Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hungry Henry

Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sans abri à...
Homeless man, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
















A frail old man with a walker hitchhiking at the edge of a busy road caught my eye the other day. 

I had just dropped Flynn the dog off at home and was racing towards the Y for my spinning class.

"Eek," I said.

And the spy car squealed to a stop.

The old man started shuffling towards me.

I got out of the car and waved my hands at him.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" I shouted.

"I'm on my way to the Mennonite Church down the road," he quavered cheerfully.

The passing cars were dangerously close to sending us both to the Mennonite Church down the road.

And not for lunch.

"Hop in," I said begrudgingly.  I was going to miss my class.

We had to spend a few nerve wracking minutes while he slowly folded up the walker.  I tossed it in the back seat and 'Henry' made like a tortoise and inched into the front. 

Neither he nor his clothes had been near water for awhile but then I was wearing my gym clothes so for all I knew I was offending him too.

I sighed and started the spy car.

Suddenly, out of nowhere,  a cop car slid in behind me with all the lights flashing.

"Jeesh," I said.  "Henry, it must be illegal to pick up hitchhikers!"

"Why that's ridiculous!" said my elderly companion who was outraged at this assault on his personal liberty.  He turned to shake his fist at the police car.

I started to enjoy myself. 

We were co-conspirators!

I was still laughing when the 12 year old police constable appeared at my window.

"M'am," he said.  "We got a call.  Do you know this man?"

"No. I found him. I'm taking him to church."

(Why is it I always feel guilty when I'm around cops?)

He looked at my new travelling companion.


"Could I see some ID, sir?"

Henry fished a wallet out from somewhere in his crumpled, smelly apparel and handed it to me.  I handed it to the Constable.


"Do you want me to take him?" he asked after he looked at Henry's Health Care Card.

I figured that Henry needed more help than I could offer so I turned to explain the change in plans but he was already out of the spy car shuffling towards his newer, fancier ride.

"Bye, Henry!" I called.

But some serious male bonding seemed to be happening as Constable Doogie Howser helped him into the cruiser. 

He had already forgotten me.  


It was just a brief moment in time when three lives from three different generations intersected. 


But it affirmed that things in my little corner of the universe were unfolding as they should.


I drove away smiling.


To my spinning class. 


I wasn't late.







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