert!
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