Odd People I Meet

Justice Prevails

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Ramona, California-The Town Where Justice Lives

“Justice wants to walk you to your car,” the woman says.

Our small health food store is one of my favorite places in town. It’s owned by a couple with 5 children.

I’m at the counter checking out my little bag of groceries and when I hear the woman’s voice, I glance behind me. And look down. There is a small boy with brown hair looking up at me. His mother, one of the owners, is standing behind him.

“OoooK…” I say to his mom. “That’s nice of him. Sure, he can walk me to my car.”

The checker slides my Trader Joe’s bag to me.

I take it and say to Justice, “Let’s go?”

He reaches out a spindly arm and says, “Give me your bag.”

Justice appears to be a serious, no nonsense kind of guy.

As I hand the bag over I’m glad I’ve shopped light today.

Justice has my groceries and struggles to push open the heavy glass door for me. I give it a shove from behind him.

We ease down the crumbly concrete steps of the old building and into the tiny alley. I say,

“Always look for cars when you do this. Look both ways now. Left and right.”

I want to take his hand to guide him but it doesn’t seem right when he’s walking me to the car and carrying my bag.

We quickly get to my car and I open the back door, after Justice has gamely tried to do it.

He puts the bag on the seat.

I shut the door.

“Thanks so much Justice, you were so helpful. I really appreciate your help. Be careful crossing the alley, now. Look both ways.”

I turn away and open my car door. I am half way into the seat when I hear his voice behind me.

“I take tips.”

“You do?!” I almost shout.

Bounding out of the car I stand and look down at Justice. He’s looking up at me, holding his ground.

“You take tips?”

I’m thinking, ‘How much money do you give a little kid?’

“How old are you?” I ask.

“I’m six.”

I’m thinking of my 6 year old grandson. He doesn’t know a dime from a doughnut hole. A quarter and a dollar and a hundred dollar bill are all the same to him.

I’m stalling for time to think.

“What do you need the money for?”

“Things. I need money for things. Like going to Disney Land.”

Opening my coin purse I think, ‘A quarter or a dollar?’ I decide on a quarter and put it in Justice’s out stretched hand.

He takes it and puts it in his jean’s front pocket.

He looks up at me.

“I’m Justice,” he says. “I fight for justice for the good guys against the bad guys.”

Briefly, I think, ‘Am I a good guy? Is a quarter enough to qualify?’

Justice is a serious kid. I’d like to be on the good side.

He turns to leave and I say, “Next time I’m in, I’ll ask for you. Look both ways, now. Watch for cars.”

As he carefully makes his way back to the steps and into the store I start laughing.

‘I take tips.’

I have just met a very Young Entrepreneur and perhaps a soon to be Famous Prosecutor and a Fighter for Social Justice.

I won’t forget Justice, that’s for sure. He’s a scrappy little fellow that will be grown up one day. And in those future days I may need  to have him in my corner of any ring I might find myself in.

So, look around folks. Are there any kids you know that you might want to mentor or cultivate with particular attention and kindness? After all, little kids become big kids and they eventually run the world.

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Chicken Lady & Underwear Man

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

 

Not Chickens But Close Enough?

“Stop, Baba! Stop! I’m scared! Turn around!”

My grandkids are screaming with terror in the back seat of my car.

Too late to stop. We are climbing straight up the side of a mountain that is mainly enormous shiny boulders. Chicken Lady lives here and we have come to meet her chickens.

Eeeh gads. Even I am nervous. I haven’t expected this.

We reach a small plateau surrounded by more Straight Up. I park the car. This is the place. We all get out and we are leaning forwards so we can stay upright.

There is an old house up the grade aways and behind and beside us and in front of us are long, slung together chicken sheds.

Around us, beside us and in front of us run big goats and baby goats, loose chickens and cats.

An old woman dressed in overalls slides down the mountain towards us.

It’s Chicken Lady!

Loch who is 6, is looking at the ground around his feet which is littered with  small, moist brown balls. The balls are arranged in artistic scattered piles and lines, as far as we can see.

Loch says to Chicken Lady, “What is that stuff?”

Chicken Lady puts down a bucket and  says, “It’s goat poop.”

Loch winces, cries out and tries to dance around and away from it.

Chicken Lady looks at me and says, “Where is he from?”

I say he lives at the Coast and they don’t have goat manure there.

We tilt our heads back and look up. More goats are climbing the rocks and the mountain. I am trying to keep my balance by flailing my arms and moving my feet.

Chicken Lady suggests we meet the chickens. We turn and slide down the hill and kind of roll into one of the vast sheds. The sunlit sheds contain all kinds of chickens that are roaming at will. There’s also a lot of goats in here.

The kids are impressed.

A big, gold goat comes trotting up to Loch, stops and stands in front of him and pees a massive pee.

Loch points and yells, “What’s that!?”

Chicken Lady looks surprised and disgusted at his question.

“It’s a goat peeing,” she says.

Loch screams and backs away, going into a ragged wail of fake crying.

“What’s the matter with you?” Chicken Lady says.

She stares at him and says, “Everything poops and everything pees. Get used to it.”

This is our day at the chicken ‘ranch.’

As we climb into the car to leave, Chicken Lady sidles up to me and asks if I think the kid will ever be normal. I say that I hope so. That I am trying to teach Loch about Real Life Beyond The Cosmopolitan Coast.

We say ‘Good-bye’ and ‘thanks,’ to Chicken Lady. Then we slam our car doors, kick the red car into gear and slide it down the mountain, leaving (I’m sorry to say) Chicken Lady in a great whirl of dust and tiny stones. The kids yell, “Go faster Baba! Go faster!” (more…)

My Stupid Love Life

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Good Energy Art By Venus http://www.artmojos.com

It’s 6PM, several years ago. I’m cutting flowers in my summer garden. My house phone is ringing and I rush inside the kitchen to answer it. It’s Harry, the fellow my brother has been telling me has a crush on me. I’m breathing hard from the quick run from the yard.

Harry says, “Venus, what time does your mother go to bed?”

“Ah…what?  My mother? What times does my mother go to bed? Eight? Eight-thirty? Why.”

“I’d like to go and see her ,” Harry says, “But, maybe it’s too late in the day.”

My mother is 87 and Harry is maybe 40. He thinks of my mother as his mother.

“Here”, I say, “I’ll give you her care taker’s number. She can tell you if Mom is still up.”

“No, no!” Harry shouts.  “Don’t.”

“OK,” I say. “Goodnight then?”

“Thank you, Venus,” Harry says, “for running inside to answer the phone.”

Later, I laugh myself to sleep. This is one of the more novel excuses a man has used to phone me.

“What time does your mother go to bed?” !!? (more…)


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