Nowhere Man

"Kick him in the ribs, Boy." Dad ordered. "That will wake him up for sure."

We had been away for only an hour or so, and we returned to find a homeless guy sound asleep in my Dad's garage curled up on a pile of old clothes destined for the church rummage sale later today.

It was the annual church 'Clothes and Bottle drive' and my Mom is very involved in all of their activities. Unfortunately for both Dad and myself, we were forced into helping take all the clothes and bottles over to the church.

As I was happily about to carry out my fathers orders and wake up this 'uninvited intruder', my Mother unexpectedly appeared at the garage door and interrupted us.

"You'll do no such thing." she ordered in a no-nonsense tone. "Just stop & think for a minute, What would Jesus do?"

Dad looked over at her annoyingly and replied "I cannot tell you what your Jesus would do but I will certainly tell you what your Simon will do." Dad said gesturing to himself.

He then reached out and picked up a long handled garden shovel and was about to hit the old beggar.

As this was all happening the haggard old beggar woke up and nervously jumped to his feet. Before anyone could say or do anything, Mom once again interjected.

"Simon, I will not tolerate such actions. This gentleman, for good or for bad, is now a guest in our home and I will not allow you or anyone else to assault him in any way. What he needs to be shown is a bit of kindness and understanding."

"You poor man." Mom said in a very calming tone towards him. "You come along with me into the house and we will get you some nice clean clothes and something good to eat."

Mom then ordered Dad and me to continue with the business and take the many stacks of bottles and old clothes over to the church.

Dad reluctantly agreed but insisted that I stay behind in case this beggar, whose real name was apparently 'Johnny', caused her any trouble.

"If he tries any funny business use this on him, Boy." Dad directed, as he discretely handed me the long handled garden shovel.

I cautiously followed both Mom and Johnny into the house, placing the ridiculous shovel by the back door in hopes that Dad did not see me drop his weapon of choice.

For the next hour I just sat there silently and watched old Johnny devour pretty much every bit of food that Mom put in front of him, which was probably everything in their refrigerator.

Meanwhile Mom was putting all these brochures from the church in front of him about "Drop in Shelters" and "Temporary Assistance" and other services that the Church could offer someone in his condition, that being a little 'down on his luck'.

I kind of figured Mom was wasting her time and breath on this guy, since he appeared to me to be a lifelong drifter and nowhere man. But I have always been taught that looks can be deceiving, so I did not bother interjecting my unsolicited opinions.

After all that, Mom handed Johnny a rather large garbage bag which was filled up with some good clean used clothes and also handed him a bag full of food.

As he headed out the front door and back down the road, Mom yelled behind him "Don't forget Johnny, your welcome at the church anytime."

Just then we heard Dad coming home, slam the back door and then some very loud swearing emanating from the kitchen.

"Where's my bloody pork chops?" Dad roared, as his head emerged briefly from inside the refrigerator. "I've been looking forward to those chops all day. Where are they?"

Mom attempted to calm Dad down and quietly explained that Johnny had eaten everything in the house, Dad once again exploded.

"You mean you gave that damn hobo my good pork chops?" Dad raged. "What does a guy like that need to eat MY pork chops for anyway?"

I figured this was probably a very good time to leave for the day and quickly bid both Mom and Dad a quick goodbye.

As I was closing the front door I heard Mom in a soothing tone say "Don't fret so much, Simon. Let me make you a nice baloney sandwich."

Driving back home, I was kind of wondering to myself which would be a worse fate for old Johnny the hobo....having to listen to those boring endless sermons from Reverend Green at the church or being hit by my father in the head with a shovel. To me, they are both equally as painful.

Stopping at the light just a couple of blocks from folks house, I chanced to look out the rear window and noticed a guy that looked like old Johnny slowly walking up the street.

I can't be positive, since the light turned green and I had to go, but he appeared to be eating one of Dad's pork chops and wearing one of his favourite shirts.

"Nah, couldn't be." I muttered to myself.


Lucky Lady said...


TJ said...

Great story! I think Johnny might have more luck than he thinks :-)

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