In Prose on December 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm
It was a January morning, and a wet, heavy snow was falling. I could not stay indoors as I had business to do that day. I left with a proper amount of clothing and a recently purchased pair of shoes. These shoes were comfortable, which was a blessing. I looked down at them, and I was proud of them for their appearance and their fit. Fit is very important to me, since my podiatrist said my aching feet are due to foot bones shifting with old age.
The snow kept coming down and then the snow turned to rain. Slush was everywhere – big puddles formed at city intersections. Cars and cabs were splashing dirty water about. I walked about the city, low on cash, going from place to place. I started the day with a nice pair of shoes. At the end of the day, the shoes were soaking wet. It started when I had to step in a deep puddle at a corner. After this I did not care about my feet – I just marched on.
At home, I took the shoes off. They dried with that heavy salt stain all over them. I was disheartened. I let them stay under my bed for over a month. Finally, I got up the gumption to clean those shoes. I put them under the faucet and scrubbed them and let them dry. Then I used some saddle soap, finished the cleaning and polished the shoes.
Today there is a light snow outside and I am walking about the city again, enjoying the comfort of these same shoes. Yes, today is a better day.
In Stories, secrets & dreams on December 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm
If I had to leave tomorrow it would be very easy. All that I’ve held dear has been sold, given away, or shredded. I’ve learned to live without them, my possessions.
Small coffee table knick-knacks, mementos collected from worldwide trips to Hong Kong, Europe and across America, have been given away as gifts. Jewelry was traded at a pawnshop to pay rent. Antique furniture from flea markets and from family was sold to live.
As life goes on you need less, want less, expect less, ask less. Letting go of little parts of me felt like death. But the best is left – memories, the way I want to remember, the only possession I’ll never lose.
In Prose on December 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm
Once, when I was a teenager, I was wandering in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I came upon a strange little hut by the lake. I decided to sit there and gaze at the water. Then it occurred to me that the place was extremely filthy and littered with old leaves, beer cans, and cigarettes. I was suddenly seized with an overwhelming desire to make this place my personal shrine.
That is exactly how I thought of it in my mind. It was no longer a dirty little hut in the middle of Prospect Park. It now assumed all the exaggerated proportions of an outdoor temple in Tibet, where hundreds of pilgrims came to pray and make offerings to Lhasa. To see the Dalai Lama.
I could smell the incense, see the prayer flags waving in the wind, hear the chanting. It was now almost a civic duty to take care of the hut and return it to the place of sanctity it had once been.
After that day, I never returned to the little hut in the park, but I will always remember vividly that little imagined hut.
In Poetry on December 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm
Even to write about Writers’ group –
We’re an inspiration
Just the presence of each and every one of us.
We inspire our exchanges of views
Views are what motivate a response
Life in the flesh
As we know it to be.
That response makes individuals
More like a light that comes on.
First you witness this life in the flesh
And we become a part of the universe.
We’re the parts that make up the whole.
Thank you so much.
Fred D. Street
In Guest stories on December 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm
This is the season for all of us to be charitable to everybody. Since I have been on the street, there has been a myth that circles around, where people have seen a man giving away cash on Thanksgiving and Christmas either at Penn Station, Port Authority or Grand Central Station. There is a story of a woman on Thanksgiving morning who emptied out all the coins she had in her change purse, and when she totaled it up it came to 85 cents. She placed her hands on her jaws and started to wonder what she is going to do for the Thanksgiving meal that day. Then a man came and stood behind her, and asked her what was she doing.
She was sitting on a milk crate. She told him of her dilemma, and he told that her the day was young and that she should hope for something. She said that hoping was all she could do at the moment. There was silence from both parties until the man spoke. “When you hope hard enough, your prayers will be answered,” he said. With that, he gave her five crisp $100 bills. She thanked him. This story has been told every Thanksgiving.
This story happened not at Thanksgiving, but during the summer time. There was a group of people waiting one night outside a Chase bank in midtown. This midnight run was to stop on the other side of the street, but it started to drizzle, so the group ran into the bank where they had the cash machines. A man who was using one of the machines asked, “what’s going on?” They told him about the midnight run, and that they had gone into the bank to shelter from the rain. So he gave them each $20 each to buy coffee. It was 10 people. Stories like this happen to people like this, and you’ll never hear about it.
Now my story is, the other day I was in Grand Central sitting on a bench talking with my friend Billy, when a man came up and sat beside Billy. He said, “Excuse me but I would like to offer you two gentlemen this Thanksgiving gift.” Billy thanked him, but the man insisted. He shared it with me. When Billy opened the cash, it was two $100 bills. We were so taken aback with this money that we both forgot to take a good look at our benefactor. We were happy to receive that cash. If he came and stood before us now we would not recognize him.
Now I can say I witnessed part of a myth. So from the bench I sleep on at night to you in your nice warm apartments, may I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.