…you bring a casserole

We hopped a box car on the southbound freight…going miles, doing curiosity. More adventure than transportation. Back home on the weekend I overheard, “They’re not ‘bums and hobos’, they’re ‘gentlemen-of-the-road’.” He was seven. Now he’s a g’v’ment man with title, lab and a couple university degrees – caring, and curious. Schooling?…Street Philosophy?

Hello to trains and buses, street cars and airplanes – and having a ticket. To books and schools and street kindness. To innovation and self-government. To Portland’s Dignity Village. To sunny days, or roofs that don’t leak and Tonya’s “story for Thesaurus”. To Walt’s bike trailer built from a crutch and a golf cart…and Ed’s “Made in Oregon” wooden battery chargers. To cans of rusty nails and recycled lumber for Ken’s ‘right-size’ houses and Walt’s bird houses made from the recycle of Ken’s ‘right-size house’ recycle: lumber scraps three recycles away from the forest!. To birds in Walt’s houses, egrets in the slough, crows on the field, geese in the sky and gulls above the river…to neighbors and “family”.

Thanks for the Security Shack’s telephone and the daily mail. For smiles and nods and looking me in the eye. For knowing and not knowing, for memories and forgetting, for friendships and privacy, for time or no time…and “Old Time Is No Crime.”

For seeds and soil, compost and watering cans; the yellow greenhouse, broccoli, beans and the big pumpkin. For the Security Shack’s freezer. For cutting boards, fry pans, Propane stoves and food donations. For paper and pens and a permanent address. For unexpired bus transfers, bags of recycle and quarters for the laundromat.

Hello to shopping carts, bike trailers and e-mail in the computer room.  To blankets and cardboard and roll-your-own. To kittens and cats, dogs and no rats. To Snuggles and Cuddles, Lightning, MoMo, Oreo, Shotgun and Jake and Cera.

Hello to the street artist sketching with sunlight. For his magnifying glass, cedar shingles – and art collectors. To the couch-surfing musician crafting yesterday’s stories today for tomorrow’s chapters of us. To street poetry and performance. To videos and the Village Commons’ wood stove…to conversation and caring, friendship and sharing and The Five Basic Rules: No Violence, No Theft, No Drugs or Alcohol, No Constant Disruptive Behavior, and Everyone Must Contribute to the Village.

Thanks for hot tea and cold water, ice cream and blueberries. Thanks to and for Tom O and Kevin and Ann…and Molly wielding the editorial pencil our mother skillfully wielded on our behalf for 60 years. Thanks to Fred Sears, to Aaron, Ilze and Lee, and Tom and Dorothy’s late night thoughts. To Panda Labs, F-3’s, Provia, Jackson, Bruce, cardboard mounts and Holly’s E-6.  To T&C Photo and Tim’s ready in an hour. Thanks for Toyota R 22s and 32 mpg – high fives for Rob and Ray, Allen and Joe at Island Center Auto. And for Mary Elizabeth’s patience.and patience..

Hello to responsibility and generosity, to love and kindness. Thanks to Sharif, ‘Annie Haul’ and contributors to donation shacks and to Oregon’s Supreme Court and the City of Portland’s Sally Erickson. Thanks to Lee Larson, Shakedown Street, “Four Amigos” and Tim and Shorty, Jack, Ibrahim, Gaye, Laura, Jon-Boy, Whitefoot, both Ben’s, both Dean’s…Martice and Tami…Sheri and Walt, Jeana/Donna, Liz and both Lisa’s…Mary, Pat and TC. JD and Ruthie. Cindy and Randy. Tonya, Glenn, Jim and both Mike’s, Mitch and Niki and Angela, Beckie and Caryn, both Melissa’s, Jessica, Paul and Ed. Ken’s M and S, Chris and Dustin and Elsie. Shannon and Jay, Sharon. Richard and both Steve’s, both Larry’s and Joe, Bob, Savanna and Sue, both Dave’s, Brian and Allen, Gina, Louie, Jennifer, Jen, both Brad’s, Ptery,  Danny. Stan and Scott, Marci, Darryl, Tracey, Chuck, Rick, Dread and Kamela. Thanks Rocky and Kevin, Austin, Oscar, Reg, Mark, Sean…to “upper-class homeless”, to“street people”.  God speed, Fred and Steve “O”.

Hello to tomorrow’s down-sized, evicted newbies, to first nighters thankful for dumpster left-overs in plastic bags and that smile received with your first-ever “spontaneous, anonymous” acceptance of street-money. Hello to economic ‘collateral damage’ to children and families of men and women cut or shuffled in the flow and subterfuge of globalizing “Profiteers.”

…the “just hanging on” standing in food lines.

working the dumpsters.
wives peeing behind bushes.
kids sleeping under bridges.

the “little and not much” energized to build their own villages

in their own cities
with their own hands.




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