18
Dec
07

93.The Streets Are Paved In Silver

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Dear Friends:

A few mornings ago, I was walking to my job enjoying the fall air and feeling pretty good overall when I found a quarter in the road. It is rough in texture from being ran over a few times by traffic and there is a nick in the edge exposing the copper filling inside of it.  I have saved this quarter for a few days and will probably hold on to it for long time. I saved this quarter for you readers as well as myself.

I had stopped at one of those places touting them selves as “America’s Drive In” at 6AM one morning for a cup of coffee. It was another episode of navigating myself through a town after resupplying. I had spent the night in a secluded alcove where I was undetectable and slept. Since I was inside a city, I did not make myself too comfortable and shivered some in the night, awaking occasionally to every sound made. I woke up and broke camp quickly as a city awakens early and I wanted to be out of town ASAP.

 I trundled a mile or so in the pre dawn twilight, watching various places opening for business and wishing seriously for a place to be open that sold coffee. I found that the drive in opened early and it was about 15 minutes before they were to open. I sat on one of the cold concrete benches that they provided and started writing in my journal to pass the time until I could have that coffee.

As I was sitting there watching the twilight, I noticed an older man exit the restaurant and begin sweeping the parking areas. He was older, stooped in the shoulder, and thin as a rope.  He would bend down occasionally or even root through his dustpan then move on. I was so engrossed watching him I forgot my coffee order as I was studying this person intently inspecting his parking lot.

The man and his broom and dustpan eventually made it over to the area where I was sitting. I could not help myself, and asked him why he was looking in his dustpan all of the time. It was then he began telling me a story…

This older man wearing a dingy, fast food workers’ uniform that need washing, is homeless most of the year. I guess he knew me for what I am also, as our homeless sixth sense radars were picking each other out. We said a few words and his coworker brought me out a coffee I had forgotten I ordered and he began talking after his coworker left us.

The story he told me is like this:

This man had been homeless in the area for a long while. Every morning he goes to this drive in and other fast food restaurants before sunup. One morning while he was in the parking lot of this drive in bending down over things, the restaurant manager spotted him. The manager thought he was just some deranged homeless man who had a fetish for picking up and neatening drive in parking lots. The manager who needed someone to do his outside maintenance, hired this homeless gentleman to do the work for him. The homeless gentleman, was not interested in the work originally, but it gave him additional earnings, and the timing was right for his morning regimine. The minimum wage is not enough to make a large difference in his life and the hours were only a few hours every morning, but it was still six dollars and fifty five cents an hour.

This Homeless man actually gets up in the twilight, goes and visits the fast food restaurants like drive ins and the ones with drive through windows while they are still closed. What the manager of this drive in did not understand, as he saw this man cleaning his parking lot, was that the homeless man was picking up all the change that was dropped out of the cars at the drive ins and drive through windows during a day. As he told me, this homeless man makes a few hundred dollars a month from the change dropped at these drive ins and at those take out windows.

As I was sitting there  stopping the chills inside myself with the cup of  coffee, this disheveled man passed on this little secret to me. There are some homeless out there that have their gold mines they work and keep things to themselves. Maybe it was because I was “just passing through” the area he told me all of this. I logged this into my homeless know how section for future survival.

I had not remembered this man in a while, it took finding this quarter in the road to bring me back to that morning not so far ago where I learned that the streets are paved in silver.

Wanderingvet

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