I was riding around in my Smart car, enjoying my 40 mpg privilege, on the back roads of Paw Paw. As usual I decided to check up on my old house I grew up in before we sell it. When will we sell it is beyond me but someday we will. Until then I will continue to check up on it to see if it burnt down or anything has happened to it. As I was riding up 33rd Street, I noticed the way up to Almena and eventually to Kalamazoo. I had the itch to check out some books at the Waldo Library at Western Michigan University. It’s Saturday, why not? I continued to drive to Almena.

I parked my car in the parking lot next to the Bronco Mall. I like going to Western on Saturdays because they have free parking all day. I could go on Sundays too but I usually go on Saturdays. I walk past McCracken Hall and on to the Waldo Library.  I noticed the campus looked more barren than usual.  I walked up to the library and noticed it looked closed too.  They were closed for Memorial Day weekend. The whole weekend, can you imagine? I was bummed out. Being depressed I couldn’t get no books, I decided since I was in Kalamazoo where all the good restaurants are, I would go to Bob Evens on Stadium Drive.

I decided to get the strawberry special with the strawberry iced tea for $9.99 plus tea. Sitting by my lonesome waiting for my special to come I noticed a little black boy about 10 or so talking really fast to my neighbors to the left of me. I had noticed my “dating” neighbors to the left of me before. They seem to marvel themselves how they were going to make all this money doing math and science. They looked like engineers, young college students wondering how they were going to make it.  They turned down the young fast talker.  I guess I looked like I had money so he turned his attention to me.

I recall on the news how pan handlers make about $500 a night panhandling. They don’t want to do it but there is no other or even better way to make money. I even recall on the news how this mother was trying to stop giving her son money because he and his girlfriend just use it for heroin to get high. She kept telling people he has a place to stay he is just panhandling for drugs.

I don’t recall what my fast talker said. Something about they were from Jackson, Mississippi and needed a place to stay for a week before having to go to court on Monday. I know Monday is Memorial Day and no public place is open then but maybe the courts were. Who knew? I told him why they don’t go homeless. Those people should take care of them. He said they tried but the Salvation Army is booked up and will be a while before they have an opening. They need a place to stay tonight. Would I have a $120 to spare? That’s a lot of money to give to a stranger! He reminded me of my little nephew who was about his age. My sister was in the same situation not too long ago, trying to get away from her husband. I told him I could but that was all. He said he would go over and get his mother.

His mother came over and explained the situation. She was going to get a job as a caretaker they just needed everything settled for this week before the court date. I still couldn’t understand what they needed to go to court for. I decided she was just like my sister and just needed a little money to tithe her over for the coming situations. I finished my meal, paid for the check and went to the nearest ATM machine. I felt kind of funny because not only did they dress better than I did they also drove a better SUV than my smart car. They could have stayed in the SUV (somehow I am thinking that’s what they did) instead of at the Knights Inn where they got a $20 a night deal in downtown Kalamazoo. I ended up giving them $150, a little extra for gas and maybe something to eat. Maybe they’ll find a home when they get settled in from Jackson Mississippi.


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